review: sitka & spruce (seattle, wa)

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Sitka & Spruce is an iconic restaurant in Seattle, showcasing local farm-to-table food and a fresh, constantly changing approach to food and cuisine. I’ve heard about it for years, but hadn’t had the chance to go until a few days ago. My mother and I had a quick excursion into Seattle that would put us out and ready for lunch around 11 – perfect timing to get us into an 11:30 reservation. (Sitka & Spruce is only open for lunch from 11:30am until 2pm, and there’s a line out the door waiting for a table by noon.)

We were the first ones there.

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It’s an odd, quirky little place – the food prep area is barely separated from the small dining area by a reclaimed set of glass windows in old, pale frames. Everything is prepared right there on site, and you can glance over and see dishes being prepared. Food is brought out as it is ready (which, if you’re the first ones in the restaurant for lunch, is quite quickly) and is meant to be shared by everyone at the table.

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Our waitress was darling, and was more than willing to accommodate a gluten free table, citing most things on the menu as being safe for us. I’ve heard amazing things about their house-made yogurt topped with house-made granola, but I’m avoiding dairy right now and they don’t use certified gluten free oats in their granola, so that was out.

Instead, we ordered a dish of marinated squash, endive, basil and pumpkin seeds that was served cold on a bed of tangy tahini-like sauce and topped with endive. Stunning, and delicious – except for the sauce, which just didn’t quite fit for me.

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We also ordered the raw salmon with gooseberries, seabeans and cucumber – light and refreshing, if a rather small amount of food! Their sushi-grade salmon is unique in that it is served raw, but is prepared by being “cured” between layers of nori, giving it a briny (but not fishy) flavor that beautifully compliments the rest of the textures and flavors in the dish.

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Sitka & Spruce was a delightful dining experience. Their dishes paired unique flavors, textures and ingredients to make interesting dishes – and the menu always changes, so you’ll never be bored with what they offer.

If you go: go during lunch, bring your camera, and make a reservation (easily done on their website). Also budget time to explore the shared space it occupies with several other locally conscious artisan vendors.

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Overall, I’d give Sitka & Spruce a 4.5/5 – I love the way they conduct business with a focus on socially responsible food and farming, our waitress was a sweetheart and the space is amazing. The only detractor, oddly enough for me, was the food – it was good, but the sauce on the marinated squash didn’t quite mesh with the rest of the dish. I’ll return eventually and check them out again, perhaps for dinner!

Sitka & Spruce
1531 Melrose Ave.
Seattle, Wa 98122

 

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