SEATTLE: Queen City Grill

With the holidays (and the holiday spirit) upon us, my wife and I decided one recent evening that I would meet her after work for dinner at one of downtown Seattle’s fine restaurants.

We had originally planned to dine at a restaurant that has been a part of the Seattle scene for several years but which we have somehow managed to miss. Unfortunately, we’re still missing it but fortunately, we’ve discovered another delightful dining spot.

Based on the glowing recommendation of two colleagues, we abandoned our original plan and headed for Queen City Grill at 1st and Blanchard. Were we ever glad we did!

Leaving the car parked, we hopped a northbound bus to the edge of Seattle’s ride-free zone, then walked a couple of blocks to the restaurant. I must admit that, upon arrival, the “seafood” sign on the awning gave a moment of pause, as neither my wife nor I was really in the mood for fish. We needn’t have worried; the menu at Queen City Grill was not huge, but had great variety.

Adding to that, we were still in time for “happy hour” which, at QCG, extends to tables as well.

We started our evening with cocktails: she, a vodka martini and I, a Maker’s Mark Manhattan. The vodka martini was on the happy hour special; my “call” Manhattan was not. Regardless, both were well prepared at the bar, then poured tableside by our waiter.

After sipping our beverages for a few minutes, we decided to order a couple of the appetizer specials: the bruschetta (Roma tomatoes, garlic, basil and goat cheese) and the Oaxacan prawns. The bruschetta was delicious, but the prawns were remarkable! Their smoky flavor from the grill was accented by a jicama and red onion salad and a delicious dipping sauce of herbs and cumin. Our waiter told us the chef was from Oaxaca, so the dish was likely quite authentic. Authentic or not, I can confirm it was delicious!

With the appetizers and the proffered bread and butter having taking the edge off, my wife and I decided to split the roasted beet salad (sautéed beets, mixed greens, Rogue River blue cheese and candied pecans) and the rack of lamb. The salad, with its vinaigrette dressing, and the lamb (cooked a perfect medium-rare) were both exactly what the doctor ordered. And the kitchen split both items for us, giving us perfect portions of salad and lamb with mashed potatoes and green beans. As it was, we each got three chops; six would have clearly been overkill. Our waiter brought two glasses of a 2007 Argentine Malbec, which accompanied the lamb perfectly.

While we opted for the lamb, Queen City Grill does have abundant seafood (crab cakes, halibut, trout, and tuna), chicken, duck, beef, and risotto to choose from. And with a capacity of around 75 people, the atmosphere is cozy and intimate – just the thing for passing a cool, damp, Seattle winter evening.

We will definitely be back!

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