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Monday, April 15, 2013

#1995 #S1095 - The Whale Wins, Seattle - 12/29/2012

After spending my last "Project K-Bar" visit at Agrodolce, my visit to The Whale Wins featured quite a few parallel experiences: Dinners at restaurants opened in late 2012 by highly regarded chefs (Renee Erickson/Maria Hines), whose homey first efforts (Boat Street Cafe/Tilth) and more splashy second restaurants (Walrus and Carpenter/Golden Beetle) I like a great deal, but after quite enjoying the cocktails in the new places, the food left me disappointed.

Now it seems like everybody loves the food at the Whale Wins, so you should not take me experience to heart, and I certainly plan on returning (if I can avoid being tempted into Joule next door, whose food was a much more thorough hit for me). But I started with the roasted radicchio with hazelnets, buttermilk poppyseed vinaigrette and buttery crumbs, which was far to drenched in the dressing and far too rich for me (that is not a complaint you often hear from me). Then the roasted Emerald Acre clams with thyme, lemon peel, chili flakes, and cream were surprisingly bland.

Whether I should really count this as a bar was a difficult call for me. The physical bar itself seemed more of a counter, and it seemed doubtful that there are any regulars who drop in just for a cocktail. But perhaps I was persuaded by how much I enjoyed the drinks, starting with a Normandy Old Fashioned (Calvados, black tea syrup, bitters). While it lacks any hint of the darkness I prefer in a bar, the staff and overall vibe were both very friendly. And I repeat that everyone else in the city seems delighted with their meals here ("To eat The Whale Wins' roasted chicken is to ask: Is this the best restaurant in Seattle?"), and I myself really enjoy Walrus; so either my particular visit or perhaps my particular tastebuds would appear to be the outlier here.





3506 Stone Way North Seattle, Washington 98103 - (206) 632-9425
Est. Oct 17, 2012 - Building constructed: 1964
Previous bars in this location: None
Web site: thewhalewins.com - facebook
Best articles: thestranger - seattleweekly - seattletimes - seattlebusinessmag - seriouseats - seattlemet - yelp

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