We lost some good restaurants over the last year. Then again, we lost some bad ones, and some that started good and went way, way irretrievably downhill. Here's what Stranger reader-reviewers had to say about the dear and not-so-dear departed.
2122 Second Ave
Chef-owner Yutaka Saito made what some called the best sushi in Seattle for almost a decade at sleek, calming Saito's. It was pricey, but it was worth it, as this Stranger reader-reviewer details. God. Damn. It.
My favorite sushi spot in the world is closed, making way for another pan-Asian noodle bar. If you appreciated the unpretension, clean flavors, authenticity, and hard-to-find ingredients that Saito's constantly brought to its customers, you know that a similar experience is not to be found in Seattle (I've looked). Make way for the high-concept, stylized, hot-waitress sushi restaurant. Make way for the Filipino- or Chinese-run sushi conveyor belt "experiences." Maybe the popularity of a food that places like Saito's introduced to the world became its undoing, with restaurant owners thinking up more lucrative business models that better suited NW palates than Saito's glass-and-wood sushi temple. And in the end, maybe some people will really seek out a better eating experience once introduced to the conveyor-belt production-line sushi.
Saito's is closed—another casualty of tightened budgets. The Japanese businessmen still came. The ballplayers probably still came. The rest stayed home, or went elsewhere and allowed themselves to forget what it tasted like and represented. I wish Saito and his family and staff the best of luck in the future.
Reviewed by fishandrice in July 2009
Avg. rating: 1/2 (based on 6 reviews)
621 Union St
Steak-chain entrepreneur Dale Wamstad bought the long-standing fine-in-a-boring- upscale-way Union Square Grill this past year. He'd been involved in a number of lawsuits, and his ex-wife had shot him three times in one of his Texas restaurants. His Lost Lady American Cantina lasted less than six weeks.
Like dipping your nuts in ice water, it was a real shock to go to the Lost Lady after frequenting the USG. Classy to classless. I think bullwolf and other [Stranger reader-reviewers] are reacting to the utter lack of effort in the Lost Lady's menu, decor, and service. I, too, feel that the new owner is trying to make a buck with zero effort and zero originality. I sincerely hope they can make it, but I doubt it.
Reviewed by master blaster in April 2009
Avg. rating: (based on 15 reviews)
214 Broadway E
Septieme started in Belltown a billion years ago, moved to Broadway, and was beloved by all until an unfortunate change in ownership and wall color. It is closing forever on New Year's Eve. Only the world's best waiter Rodney will be missed, and only until he shows up at another, better place.
I concur with the others who mention this place's great past and shoddy present condition. The ambience in particular has gone sour, followed by food quality and service. Only go here if you can time-travel.
Reviewed by lanoshome in April 2009
Avg. rating: 1/2 (based on 20 reviews)
1423 34th Ave
Serving classic French dishes in an elegant, witty building designed by Roy McMakin, Crémant opened in 2006 to glowing reviews. Then there was a change in ownership, a change in chef, a lawsuit, and the end. The space is for lease.
Meh. You know, when I go out to eat, I expect the food to be much better than what I could accomplish in my own kitchen. Crémant was at best dull, & at worst repulsive. I started with a fairly forgettable salad of mesclun, a poached egg & bacon. Pretty unimaginative stuff. A lamb shank followed that was pungent with recently added red wine vinegar. Which is fine for a salad, but not something that cooked for hours! The service was nonexistent. The waiter, a turd of a man with a shaved head, couldn't take a gentle joke I made about him making us wait 20-odd minutes to have our food order taken (the place was fairly empty). He then said, "That must be all the champagne you've had talking." Had that even been true, it was bad judgment on his part to go there. He must have been going for broke, which was reflected in his tip. There wasn't anything about Crémant that I found worth coming back to. The best thing I could say is that I've had worse.
Reviewed by Kb in July 2008
Avg. rating: 1/2 (based on 9 reviews)
2963 Fourth Ave S
This crazy-ass train-car labyrinth originally opened in 1949 and is said to be haunted—maybe by the spirits of those who think it's an awesome Seattle institution but whose bodies never make it down there. But! The place has reopened as the Orient Express.
Okay, so it's made of train cars. So it has stray cats. So it's got the FDR presidential coach. It's got history, it's got deep-fried food, and it's got that dive-y bar flavor to it. It also closes at 9:30 during the week, relies heavily on the clubs, groups, and organizations that meet one to a car, and has a terribly difficult time managing to feed anything that isn't dripping in grease. Admittedly, the Cobb salad isn't bad, but the drinks are as mediocre. Frankly, Andy's Diner, while an institution, is also not exactly the destination spot. So, hipsters, please, feel more than free to take over Andy's. Because once it's gone, in 20 years some retrospective hipster yearning for the link to their übercool past will want, at some point, to find a way to resurrect a diner made out of train cars.
Reviewed by zymyrgy in September 2007
Avg. rating: (based on 3 reviews)
668 S King St
Everybody—or at least everybody who doesn't eat meat—loved this place's veggie dim sum. Stranger reader-reviewers gave it a perfect five-star rating. Why did it close? Nobody knows.
Outstanding... Sadly. Doors were shuttered when we walked by there... with a sign up that says:
Closed for Business
Thank you for your Patronage.
Place looked pretty empty inside too. A shame. It seems like all the restaurants with somewhat decent taste end up going the way of the dinosaur, while traditional grainforest crunch places get to stay open.
Reviewed by j.lee in December 2008
Avg. rating: (based on 7 reviews)
2717 61st Ave SW
This 100-year-old log mansion held the best little-old-lady-style restaurant ever, known for amazing fried chicken and biscuits and jam. Then there was a fire. Now there are rumblings about it becoming a spa/bed-and-breakfast. Sigh.
This place is a treasure... i've never felt more david lynchian than when i entered this place... holy crap and the chicken was amazing and i guess it's all you can eat... they just kept asking if we wanted more... amazing people-watching too, you can't find this place anywhere else in seattle...
Reviewed by yummers in June 2007
Avg. rating: (based on 5 reviews)
757 Bellevue Ave E
A couple well-meaning Microsoft guys ran this place at the intersection of Bellevue, Bellevue, and Bellevue. They went through three chefs in about a year. It's now been degaussed and reopened as a bar called the Lookout by the same owners.
Ugh. This place is very close to my apartment. I've gone four times—it was excellent once and horrible three times. Why is it that every place on the Hill can figure out how to seat and serve patrons with some civility except Artemis? It seems as though the wealthy owners gave thought to atmosphere and nothing else. It's the blind leading the blind over there.
Reviewed by Tim in February 2008
Avg. rating: (based on 10 reviews)
1700 Seventh Ave
While the Oceanaire was a chain seafood place, it was big and posh and as good or better than most Seattle seafood places. People found a lot to love about it between its opening in January 2002 and its closing this past July.
I'll speak to, specifically, Oceanaire's Grand Shellfish Platter. It is monolithic and worthy of praise. With shellfish, the only real trick is fresh, quality shellfish and simple preparation. The clams are raw on the half shell, as are the oysters. The mussels, shrimp, Dungeness and king crabs are boiled in perfectly salted water, then chilled. Prepare to settle in and spend some time with the Platter; it takes some work to take this bad boy down. Pair this with an appropriate number of pilsners or a nice white, and there you are sitting on your tiny little goddamned throne. See? You're getting the royal treatment, shellfish-wise! Order the small for one, the large for two to three. There is no rival to the Grand Shellfish Platter. Only pretenders. Thusly, prepare to fork over some dough for it. But go ahead, do it. At least once. Do it on, say, your birthday. And take the day off of work. And don't take anyone with you. Concentrate, birthday girl.
Reviewed by Pizzle in May 2007
Avg. rating 1/2 (based on 7 reviews)
616 Broadway E
This is where a lot of Seattle learned to love Thai food—people we know ate approximately 14,000 orders of their pad thai over the years—before moving on to the divey adventure of Thai Tom on the Ave or the serene beauty of May in Wallingford. Then one day, after more than two decades, Siam on Broadway was gone.
With many Thai restaurants to choose from, this is undoubtedly the best one I know of. No matter what I order, it's good. The service is nice, too, and they are happy to modify a dish if desired.
Reviewed by R. in July 2007
Avg. rating (based on 4 reviews)