Around Leary Way's bend of road that passes through "Frelard," that marine-industrial area of town where there are still no condos, you'll find the weird and wonderful Medin's Ravioli Station. It sits in the area once called Halibut Flats. Medin's is not an Italian restaurant, strictly speaking, but rather an eclectic launching pad for puffy, pillow-sized raviolis.

Here, for cheap, you can get densely textured homemade doughy treats, stuffed with cheeses, spinach, grilled sirloin, salmon and cheese, or vegan-roasted vegetables. There's a choice of four house sauces: marinara, Alfredo, tomato cream, or roasted red pepper; the house ravioli sampler plate has all of the above ($9.95).

Owner and Seattle native Bill Medin uses mashed potatoes in his pasta dough (except in the vegetarian type), which makes for a really firm, definitive pasta quality, recalling the chewy paradise of gnocchi. The fried (or "toasted," as they say in the Midwest) ravioli appetizer ($7.95) isn't oily at all, owing to Medin's super-high frying temperatures and use of peanut oil rather than a cheaper type. (Entrée platters are garnished with fried cheese ravioli, so it's pointless to order these separately as an appetizer, unless you want to try all the varieties in a fried form.)

The roasted eggplant appetizer ($5.95) is covered in a chunky marinara sauce and a brilliant pool of mint-yogurt sauce so garlicky it stings, a reminder of the tenuous line between pleasure and pain. Entrées come with a rosebud carved from tomato skin, and the house salad dressing is mixed at high speed such that it congeals and lays across the lettuce leaves in beautiful, wormy, cylindrical lines. Details like these pay off. Medin's is no sleazy, off-color joint; it's the kind of place to which you can bring your parents.

Formerly a chef at the Sheraton Palace in San Francisco, and later at the local Edgewater and Place Pigalle, Medin definitely knows his way around a sauce. The plates here are garnished with a fresh-tasting triumvirate of emerald pesto and bright red-and-yellow pepper sauces; if you order the house-smoked salmon ravioli, make sure to choose Alfredo sauce as its accompaniment.

The four non-ravioli entrées are all outstandingly made, and rely on great sauces as well. But I just couldn't hang with the Chicken Phyllo Ravioli garnished with julienned Granny Smith apple and coconut curry sauce ($10.95). A better bet would be the Stuffed Pork Loin ($12.95), thin tender slices of panko-breaded pork stuffed with tangy sundried tomatoes, bright green spinach, and artichoke pieces in a savory sherry cream sauce. An excellent bargain is the Classic Peppered Steak ($12.95), top sirloin with a black peppercorn crust and a brandy cream sauce that makes you yearn for more. The steak is topped with onions frisée, which Medin smokes on-site alongside his salmon, giving the onions a distinct taste.

My pert dining comrade raved over those types of strong flavors and the detailed, almost fussy spicing-and-ingredient assembly, such as the tad of cinnamon and nutmeg in the red pepper sauce, or the addition of pine nuts and currants in the spinach ravioli filling. I was less thrilled by these choices and found them overbusy, like a crowded racetrack full of straining greyhounds.

Still, Medin's offers carefully made, unpretentious food at unpretentious prices, along with a good wine list, including offerings like the licorice-y pinot noir from Oregon winery Elk Cove ($6.50/glass) that made my tablemate very happy indeed. The bar is a kooky homemade affair--a hollow steel pipe filled with antifreeze, soldered shut, then heated with a car engine-block heater makes a hand rail as warm and cozy as you please. The funky barstools are made from pistons from fireboats that once floated in New York Harbor. Eclectic and gregarious, Medin is one of those Seattle originals with a mix of skills from welding to gourmet cooking, and his transformation of the old Redhook Brewery into a classy yet cheap eating spot just reeks of the kind of DIY innovation we've been missing in this town since the software boom. Yippee for Medin's!

Medin's Ravioli Station

4620 Leary Way, 789-6680. Tues-Fri lunch 11:30 am-2 pm, dinner 5-9:30 pm; Sat dinner 5-10 pm; Sun dinner 5-9 pm. Closed Mondays.