1001 E Pike St
What the fucking fuck is up with all these fucked fucking yuppie catchprases? Labradoodle. Bo-Tox. Flex- time. Soccer mom. Gastropub. I never knew what the last one meant until I heard about Quinn's.
No one ever asks me before they open a business in this town. If they did I would have said “No gastropubs because they're for yuppie douche bags. Now make out with your twin sister and let me videotape it.” But they opened Quinn's anyway. We showed up about 6:30, which is too late. Quinn's fills up fast and they only take reservations for parties of six or more. So we sat at the bar. However I was astonished to see on the beer menu, nestled there among the $10 half pints of Belgian beers, PBR for the more than reasonable price of $2 a pint: a metaphor for my presence at Quinn's.
So I ordered a PBR and a whole bunch of food. First we tried the duck egg ($3). It was served soft boiled and sliced in half for sharing, with a filet of boccarones on each half. Boccarones are white anchovies, but they aren't as salty as regular anchovies because they're usually marinated instead of salt cured. The menu claims the duck egg comes with sea salt but it must not come with very much because it was pretty bland, and the boccarones only added a fishy flavor to the egg. The cold, fishy, clammy end result was like what I imagine a turtle egg tastes like. There's a better way to spend three bucks: for instance, I could get three blowjobs from your mom.
Next came the gougeres ($5). For this price you get three of these gruyere cheese puffs. I've had these before, and they're usually delightful, flaky and fluffy with a delicate cheesy flavor. Quinn's gougeres were filled with a gloopy cream sauce that tasted like Cheez-Itz, although the pastry itself was good.
The assorted cheese plate was for $9 a little steep, but the three cheeses (a white cheddar; a triple cream with a Chimay washed rind; and a nutty, dry sheep's milk cheese) were all unpasteurized and very flavorful and came with a dollop of apricot jam. But fuck, who goes to a restaurant for a boiled egg and apricot jam? Not even me, and I pray every night that one day Jesus will magically transform me into a European (because only Europeans order stuff like boiled eggs at a restaurant. Get it? Get it?). Jesus: the David Copperfield of the ancient Middle East. So we had to order something more substantial. Like the brandade ($7). Brandade (not to be confused with a Band- Aid) is mashed salt cod. Sometimes it's mashed with potatoes. Sometimes not. Quinn's version was combined with potatoes and lots of rosemary. The salt cod adds a rich pelagic essence to the potatoes, and while it does taste fishy, the fishiness is muted and distant and salty, like a sea breeze. Damn tasty. The brandade was served with a plate of Quinn's house made potato chips. These were a fucking revelation: easily the best chips I've ever eaten in my life, and I've been pretty stoned. The chips seemed to have been surgically prepared: they were sliced so thinly they were exactly one potato cell thick, and when you bit into them they shattered, releasing a fine spray of hot oil molecules and sodium atoms directly onto your tongue. Beautiful.
The oxtail ($13) was braised, so tender you could have shot it up intravenously, and served in a pool of not one but TWO sauces: a red wine gravy that tasted one thousand fathoms deep, and the same aforementioned Cheez-Itz flavored gruyere sauce that filled the gougeres, although in this context the Cheez-Itz sauce was actually quite tasty. Floating in this million calorie brew were six impossibly fluffy potato gnocchi and a small cylinder of marrow that was so tender it practically spread itself onto the extra toast rounds that we had left over from our cheese plate. Please buy this dish. When we'd finished the oxtail and gnocchi we soaked up the last of the gravy and cheese sauce with a $4 order of herb fries.
Don't bother with dessert unless you've got nothing else to do. The chocolate bread pudding ($6) tasted like a box of powdered brownies. The lemon creme brulee ($6), while perfectly creamy with a nice crackly burnt sugar crust, was a little too lemony for me. Get an espresso instead, or another pint of PBR. Or another dish of oxtail. Or something. But remember, no one ever said a pub was a good place to get dessert.
End result: I'm ambivalent about Quinn's, because it's okay, but not consistently awesome enough, especially since the guy who owns Quinn's also owns my beloved Restaurant Zoe (AKA the second best restaurant in Seattle, fuck-O's). Some of the menu items are REALLY good, but others are as lame as someone who admits they own a Labradoodle. If you live on Capitol Hill and can stand the idea of eating at a gastropub, go to Quinn's. But don't go now: wait a couple of weeks until after the hipsters and “foodies” (AKA bored old people) have gotten over this place and you can actually get a table. But only go if you happen to be walking directly in front of the place. But you SHOULD go eventually, just like your mom SHOULD eventually give up the crack pipe, because the menu is unique and reasonably priced. Plus, if I had to go there, you should have to as well. After all, if I'm brave enough to face the hordes of soccer moms and labradoodles, you can be too. How's that for an inspirational message, fuckfaces?
Rating: 6 labradoodles out of 10.