Sitka & Spruce
2238 Eastlake Ave E
Why do old people love to wait in line so much? Is it: a) because they're about to die and they're trying to imagine what it's like to wait in line to get into Heaven? or b) because they're used to waiting in line because they had to wait in all the soup lines during the Depression? or c) because they just want to piss me off by obstructing my entrance into Sitka & Spruce? Answer: obviously c). When we arrived at the restaurant no fewer than 13 old fuckers were waiting in line ahead of me. Luckily Sitka & Spruce, while tiny, was still large enough to accommodate the geriatric baker's dozen plus me.
We started with the pork belly ($12). Pork belly is a peculiar item. It tastes like a bacon-flavored booger. You heard me. The texture is exquisitely soft. Like foie gras, it’s very yielding to the bite (and salty, too), like when you cough up a loogie in church or at an Amway meeting and don’t have any place to spit it so you must swallow it. But don't let my description fool you: it's fucking delicious. The bacon booger was served over a bed of giant crusty croutons, pillowy balls of mozzarella, thinly sliced red onion, tomatoes and pine nuts.
Next came a dish of potatoes sautéed with chorizo and garlic in a bright green parsley butter sauce ($8). Potatoes are the perfect blank canvas upon which any flavor landscape can be painted. They were crisp outside and creamy within; the flavor of the bright fresh parsley butter was cantilevered by the dark smoky chorizo and rosemary.
Then we tried the rabbit loin ($12). Much tastier than your mother’s loins, which I’ve also eaten. I couldn’t tell how exactly it was cooked but it was meltingly tender, tossed in balsamic vinaigrette with radicchio, walnuts, crimini mushrooms, and small chips of a dry hard cheese that was probably Reggiano. The surprise flavor here was the addition of mint, which really freshened things up.
After the rabbit loin we had the albacore ($16), served with cubes of watermelon, slices of heirloom cucumber, red onion, dill and more mint. This dish was light, refreshing, yet complex. I’d like to take a brief intermission at this point to discuss the masterful use of spices at Sitka & Spruce. Mint. Dill. Chorizo. Rosemary. Cucumber. It was a shock and awe flavor bombardment in EVERY DISH we sampled, layer after layer of taste as dense, deep and varied as both your mom’s cunt and the Grand Canyon (both of which are also alike in that they contain many things that confuse Creationists).
Illustrating the shock and awe flavor bombardment doctrine was the duck breast ($17). It was seared rare and accompanied by a grilled peach topped with fried sage leaves. Just in case the duck breast itself wasn’t somehow rich enough, the whole dish was swimming in FOIE GRAS BUTTER! Maximalism in its purest form. A word about foie gras: It will indeed be a sad day in Hell, my friends, when the nannies that rule this state finally ban those geese livers like they’ve banned everything else fun. By “fun” I mean lap dances, smoking, malt liquor and unsecured junk in the bed of your truck. Fuck those Safety Nazis.
By the time dessert arrived I think I was both shocked AND awed, because the waitress mentioned that I had a “glazed duck look.” Yeah, my eyes were glazing over after I ate all that maximalism but I still had to pack in a few hundred more calories so we got the lemon verbena gelato. Like all good gelatos it was rich and silky yet light, and dotted with fresh blueberries. We also tried the chocolate cake. It was doused in a caramel sauce and sprinkled in granular grey sea salt. The desserts were $8.50 each.
I wouldn’t call Sitka & Spruce cheap, but it certainly wasn’t expensive. In fact, one person who wasn’t an insane gluttonous foul-mouthed restaurant critic could easily make a good meal of two small plates. Depending on what you chose you could get out of there for only $20. It’s more expensive than Hot Pockets but several orders of magnitude tastier. All those old people who lined up to get into Sitka & Spruce are fortunate to have gotten in before impending death comes to claim them. I’m young so I’ll get plenty of chances to eat there. But someday in the distant future I’ll be one of the ancient geezers waiting in line to get in and while the pork belly when adjusted for inflation will cost $4000, at least you won’t have to tip the robot waiter. Because everyone knows robots can’t get paid. Why can’t they get paid? Because robots suck. Figuratively, I mean. Except for the vacuum bots and hooker bots. They’ll suck literally.
Rating: 9.5 vacuum bots out of 10.