4437 California Ave SW
People who live in West Seattle are a sad, sorry bunch of shit fuckers (except those who live on “the good side” of 35th, who drive solid gold rocket cars and fuck their French maids). For years the downtrodden people of West Seattle have had to deal with culinary bullshit: Shadow Land sucks. Ama- Ama is good enough, but it would be better if the topless girl in their logo was totally nude. Talarico's is pretty good but turns into a giant frat party after 9 pm. Blackbird tries too hard. Mission, packed to the gills with yuppie scum, wants to be Fremont West; plus I only like Mexican food that comes out of a truck, so Mission sucks extra.
But now, finally, high concept has entered the scene: Spring Hill. I don't generally follow “restaurant politics” like some whores do, but apparently the owner of Spring Hill has in the past worked for Tom Douglas. Great. I have a bone to pick with Tom Douglas ever since I got a curdled bearnaise sauce at the Dahlia Lounge, so if one of his disgruntled former employees wants to make a few bucks I'm all for it.
After I got over the initial shock induced by the sight of our waitress's mullet, we ordered some food. The fried veal sweetbreads ($10) were everything that a cow's pancreas should be: crisp on the outside, tender inside, and very mild tasting. It came with three perfectly executed dipping sauces: an espresso barbecue sauce, a ranch dressing with lots of dill, and a hickory smoked honey mustard. All three sauces were good, though in my mind the barbecue sauce was the clear winner. The only problem was that they only gave us four sweetbreads, and there was too much dipping sauce left over, so it went to waste. You know how many starving African chumps, with bulging bellies and flies strolling across their sunken eyeballs, would love to eat that leftover sauce that we fat Americans just callously throw away? Uh, I forgot the question.
The roasted beet salad ($7) was delightful. Wedges of red beet were roasted until creamy, then tossed with cubes of pear and toasted hazelnuts. The pear was crisp and tart, and contrasted well with the crunchy smokiness of the hazelnuts and the earthy beets. The only problem with this dish was a spatter of half hearted green basil infused oil, the delicate flavor of which just couldn't be detected amidst the menagerie of other tastes and textures.
Next up was the duck egg raviolo, which is, of course, the singular form of the word “ravioli.” Which means you got ONE raviolo. For $9. And although the raviolo itself was really tasty, and the duck egg filling was smooth and creamy, and it came with three thin slices of salty duck breast prosciutto, $9 is still too damn expensive for ONE FUCKING PIECE OF PASTA.
Steamed manila clams ($11) were served in some kind of spicy, creamy broth with garlic and little chunks of pork belly. The clams were juicy and tender, and best of all there were a LOT OF THEM. Unlike the raviolo, it was a pretty large portion. The broth was so fucking good I ended up spooning the rest of it out of the bowl like soup after we'd eaten all the clams. They provided ONE flimsy piece of grilled bread to sop up at least a pint of broth, so that sucked.
The Rainbow Trout was the most expensive thing we ordered ($22). I wasn't offended at the price this time because it was a pretty big plate. A fried trout fillet was garnished with roasted artichoke hearts and served on a bed of fluffy herbed spaetzle. The trout was delightful, flaky and tender, and nicely seasoned. The artichokes were maybe a little too tart. The spaetzle was chewy but not tough, and this is the last time I'm going to mention it because I'm sick of trying to type the word “spaetzle.” Stupid Germans and their retarded words like “Spaetzle” and “Gotterdammerung” and “Kristallnacht” and all those other fucking words with too many double consonants and that weird loopy “S” thingy that looks mostly like a Greek “beta.” But enough about the Germans and their bizarre language. The trout was anointed in a nutty brown butter sauce. This dish was utterly tasty and easily the best thing we ordered.
After all of this we were still hungry. Our majestically mulletted waitress seemed astounded that we ate so much, but that still didn't keep her mullet ass from bringing us the menu again so we could order some more food. We went with the Steak Two Ways ($12). This was a comically tiny portion of steak tartare, which came with some weird but strangely fluffy chips. The tartare was okay, and seemed pretty traditional with chopped capers and onions, but the menu promised steak TWO ways. The steak the second way was a small chunk of some variety of grilled beef (the piece was too small for me to identify the cut). It was kind of tough, but at least tasted like it had been grilled over a real fire. Avoid this one unless you like tiny dollops of raw hamburger and chewy mystery meat.
We closed out the night with ice cream. For $8 you get three scoops. We had the vanilla bean, chocolate ovaltine, and a grape sorbet. The vanilla bean was creamy and obviously had lots of real vanilla bean in it. The ovaltine was good enough, but seemed like the kind of treat a pedophile would use to lure his victims into his white panel van for a good old fashion molesting.
The grape sorbet tasted like fresh grapes but was too icy.
I'd call Spring Hill a great first stab at introducing the back- country rubes of West Seattle to some high concept dining. Still, the proprietors of Spring Hill seem to be under the faded idea of nouvelle cuisine that fine dining should come in tiny portions. Many of the dishes are microscopically small, and I'd love to see the riot that would ensue if a company of lumberjacks happened upon Spring Hill. Eventually I hope that they'll EITHER reduce the prices OR increase the portion size. Or at the very least, ban all the wait staff from growing mullets.
Rating: 7 mullets out of 10.