Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Tilikum Place Cafe

407 Cedar St
(206) 282-4830

I don’t understand the name of the Tilikum Place Cafe. I always thought that the local Indian crap was spelled “Tillicum.” Bill Gates agrees with me because my spell checking software allows “Tillicum” but not “Tilikum.” So why don’t you assholes properly spell the restaurant’s name so I quit getting this squiggly red line underneath it?

Unfortunately for me, Urban Eats was going on, and the Tilikum Place Café was participating. In case you aren’t aware, Urban Eats is a local program here in Seattle where participating restaurants design a menu where you can choose 3 items, usually an appetizer, entrée, and dessert, for $30. It sounds like a great idea, but too bad it sucks. I’m calling BULLSHIT on Urban Eats. Urban Eats is a TERRIBLE program. The Emperor not only has no clothes, he’s walking down Main Street with a strapon hanging out of his ass. And the strapon is attached at the other end to Barbara Bush. Let me tell you about Urban Eats: the kitchens don’t like to do it. The chef at Crush comped us some appetizers once just because we DIDN’T choose from the Urban Eats menu. And even when the kitchen DOES like to do the Urban Eats menu, they don’t try very hard. The only people who really like Urban Eats are the fuckers who tip 10% and then have the stones to DEDUCT POINTS because the waiter didn’t refill their water glass in what their penny- pinching asses consider a timely manner. If you can’t afford it, save up until you can get the REAL DEAL from the REAL MENU. Fine dining doesn’t offer discounts. It’s gauche.

And so, liberated thusly from the tyranny of Urban Eats, we got stuff to eat. A cup of lentil soup ($3.50) was a delicious bounty: tiny green lentils were creamy, yet still firm to the bite, with chunks of carrot and celery. Minced parsley lightened up the flavor, and a drizzle of some kind of pepper oil sprung a subversive heat upon your tongue.

The sardine sandwich was so cute it could only have been more adorable if it were served by a leprechaun riding a Chihuahua. Large chunks of fresh sardine filets were served on a tiny baguette that somehow managed to be crusty WITHOUT at the same time shredding your gums the way a haughty Parisian will shred your French pronunciation when you ask the motherfucker a simple “Ou est le bibliotheque?” This sandwich was dressed with arugula, roasted tomatoes, and tapenade. It came with a side of pickled beets, cornichons, olives, lemon zest, and razor- thin onion rings. This was too much tanginess for me, even between bites of sandwich, because as you know the only ‘tang I like is your mom’s. And, at $9, the sardine sandwich cost about twice as much as your mom.

The butternut squash tart (also $9), had a moist, flaky crust and had in the center of it a giant mons venus of butternut squash so soft, sweet, and succulent it could’ve been apricot. The very center of this erotic pastry was veined with caramelized onion. A side salad of mixed greens played second fiddle with an evenly coated citrus vinaigrette.

The mint pea soup ($7 for a bowl) was as finely textured as suede. It tasted springtime fresh, with a mild minty top note. Scattered throughout the bowl were tiny cubes of apple or pear or something crisp and sweet, cut into such a miniscule dice that they had to have hired a fairy with a scalpel to be the prep cook. Like the lentil soup, the mint pea also had an unexpected heat. The soups at Tilikum Place Café remind me of a friend of mine from high school. He was a small, frail, quiet guy. I knew him for years and thought he was cool, but a total nerd. Then one day we were sitting at a bar, drinking. Apropos of nothing he just blurts out “Did you know that jizz burns when you get it in your eye?” He then went on to relate how he accidentally came in a woman’s eye while receiving a BJ, then suddenly began to ape the aftermath, jumping from his seat and running around in circles in the barroom rubbing his eyes and squealing in falsetto, “Somebody get me a towel!” That was the first and only time that I’ve laughed so hard I actually fell off of a piece of furniture. That story is about as fun to recount as the mint pea soup was to eat. And like the soup, that guy was secretly spicy. Moral of the story: when going down on a guy always swallow.

Speaking of things that I recommend you swallow, the grilled asparagus salad ($8) was a bit pricey but still good. Spears of really fresh asparagus were soft outside but still crisp within, dressed with a lemon oil vinaigrette that was as bright as a new penny, and garnished with a liberal snowdrift of REAL REGGIANO! This was simple yet very classy.

The grilled tri-tip steak ($19) was grilled an even medium, with a salty, crusty exterior. Usually ordering what I call the “loser steaks”-- tri-tip, flank steak, skirt steak-- is a gamble, since they sometimes have lines of gristly crap running through them. This tri- tip avoided the usual loser steak curse, and in fact was quite tasty and juicy and beefy. Accompanying the steak was a fluffy pile of silky mashed potatoes topped with batons of roasted carrots and parsnips. The whole plate swam in a comforting amniotic pool of rich red wine gravy. If you were some kind of 1950’s writer who smokes packs of cigarettes per day and only drinks two different liquids—coffee and whisky, often mixed together—this is the kind of shit you’d eat.

The grilled chicken breast ($16) wasn’t as good as the tri- tip, though I don’t know why I’m even bothering to mention that fact. After all, EVERYONE knows chicken isn’t as good as steak. Even vegans know that. While the chicken itself was juicy, it came with some weird spongy pastry things that looked sort of like hockey pucks and a rhubarb sauce that was so sour I couldn’t handle it. Whenever I got a taste of rhubarb sauce it really aggravated me. Finishing this dish was like trying to run the marathon with a piece of glass in your shoe. The pea vines that came with it were very tender and fresh at least.

Finally, a plate of 5 profiteroles cost $7. These pastry balls were so soft and flaky they were almost like croissants. They were filled with vanilla ice cream and topped with a caramel rum sauce that could actually get you drunk if you chugged a quart of it, although if you’re going to go to those lengths to get a buzz, Ny-Quil and rotten fruit will also do the job, with far less cholesterol.

Speaking of being desperate to get drunk, I think I’ll stop writing now and do that very thing. But before I go, remember this: The mint pea soup, tri- tip, and profiteroles together were together only $33, and you get to choose EXACTLY WHAT YOU WANT, and YOU GET A LOT OF IT. So for all you fans of Urban Eats, I hope you enjoyed saving $3.

Verdict: Urban Eats is for CHEAP FUCKERZ. The end.

Rating: 7.5 profiteroles out of 10

Tilikum Place Cafe on Urbanspoon


Becky said...

Once again you've insulted everyone in the world except for some twins in a small village in Kazakhstan. "Oh, what's that?" No, you offended them too.

Well done.

Surly Gourmand said...


Who, besides the cheap assholes who patronize the Urban Eats promotion, could I have possibly offended? I'm an adorable rake!

For the record Kazakhstan is the first place in the world where apples were cultivated. Now you know.


Your Friend the Surly Motherfucking Gourmand

tres_arboles said...

Funniest food review I've ever read. I was laughing out loud before you even got to the food. Barbara Bush indeed.