Rosy and I helped out Eman (and Bartlett Hall) by plating his dish at Eat Drink SF 2014. In exchange we got VIP/staff access for free. While we were putting together tiny octopus salad bites most of the time, we did get to stroll around the event and try lots of different foods and drinks, including free champagne. We got to go to the evening event as well.
While there was lots of good food and spirits, and even some good cocktails, the wine was uniformly disappointing.
Another thing we noticed is how much better-run Bartlett Hall’s station was than other stalls. Despite a near-constant stream of takers we never quite ran out of plates to grab. The supplies held until moments before the end of the event. We also had quite a few people come back near the end for a second taste and to tell us they liked Eman’s dish the best.
This is one of my favorite bars ever, and I have been to many, many bars.
Rosy and I spent three and a half wonderful hours here one warm and sunny Monday afternoon in the entertaining company of bartenders Hayley and Willy and their infectious love of the art and craft of cocktails and the community that surrounds them. Over the course of six cocktails, one beer, little tastes of the liquors we discussed, and four sushi rolls (in itself mind blowing that quality sushi and cocktails find a home together) we fell in love with this place. You might think entering “Awesome” for their name in the POS system would be presumptuous but no, when you read “Your server was Awesome” on the bill you can only agree.
We had one or two drinks from the menu, a mescal mule, and series of “something with that local barrel-aged gin” (Copperworks) or other local bottles. All these lead up to the pièce de résistance: after having so many good off-the-cuff drinks, a conversation about PDT in NY, and the chopsticks laying on an empty plate, I had to ask for a soy sauce cocktail. Hayley quickly disqualified the bloody Mary option and set to work. What arrived, an opaque and creamy concoction of soy sauce, wasabi, tequila, and blood orange was a sight to behold and a pleasure to taste. There was much discussion about a name, but I think I won, with “On a Roll.”
517 15th Ave E
Seattle WA 98112
(Cross-posted to Yelp.)
Long ago Gabe made me a kombucha margarita when I brought some in as a challenge to the Beretta bartenders. On the way home from a walk Rosy and I picked some up and experimented. Gin seemed like a logical choice, but alone didn’t quite do it. A few drops of lime juice rounded it out. Of course, this was a Rosy-made cocktail, so we have no idea of the proportions.
pour ingredients over a big rock
For a bar and restaurant to execute this well (if not as fast as one might hope) on a soft open is a great sign.
Starting with the Parisienne gnocchi covered in Camembert the only complaint might be for a funkier cheese but the texture of the gnocchi was great. Portion size was good (in a practical sense) but seemed small for the price.
Quality prawns came with an assortment of accompaniments including an interesting yuzu mignonette and a horseradish salt that could have been more punchy.
The pork jowl bacon was like a marriage of bacon, lardo, and prosciutto: hot and savory waiting to be heaped with bright ricotta on delicious pita. You can almost hear your heart begging you to look away.
The burger’s bun could be firmer (perhaps simply more toasted) but the Vegemite butter and vidalia onions kept me me coming back for bites even after I finished the great fries, dipping them in the Hollandaise-topped egg presented in its shell.
Adam, Sarah, and the rest of the bar crew serve an impressive lineup of new cocktails and quality versions of standbys. There are a number of lower-alcohol aperitif cocktails that all escape the too-sweet and uninteresting fate to which most lighter options fall. The menu is helpfully divided by style and presentation, moving on from the lighter options to rocks, ups, downs, and spiritous options. Among them is the Can Can, my favorite of the night, with an initial dramatic note of lavender that soon settles into a dangerously drinkable combination of whiskey, maple, and bitters. Whatever you may think lies outside your normal preferences I urge you to give these drinks a try. A drink with strawberry wasn’t at all too sweet. A drink with vodka managed character. A drink made with Sauternes was unmistakably a cocktail without losing the character of the wine.
I have no doubt my rating is destined to rise as the service is polished to match the excellent fare. Come now before you’ll never get a seat.
(Crossposted to Yelp.)
“You know what this would be good with? Campari.”
“Like a kir royale. It’s getting a cherry, if that’s OK with you.”
“Now it needs a rock.”
“It’s missing something, a little heat. Maybe vodka. Or gin!”
“Hm, now that I look in the liquor cabinet, how about rum? Smelling them together makes me think this is a good idea.”
“Ok, go for it.”
Surprisingly tasty. Surprisingly beautiful.
1 gl sauvignon blanc
1 Luxardo cherry
Campari to taste (just enough to taste it clearly)
rum to taste, maybe ½ oz. (I used Mt Gay)
a.k.a “Hannah’s Sorrow” or “Hannah’s Woe,” Rosy named this after Mia Farrow’s character in Woody Allen’s Hannah and Her Sisters. Why? It has at least one scene set in Central Park in the fall and I thought the name had to evoke Manhattan in the autumn.
2 oz bourbon (e.g. 1½ oz Rendezvous, ½ oz Four Roses)
½ oz allspice dram
splash Gran Classico
splash Carpano Antica
stir over ice, strain over a big rock
The title isn’t a typo, this may be the perfect Perfect Manhattan. At least it would be if I’d remembered what “Perfect Manhattan” actually meant: I thought it referred to the 2-1-2 bourbon-vermouth-Angostura recipe (212 being the area code for Manhattan) but apparently it refers to the 1 being ½ sweet and ½ dry vermouth. Regardless, this is the best 2-1-2 Manhattan I’ve ever had, and it’s a 100% Rocho production. This is also when I found out she’d quietly started drinking my Rendezvous — I’d though it safe since she initially expressed a strong preference for bourbon, but much like her taste in beer her taste for rye (or at least for rye Manhattans) is evolving.
2 oz Rendezvous Rye
1 oz Carpano Antica
2 d Angostura Bitters
Stir on ice, strain over a big rock.
Getting a bottle of allspice dram was exciting. What could we do with it? We don’t have anything like a full bar so it’s hard to just look up “tiki drink” and be able to make what you find. There’s a lot of interpretation and experimentation.
The name is atrocious but the drink delicious. I welcome suggestions for a better name, since this one is just a stupid pun on “my tiki drink” and “mai-tai” though it has nothing to do with a mai-tai.
2 oz Mt Gay Rum
¾ oz allspice dram
¼ oz Carpano Antica
⅛ oz agave nectar
½ Meyer lemon
Combine (squeeze and include lemon) in shaker. Serve over crushed ice.