Mario UncloggedI was in Seattle for a funeral—a crappy one—one for an 18-year-old nephew. Went to the potluck and did not eat, headed out to the hotel, and stopped into a new place called the Steelhead Diner just off of 1st Avenue near Pike Place Market.

It ruled. Real dungeness crab cake with the big pieces of crab and no visible filler, served with sauce Louis from the '50s, but perfect. A plate of my dad's bresaola, perfectly sliced, dressed with great olive oil and fresh peaches. Wow ... fuck figs.

A slice of caviar pie read like an old chestnut but was perfect, aioli, sour cream, and mascarpone formed into a little panna cotta–style base topped with odd and crunchy American caviars, the most interesting one with beets and saffron; the least with truffle infusion (? yeah, uh huh). Great sammies like the fried chicken sandwich with coleslaw dressing and Crystal's Hot Sauce rouille on the side, heirloom tomatoes on crisp bread with mayo and black pepper, Uli's sausage po' boy–style, "dressed."

This place serves comfort food from my dreamy stoner days and also offers half portions of the real main courses, like local king salmon and the traditional Nobu knock-off of kasu-marinated cod—all washed bown with a killer southern Oregon AlbariƱo for $30 something a bottle. The chef, Kevin Davis, and his wife, Terresa Davis (pictured), run the fun ship, and the wait staff is hip and awake, unlike at many Emerald City hot spots, so there's a little pep in the step here.

Two thumbs up.

Steelhead Diner

Address: 95 Pine Street, Pike Place Market, Seattle WA 98101 [map]
Phone: 206-625-0129

Photograph from the Steelhead Diner

View other entries from Mario Unclogged.

About the author: Mario Batali has created a thriving restaurant empire and has established himself as a top restaurateur. Together with his partner, Joe Bastianich, he operates seven New York City hotspots. Mario splits his time between New York City's Greenwich Village and northern Michigan with his wife, Susan Cahn, of Coach Dairy Goat Farm, and their two sons. More Mario: mariobatali.com.

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