getting back to the food...
This afforded a chance for a snack. We ended up in a Seattle "landmark" - Ivar's, Acres of Clams! A big, rambling unpretentious seafood joint with water views. I was sceptical of the menu, but fortunately we wanted only oysters and beer, and both were available.
Cutting matters short, we prepared for an early dinner. The Dahlia Lounge has actually moved since I was last in the city. It's a colorful, bustling bistro, appearing to cater for a local business crowd in the early evening. It was the least knockout of the Seattle restaurants we tried. If it's not too crushing, I'd say it was a good example of a breed you might find in any regional North American city: the above average bar and grill, with some modern (in this case, Asian) accents to a fairly safe menu. Perhaps that's unfair on one visit? The plates were certainly stacked high. I started with several big chunks of chilled crab meat, served in individual little pots, topped with a light clam sauce, and festooned with breadsticks. My Beloved hit the foie gras trail as usual; okay, but slightly overcooked to my taste. The entrees were so large and contained so many components, that we tended to hand around mouthfuls, and it all got a bit mixed up. I know my Beloved got about half a duck, well-roasted and tender, with a stack of spicy rice. I had a chunk of quite acceptable lamb loin, served with some disappointingly doughy and cheesey potato croquettes. The Munchkin sampled a slightly more unusual dish: risotto of vegetables, first cooked, then used to sandwich slices of more vegetables (mainly squash), and cheese, the whole thing then toasted. It was actually quite nice in a comfortable sort of way.
I don't know how we tackled dessert, but we did. Ice cream for the ladies, and freshly cooked donuts for me, shaken with sugar at the table in a brown paper bag. I liked the pot of strawberry jam which accompanied them, but I confess I saved half the portion for next day's breakfast. There were enough to feed the table.
Groaning, we repaired to a small area of park land at the far end of the market, and relished the site of young people singing with guitars, taking drugs and complaining about the government, under a lovely night sky. I regretted skipping the recommended Le Pichet, but did manage some quality time with a pint of Pilsner before retiring.
I like this place.
You experienced one of Seattle's historical institutions. Ivars is a beloved local chain that began in 1938 when Ivar Haglund opened his first location on Seattle's waterfront. It's kind of a landmark, and he is a local hero, as (even though he is deceased now) Ivars carries on with the tradition of sponsoring a huge fireworks display in his name and honor (4th of Julyvers) every year. This is their website, like you said casual food, nothing cutting edge, with emphasis on things like clam chowder and fish n chips Ivars.
I was interested to read your review of the Dahlia. I haven't been there in a couple of years, with so many other options popping up in Seattle. I'm really glad you got to try Lark and Union, though.