We took my cousins here for dinner on Friday. It was a wonderfully warm evening and they had all the windows in the front open. The streets of Ballard were hopping and there was a steady stream of people going by. It made it feel urban and convivial.
We started with cocktails and some nibbles. All the cocktails were well made and I particularly liked my Battle of Yorktown. For nibbles we had:
Fried castlevatranos - These were good but I almost would have rather have a bowl of the plain olives.
Soft boiled egg with tuna - I didn't care for this. It was kind of boring. But there were four of us and I appreciate that there were four on the plate.
Burrata with chard and pine nut caponata - I'm not sure why they added the word caponata, as there was no eggplant. The chard/pine nut mixture was really good. The burrata was served a little too cold and didn't ooze as much as I like it.
Soppressata pizza - For those who complain that the pizzas at Via Trib are too soggy in center, this is the pizza for you. I haven't been to Delancy so other than that, this is the best wood fired pizza in town. The crust had the right amount of salt and the toppings were perfect.
Pasta with spot prawns - This was good but I wouldn't go out of my way to order it again.
Bed sheet pasta with cauliflower puree - this was sent out to us from the kitchen and I am so glad. It was the best thing all night and I have to say the best dish I've had this year. There was a mound of cauliflower and ricotta puree surrounded by the sheets of pasta. It was so rich and full of umami. I would love to figure out how to recreate the puree.
Green beans with horseradish cream - Simple but really, really good.
Heirloom tomatoes - Another dish sent out from the kitchen. Simply tossed with olive oil and sprinkled with salt and basil. Perfect.
Seared black cod - I was full at this point and had only a bite of the fish. It was cooked perfectly - crispy on one side and that luscious rich flake that you expect from black cod.
Chocolate dessert - my cousin ordered this and I didn't even pay attention to what she got. I was seriously enjoying my Rare Wine Co. Malmsey Madeira at the time!
Paul says the wine menu is decent - weighted towards Italian wines.
A couple of comments that we made that night. The menu seems bifurcated, making it as easy to come in for a pizza and a salad as it is for a coursed menu. It is normal for me to enjoy the apps/starters/first courses more than the seconds/entrees. At Stoneburner, the opposite was true. There was a crescendo to the meal and I really enjoyed that. I was worried about the sound as we rarely get together and had a lot to catch up on. The area we were in, the area to the right of the entrance as you face the front, was loud but not so loud that we couldn't converse easily. The price for the four of us (including cocktail, wine and after dinner drinks but not including the dishes they sent out and not including tip) was $254 for four of us. Very reasonable.