Grant Crilly’s Top 5 Favorite Dishes in Seattle

So there are some foods that I can’t let go of. You know, the ones that you can eat over and over again and still want more. The ones where every time you take a bite, it’s like that first taste all over again. I wanted to share with you my top 5 favorite dishes in Seattle. I honestly think I have eaten at every restaurant that you would want to in this city and the ones that make this list are very special to me. I will share the list with you in no particular order of favoritism as I could never make that decision anyway. I love them all!

First up are the Salmon Crostini at Spur Gastropub in Belltown. These bad boys are something that everyone should try. They used to sell them as a plate of three and now they sell them as singles, and in some ways, I prefer that. At least now I can get as many as I want (which is usually about five). Chefs Brian McCracken and Dana Tough play for keeps. If you find yourself at Spur, make sure you also try their burger (order it at the most, medium rare please). I can’t stand when folks order a burger well done and then I hear “I don’t see what the fuss is with these burgers.” Are you crazy? Look at what you made those chefs do to that poor thing!

Next on the list for me is Pike Street Fish Fry’s Cod and Chips. I don’t know how they do it, but they are able to make the best fish and chips nonstop from 11 am to 3 am every night. Holy amazing sh*t, these things are great! Easily the best fish and chips that I have ever had. Fancy restaurants get it way wrong with cod and large pieces of fish. These fab restaurants with great food are often a great place to enjoy with friends. Though if you choose to go here with a friend who is a recovering alcoholic as they may use beer batter for the fish. You may possibly want to research Can alcoholics have beer battered food? This way you can possibly prevent any awkward situation and feelings of guilt. You need small, fatty, oily things to do it right. Don’t forget to order their fish tacos on Tuesdays!

Next stop is at Tsukushinbo for a very unique and hard to come by dish called Oroshi Age Mochi. They know what they are doing with sushi, but they also know how to throw down in the kitchen. Mom and Dad in the back whip up some amazing things. Their oroshi age mochi is fried mochi in an extremely rich dashi broth with freshly grated daikon root. The broth is rich, sweet, and very savory. The fried mochi is super crispy on the exterior with a very gummy, dense interior. As you pick them up with your chopsticks they begin to stretch and sag like a soft dough. For anyone who likes a gummy texture this is probably the best dish I could imagine. I usually order three of these… and then go for the omakase.

Even though I love dessert and if I could I would eat only desserts (I am a very fat child at heart), I only picked one here. That’s impressive considering I plan on eventually posting a top 5 favorite desserts as well. The dessert is Amaretto Bread Pudding with Butter Rum Cream Sauce from Chef Renee Erickson at Boat Street Cafe. She has made a simple masterpiece with this one. It uses a very chewy baguette from Columbia City Bakery that is not very common these days with bread puddings. It ends up having an extrememly crisp exterior with a custard interior sitting in a sweet milk broth with almond essence. Butter fat floats on top of the milk and shines a beautiful golden yellow. They always serve it right out of the salamander and it is screaming hot, so I end up burning myself when I get it. I have been waiting for weeks to get it usually and have zero patience or self control once it’s set in front of me. Burns and all, it is totally worth it.

Last, but certainly not least on my top 5 favorite dishes in Seattle, I choose Eric Banh’s Imperial Rolls at Monsoon. My girlfriend always wants her own and gets mad at me when I mention that I’ve been there for a lunch meeting with somebody without her. At Modernist Cuisine, I worked with Chef Johnny Zhu of the eastside location. He told me that they fried them three times. All I could think was, I bet if you fried them five times they would be even crispier! I’ll try that sometime. All joking aside, these crispy rolls are incredibly refreshing, satisfying and very, very addicting.

So that was a quite a struggle for me, I love so many dishes in Seattle but I have to be honest – the ones I have described above could make up my last meal. I only hope these dishes are around when that day comes. Next up – my top 5 favorite cocktails list. Oh, and now that I’ve told you about them, please forget what I’ve said and resist the urge to visit these restaurants. I don’t want to have to wait any longer than I already do to get into these places.

Grant Lee Crilly

Photo Credits: 1. Spur Gastropub 2. Kyle Johnson 3. Grant Crilly 4. A. Bruno 5. Geoffrey Smith

Thanks a Million, Wylie!

Friends helping friends.

The kitchen team at ChefSteps had a pretty crazy week getting ready for New York. It’s no small feat serving even 2 dishes 2400 miles from home for 60 guests, no wait, the count is now 78…aw, perfect! 6L of centrifuged strawberry broth, 120 topped and trimmed quail eggshells (Thanks to Trissa who cut them all open to exactly a 0.7 inch, then carefully cleaned, sanitized, dried, and packed them for travel), 3 kg of candied navy beans (bomb!), 7L of fromage blanc sorbet, 150 perfectly round passion fruit spheres (thank you, Nick), 2 heads of celery — vacuum compressed in centrifuged green apple juice … you get the idea.

Of course, we can only prep so much and be so prepared. But when things go wrong, well, that’s what friends are for. Once we arrived onsite at the Riverpark restaurant for Tim Ferris’ The 4-Hour Chef book launch, Ben and I quickly set up and arranged our tools. Mental check list: set up borrowed Paco Jet, freeze ice cream base in beakers, count out plates and place in fridge, check quail egg shells for damage … I soon realize that we’ve forgotten something pretty important. “Where’s the liquid nitrogen? Damn! Don’t panic, our friend Wylie Dufresne can save us!” Without hesitating, I text the New York Godfather of Modern Techniques and ask for some cold liquid gold. He tells me:

So that’s exactly what we did. Once we had our “dewar”, we cabbed it over to Clinton Street to  wd~50 and freeloaded what we could fit in our cheap little vessel. The loud cracking and snapping noise was not a reassuring sound when we were filling it up. “Is it breaking?” Wylie shrugs while further opening up the valve to get the liquid really flowing. “It definitely sounds like it,” I replied back.  “Eh … should be fine,” he said. I have had accidents while doing this before, especially in cars, and I was about to get back into a crowded cab. You gotta take risks, you know!

Ben and I obviously had very little faith in the dewar (it’s now officially a dewar) so we used the contents up for cryo-shattering some berries as soon as we arrived back at the Riverpark kitchen, popped them in the freezer and saved them for service. They looked beautiful and tasted amazing so it was all worth it for the ChefSteps crew.

Thanks a million, Wylie.

P.S. More on how awesome Wylie is another time.

Thanks, Wylie!

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