Hazy but positive memories of Sitka & Spruce

Stepping out of sequence for a moment, my write-up of Louisa’s Cafe and Bakery reminds me of a meal I had the previous month at Sitka & Spruce. First, because the restaurants are Eastlake neighbors – though Sitka & Spruce will be closing shop at the end of the year and moving to Capitol Hill. (Fear not, Eastlake, as Taichi Kitamura will be bringing Kappo to your neighborhood next year.) Second, because as referenced in the Louisa’s write-up, sometimes it’s hard to remember the details of a meal.

Such is my story of Sitka & Spruce. We went with friends, which meant the banter at the table provided delicious distraction from the dishes on the table. Especially after a drink at Serafina (a convenient place for a cocktail during the inevitable wait for weekend seats) and the start of a nice bottle of wine upon seating. Furthermore, the room was dark; even though my Panasonic DMC-LX3 does pretty well (for a non-SLR camera) in low-light conditions, it was no match for the intimately lit room. That’s okay. Just as I complain about people who tweet while they eat, I know it’s annoying to eat with someone who takes too many photos during the meal. (That said, I try to advise new friends ahead of time that I’ll be shooting my meal, albeit without a flash.)

So…the best I can show from the dinner is the menu:

Though my remembrance is more like this:

We had a majority of the items on the menu, and I enjoyed everything. The ingredients were very fresh, the dishes cooked with great execution, and the flavor combinations typically pleasing. It’s tempting to call this fare simple, but it’s not. I’ve had Chef Matt Dillon’s cooking at the Corson Building and elsewhere, and “rustic” seems more appropriate. Or farm-like. It’s not as bold as I’d like, but that’s just a personal preference; remember, I’m a freak: Sichuan restaurants can’t cook food spicy enough for me. Maybe Dillon’s more like the equivalent of a Cantonese chef. Instead of waiting for blasts of heat, I need to step back and appreciate the variety of vegetables on the short menu (as in the delicious creamed corn that came with the grilled pork chop), the introduction of fruit in savory dishes (like the melon with the lox), the use of sustainable seafood (our marinated smelt), not to mention the local eggs, exquisite herbs, etc.

Okay, yeah, it’s good food. And my favorite dish of the night: squid with fried bread, cherry tomatoes, and basil. Again, fresh-tasting, but the variety of textures also helped make this a winner. And now, a feeble attempt at a photo…a hazy memory of the food at Sitka & Spruce:

Sitka & Spruce on Urbanspoon

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