Write It 100 Times: Blackboard Bistro Has Good Food

bb_bb_500When I heard that Jacob Wiegner, the former sous chef at Olivar, had opened a place called Blackboard Bistro in West Seattle, I had a hunch it would be good. And a desire to quickly head over for lunch.

Yes, the menu is written up on blackboards. On those blackboards, I liked the humor with which the required health department warning is delivered: “Raw or undercooked food may make you sick. Or even kill you. But so could crossing the street.” What I really liked, though, was the chance to do a tasting menu, sort of like an American omakase. You name your price, and Wiegner sends out dishes of his choosing. It’s a great value and a chance for variety; $30 buys you a feast of small plates. Figure on $5 per plate, with one plate likely to be something not found on the menu.

Note that the menu is seasonal and always subject to change. Some of the dishes I sampled recently are no longer available.

But given the consistency of the quality, that’s okay, as you’ll find new favorites. I liked everything I tasted, appreciating some bold flavors and some tastes and techniques from around the world. My only minor gripe is that I felt a bit bloated afterward; given the richness of the dishes, I think Wiegner can back off the fat just a little. (I’ve recommended Blackboard Bistro to others, who raved about their meals but had this same issue.)

My dishes:

bb_tuna_tartare_500Tuna tartare with beets and ginger

bb_salad_500Warm goat cheese, frisée, and chanterelle salad with red wine butter sauce

bb_scallop_500Sautéed scallop with truffled “potato” risotto and baby leeks

bb_trout_500Trout, fried green tomatoes, sweet corn, and green tomato chutney

bb_pot_pie_500Chicken and wild mushroom pie

blackboard_bistro_500cBrisket slider with jus, bleu cheese, and shallot rings (See a sexy perspective on this dish here.)

bb_dessert_500Chocolate and caramel pie with sea salt and crème fraiche ice cream

I especially enjoyed the addition of beets to what is usually a one-dimensional tuna tartare, with the ginger being a refreshing accompaniment. The trout dish offered a nice balance of the fried and fresh, while the jus made the brisket slider a fabulous French dip-like experience.

Wiegner likes to think of his place as an “American bistro.” It’s certainly set up to be a popular neighborhood joint, but based on my experience, Blackboard Bistro is worthy of being a destination restaurant.

First published on TheSunbreak.com on October 8, 2010.

Blackboard Bistro on Urbanspoon

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