Pig’s Head, Moonshine, and More Now Warming Diners at Radiator Whiskey

radiator-headplated-600-1716If Matt’s in the Market is one of the most romantic restaurants in Seattle, its new sister Radiator Whiskey is one of the most carnal.

When you walk into Radiator, across the hall from Matt’s at Pike Place Market, you get a Prohibition-Era feel. Belly up to the bar and you’ll immediately notice a 7-foot high wooden barrel that dispenses a changing selection of spirits from seven smaller, separate barrels. There are over 100 kinds of whiskeys available, including a Radiator Whiskey-branded moonshine from 2Bar Spirits that is 100 proof (a few drops of water lets the flavor open up). If you go bonkers over brown drinks, you can even join the Radiator Whiskey Flask Club. For $500, you get a personalized flask filled with the spirit of your choice, specially stored in a hollowed-out book. (There will be other special benefits.)

If, like me, you’re a fan of what David Letterman loved to call the “variety meats,” you’ll love Radiator Whiskey. As with Matt’s, ingredients are seasonal and locally sourced. (Read: from just downstairs at the market.) Owner Dan Bugge and chef Tyler Palagi (who you can see next week with Gordon Ramsay–and me!–in the Kitchen Nightmares episode shot at Prohibition Grille turned Prohibition Gastropub in Everett) like to joke that the liberal use of organ meats is an attempt to be fancy, but an act of frugality. (Note: Charlie Garrison works with Palagi as part of the chef team.)

Frugal’s fine by me. At a media preview, I sampled deep-fried beef lips, Buffalo-style chicken livers, and half of a smoked pig head served with brains and tongue. Don’t worry: The smoked pig heads weren’t just for the journalists. They’ll be on the menu most every night, though due to limited space (it’s a very tiny kitchen), only be a handful will be available. Order yours early. I promise you that the pig is delicious. Actually, the whole meal was great…an orgy of flesh, fat, muscle, and more.

And if that’s not carnal enough, get a seat by the window where you can get a view of the Deja Vu marque while enjoying a cocktail called The Showgirl, with bourbon, Ramazotti Amaro, and rhubarb bitters. It’ll get your blood flowing.


7-foot tall wooden barrel which houses seven separate barrels dispensing different spirits.


The meaning of moonshine.


Cornflake-crusted chicken livers, Frank’s RedHot, and green onions. Unfortunately, the liver flavor gets lost, but still lots of fun.


Deep-fried beef lips with Dijonnaise. Delightful!


Opal apple salad with celery, pickled golden raisins, and sherry vinaigrette. Nice flavor and texture; great counterpoint to the meaty dishes.


Sauteed asparagus with house Canadian bacon and Hollandaise. Spring has sprung.


Chefs Charlie Garrison (left) and Tyler Palagi in the open kitchen.


Pig heads, pig heads, roly-poly pig heads?




Platter of smoked half pig head with fritto misto, onions, brains, ears, tongue, loin, and coppa.


The aftermath: pigged out.


The evening’s menu.


Willie Nelson presides over the kitchen.


A room with a carnal view.

Radiator Whiskey on Urbanspoon


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