Boka Kitchen + Bar

Written by on March 12, 2010 in I Eat Seattle, I Eat...Out with 0 Comments

( – Downtown
How I heard of this place: When it first opened a few years ago on the Dine Around Seattle list, I had to try it! Subsequently, it’s on the list of dining options for 5th Avenue Theater season ticket holders (which gives you a free, three-cheese sample plate with the purchase of two entrees).
Type of cuisine: Urban American food and tapas.
Ambiance: Modern and simple with flavor. Great place to go on a casual date (where you still want to impress) or for happy hour with a handful of colleagues. The layout offers more private dining spaces, as well as cozy, whimsical seating in the front on sofa-like benches complete with pillows. Dim lighting and new age music add to the sense of “fitting in” and being of the “trendy” in this south downtown restaurant.
What I ordered: There were two of us at dinner last night, both of whom were fasting all day (no food or drink between the hours of sunrise and sunset), so we started with water. I moved on to the mushroom soup ($9) to start. It was a soup made with shimiggi, shitake and crimini mushrooms and served alongside was a mini toasted pleasant reserve cheese sandwich. The soup first came out luke-warm and the mushrooms were somewhat harder than should be the case. It was immediately whisked away when I asked the server, “Is this soup meant to be enjoyed cold?” and a hot one returned in its stead. (Admitedly, the hot one tasted as if it had just been microwaved and returned to my table.) While the soup, obviously, didn’t steal the show, the three cheeses were wonderful (the blue and hard cow’s milk cheeses won the evening over the sheep cheese which had a strong unpleasant aftertaste and flowery hints throughout). I ordered the Boka Burger ($14) made with Painted Hill’s beef, Beacher’s cheese, sesame seed bun, house dill pickle and onion jam with truffle fries. My dining companion opted for the perfectly seared six ounce Alaskan salmon served over risotto (green) and topped with shavings of spring onion and what we guessed might be a hint of chive oil.
What I loved: The salmon paired with risotto and spring onion, all consumed in one bite, stole the show for me. The truffle fries could have used more truffle oil, but were prepared to melt in your mouth, which added to the gratification. The burger was awesome – in every way: the meat definitely the key ingredient. The flavors were home-made and the bun buttered to perfection. But still, the crisp seared salmon, for me, was the meal that took the cake.
Why I loved it: The staff were friendly, proactive and helpful. The free cheese plate always wins a vote. The food is better than average and consistent (though the soup was a first – and most likely last – for me). The atmosphere is very comfortable, loungey and calming in a way that makes you feel like you’re “out” for the evening without being ambushed by trendsetters or conformists.
Cost: average for a downtown entree ($14-$28)

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