Golden Beetle

Written by on August 21, 2011 in I Eat Seattle, I Eat...Out with 0 Comments

(golden-beetle.com) – Ballard neighborhood, Seattle, Washington 

How I heard of this place: Driving by on my way to get my hair and make-up done for my bridal shower, I noticed a new restaurant facing Market Street in Ballard. I mentioned it to my friend and driver and she shared with me that it’s Maria Hines’s (of Tilth in Wallingford) new restaurant. Upon doing a little of my own research, I found that it had opened in February, right around the time I left the Seattle area, and serves tapas style Mediterranean fare.

Type of cuisine: “Golden Beetle is rooted in the spices and flavors of the Eastern Mediterranean. Our James Beard Award-winning executive chef and owner, Maria Hines, draws upon the cultures of Turkey, Greece, Lebanon, Israel, Egypt and others to present the Northwest’s best organic and seasonal ingredients from local farmers and foragers. Our seasonal craft cocktails are created with housemade bitters, tinctures, sodas, garnishes and infusions, resulting in unique cocktails unrivaled in flavor. Golden Beetle is the third restaurant in the country to receive Oregon Tilth’s esteemed organic certification. We invite you to enjoy exceptional craft cocktails and exquisite, elevated street food prepared with a sustainable conscience.” And if you want to read on, “Our rustic menus draw upon the spices, flavors and heat spiced dishes of the Eastern Mediterranean. We present dips and wood fired flat bread, T’mazza (to savor in little bites) and larger plates of elevated street food that are organic, wild and sustainable.  Our bartenders are some of the most knowledgeable in the city. House made bitters, tinctures, sodas, garnishes and infusions create originality to our well-balanced, seasonal cocktails. We also offer Northwest produced draught beer and wine from Washington, Oregon, France, Spain, Italy and Lebanon that complement the menu and pair with the uniqueness of our food. We believe in supporting local, from farmers and foragers to artists and photographers. The photography that graces our walls is truly unique as it documents Maria’s travels in Turkey, Lebanon and Egypt as told through the lens of Frank Huster. Seattle Mosaic Arts created the glass tiled mosaic on the oven, a definitive piece of the restaurant. We enjoy relationships with local purveyors that bring the best seasonal, organic and locally grown and harvested ingredients to our kitchen.”

Ambiance: Walking up to the Golden Beetle from our parking spots along Market Street, we were not expecting much by way of grandiose, intricate decor beyond the small patio seating set against the windows facing the street. Upon entry, however, we were dazzled by the immense space, tall ceilings and intricate, glass, mosaic light fixtures in bright red, blue and white, with accents of green and orange hanging from the ceiling. Black and white portraits of people from the Middle East line the far, right hand, pale blue-tinted wall, as you enter the establishment and make your way up the sloped entryway and into the dining area. Simple curtains, bunched together, hang in front of the windows, bright, Mediterranean blue walls meet at the corner, and share the space leading into the kitchen. Tables and chairs in dark wooden tones are decorated with bamboo placemats, blue, linen napkins and eating utensils (including two forks and a knife). Small white bowls host za’atar and salt, with mini serving spoons. The kitchen staff works behind the stainless steel appliances, hidden behind shelves of drinking glasses, an array of plates and a glass mosaic in blues, reds and yellows. The calm atmosphere, the soft music and open space feel like an upscale version of a true Middle Eastern eatery.

What I ordered: After having devoured a little of everything at my Bridal Shower, I was a little less than hungry, but had to make room for something. I ordered a sour cherry juice to start ($5) and added Za’atar Spiced French Fries ($6), russet potato, beef fat, served with a small bowl of hot mustard.

Fried Potatoes

At our large table, we also had orders for Cafe Vita coffee ($3), Blue Sky Organic Cola ($3), two orders of Gosling’s Ginger Beer ($3 each), Lemonade ($4), and one order of fresh watermelon juice ($5). Around the table, we had one Cous Cous ($7), hazelnut, garlic and preserved lemon, one Persian Cucumber Salad ($8) with mint, radish and labne, two orders of Flat Bread with Dip ($11 each), served with Tzatziki (yogurt sauce with garlic, onion and dill), Hummus (garbanzo bean, chili and tahini) and Muhammara Dip (walnut, pomegranate molasses, extra virgin olive oil) as well as an additional order of Flat Bread ($3).

Flat Bread and Dips

We had one order of Grilled Halumi Cheese ($8) with padron pepper, sea salt and peppermint, one order of Loubia ($8), sauteed green beans with cherry tomato, cumin and leeks,

Loubia

one Pide ($16), wood fired flat bread pizza with beech mushrooms, onion and kasseri cheese, one Spanakopita ($9), phyllo spinach “cigars” with spinach, feta and sumac, and two orders of Wood Fired Chicken Wings ($10) with ginger paste, cilantro and harissa.

Pide

What I loved: The fries stole the show for me, although the flat bread was warm and perfectly prepared. The wings spicy and flavorful and the loubia gentle, yet full of taste. The dips nice and a fun addition to a full meal.  

Why I loved it: I loved the peaceful setting and the time shared with family, new and old, from near and far.

Cost: High ($6-$16 per mini tapas-style plate)

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