Monday, May 23, 2011

Review - Staple & Fancy Mercantile - Ballard - Seattle, WA

Staple & Fancy Mercantile

 Located in Ballard just minutes from my house is the newest addition to the family of Ethan Stowell Restaurants, Staple & Fancy Mercantile.  We love Tavolata, and How To Cook a Wolf, so I have been looking forward to Staple & Fancy.

After looking over the menu, we had settled on some choices, until our server suggested the Chef's Menu which is a four course meal for $45 per person, and requires the entire tables participation.  We usually don't to do this because of my SOs food restrictions, but the server informed us that they would be able to accommodate his food preferences.  We decided to go for it, and we were both so thrilled that we did!

Castelvetrano Olives with Pickled Vegetables

Our first course was an onslaught of tapas style plates, 7 small plates, including bread!   The first dish was a bowl of marinated Castelvetrano olives with pickled cauliflower, onion and carrots.  The pickling was really light, not too acidic, and a great balance with the creamy and salty castelvetrano olives.

L to R: House Made Ricotta Bruschetta and Smoked Mackerel Bruschetta

Because my SO doesn't like much seafood, the kitchen prepared a ricotta bruschetta for him.  The smoked mackerel was good, not too fishy, smokey and salty on a crispy crostini.

Soft Boiled Eggs with Dried Chiles and Aioli

The next dish that arrived were soft poached eggs with a really mild smokey chile on top.  This simple dish was really fantastic and possibly one of my favorite dishes of the evening!  The eggs were cooked perfectly and the mild chile added a subtle flavor of earthiness.

Fried Oysters

The fourth dish in our first course was a dish of fried oysters.  The serving was huge, bigger than what you see above, since the photo is missing a couple.  YUM!  This dish was a little too intense for my SO, but I didn't mind finishing all of them!  They were tender and creamy with a slightly metallic taste of the sea.  The cornmeal breading was light and crisp, and balanced well with the dip.

L to R: Baguette with Olive Oil & Balsamic, House Made Burrata and Escolar Crudo

Each of these dishes arrived one after the other, at one point our table was full of small plates.  It was so fun to try all of these different things that worked really well together!  The soft and crusty bread with olive oil and balsamic is good, served fresh and warm.  The Burrata, which is fresh Mozzarella with a Mozzarella and cream center, was tender, soft and light.  It went well with the crusty bread and the accompanying salad.  Also pictured is the Escolar Crudo.  Escolar is one of my favorite types of fish, and I am happy to see it showing up on menus around town more often!  The Escolar is served raw, with an avocado puree and topped with seasoned cucumber slices.  Even my SO liked this dish.   All of the above was just the first course!  I felt pretty full, but we continued push on!

Pea Agnolotti with Brown Butter and Sage

The second course, Pasta.  One thing every one of Ethan Stowell's restaurants does perfectly, is the pasta.  Amazing.  The Agnolotti was stuffed full of pureed peas - creamy, and a little spicy.  the nutty brown butter sauce didn't over power the delicate taste of the pasta.  This was another favorite dish of the evening!

Grilled Chicken with Spring Vegetables and Salsa Verde

The food just kept coming... But at a perfect pace, we didn't feel rushed, and we definitely didn't feel hungry... Our Entree was a grilled half chicken with spring vegetables and salsa verde.  At this point, I was pretty full, but the chicken was full of flavor and really tender. The skin was crisp and seasoned well.  Even the spring vegetables were great!  The chicken is topped with Salsa Verde, which reminded me of Argentinean Chimichurri Sauce.  

Ricotta Cheesecake with Rhubarb

And for our fourth and final course, a house made ricotta cheesecake topped with rhubarb.  I rarely choose to order cheesecake, so if it weren't for the tasting menu, I probably would have missed out on the opportunity to try this.  It was possibly the best cheesecake I have ever had!  It was light, and not as dense as typical cheesecake.  The crust had hints of spice and the tang from the rhubarb was really the perfect way to end our meal.  When it arrived at our table, we didn't know how we could possibly eat something that looked so rich.  The next thing I knew, it was gone!

This meal was truly fantastic, and I love the intimate feel of the restaurant.  You can watch the chefs as they prepare the meals, or you can get lost in your conversation.  The service is great, everyone is very attentive without being over bearing.  I am sure we will be back very soon, and if you go, I strongly suggest the tasting menu! 

Staple & Fancy Mercantile
4739 Ballard Ave NW
Seattle, WA 98107

Hours: 5:00pm - 11:00pm

Staple & Fancy Mercantile on Urbanspoon

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