When I received a list of places to eat in Seattle from one of our longtime customers, @SamayouKodomo, the only comment he put next to Blind Pig Bistro was, "American goodness... beer bread, mmm." Besides this, there was no other insight into this little eatery out a way's north of the downtown area where we were staying. But we took his word for it (all of his recommendations were fantastic!) and we were all so pleasantly surprised. Gleeful, would be more like it.
Located inside a mini strip mall on a bustling thoroughfare, Blind Pig has a modest facade that I imagine could easily be overlooked.
The interiors are cozy -- walls of deep red that took us to a swanky modern restaurant in Andaluz!
I had heard that all the dishes were written on a chalkboard. You can choose them a la carte, or get an entire 12-course meal for $50 a person. Is that for real???
All of the dishes sounded nourishing, inventive, and well thought-out. We opted for 10 courses to share amongst four of us. We were in for quite a ride.
Yoko: This beer bread was a little to sweet for my taste but the rest of our party loved it. I could appreciate the fresh baked texture: soft and delicately crispy on the outside. It was served with creamy room temperature butter with flecks of black salt.
Scallop crudo, yuzu kosho, amaranth and apples:
Yoko: Seattle always amazes with its seafood. This dish was a great example of just how fresh it can truly get. Cool, thin slices of scallop that pack so much umami. These scallops were dusted with amaranth crumbs, taking me back to some of my memories in Brazil.
Kayoko: This dish came out in a non-assuming bowl. It was no frills here, and I liked their style. Such a whimsical and well-balanced dish.
Nectaries, pickled celery, walnuts, feta:
Yoko: This salad elevated celery to heights I have never experienced. The sweet crunch of the pickled celery coupled with walnuts, ripe nectarines and mild goat cheese made this salad taste like more of dessert. The sweet and sour combo was balanced just right for a great ramp up to the pork jowel dish.
Squid, fava beans, lentils, black cardamom:
Kayoko: A standout dish! The squid was just lightly cooked and still half-raw. Such technique! They were pillowy and not too squid-y. The earthiness of the beans pulled this dish together. It was wonderful.
Morel and grana dumplings, corn, chard, chrysanthemum greens:
Pork collar steak, black eyed peas, scallions:
Yoko: This colorful plate of black eye peas and cubes of pork jowels looked totally innocent and playful. Like a summer dress that looks effortless but took the seamstress lots of planning and time to sew, this dish was pleasing to the eye and fit for the season. I loved how every dish the Blind Pig was unassuming but opened up with flavors as you enjoyed them and played with different textures -- highlighting the freshness of each ingredient. This dish was what epitomized the Blind Pig for me. In part because it was pig, and the restaurant is called "The Blind Pig" but also because it was creative and I found all the dishes here to be playful and imaginative. This dish displayed its creativity by using a cut of meat that you don't always think of but can be just as, if not more, exciting than the trendy pork belly.
Kayoko: There was a carpet of cream on the dish that made this truly elegant. And the black-eyed peas looked so stylish on this plate! Good photo by @washiwashino here.
Moulard duck, garlic spears, migas, currants:
Kayoko: We had seen these giant garlic spears earlier in the morning at the Pike Place Market so were intrigued by this dish. The sweetness of the nicely-cooked duck paired well with the gentle zing of the garlic.
Zabuton steak, zucchini, charred eggplant, fingerling:
Kayoko: Genius! Zabuton! Aka a "futon cover" in Japanese. A zabuton of fresh, soft zucchini covering a finely grilled steak. I will come back for this dish for its artistry. It's just plain FUN. See the steak here, by @washiwashino.
Chocolate mousse with brownie:
Yoko: The mousse was firm, almost the texture of gelato but not cold.
Kayoko: I hate to sound trite, but perhaps we, or many of us, are "blind" to the extent of how much fun we can still have with ingredients, fresh produce, meats and seafood. I eat out a lot, and it has made me cynical of the dining experience and even more of restaurant food. Quite frankly, it has bored me. The Blind Pig Bistro is full of passion and care for the ingredients but pushes boundaries. It does not compromise service, while it sure is at a reasonable price point; with a very nice, old-world wine list.
Thank you Blind Pig -- the chef and Rene -- for making me see again!
*Photos by Yoko Kumano