New Date Night Spot: Liam's in U Village
Here’s the thing about Liam’s (2685 NE 46th St.; 206.527.6089; liamsbistro.com): It will most likely exceed your expectations, because, let’s face it, great dining isn’t usually associated with University Village. Kurt Dammeier, the guy behind Beecher’s, Bennett’s, Pasta & Co. and Maximus/Minimus, saw an opportunity to put in a stylish, adult-oriented restaurant when U Village was expanding to include a multistoried parking garage, retail and restaurant complex. Dammeier calculatingly traded in the crayons and kids’ menu for modern design details to be enjoyed with wine and the absence of tantrums. “We want a place where adults can come and hang and not worry necessarily about lots of screaming babies,” says Dammeier, who, ironically, named Liam’s after his youngest son. In lieu of a basket of bread, you’ll be greeted with a splash of locally produced wine. Brilliant, because you’ll need that tinge of relaxation to peruse the menu—it’s a long one, executed by chef de cuisine Robin Posey, who worked under Eric Donnelly at Toulouse Petit. Here are a few things you shouldn’t miss: The mushroom tart, while a little cruise-shippy in appearance (cremini and portobellos stacked vertically with the obligatory green garnish), is flavorful in a thin layer of thyme-sherry cream sauce ($12); an unbelievably fresh citrus prawn salad (poached prawns and assorted mixed greens, $16) is only outdone by the Dungeness crab cobb with huge chunks of juicy crab, roasted red pepper, avocado, crispy prosciutto and tiny specks of Beecher’s flagship cheese ($22); a cast iron dish of roasted kale, beets, yams, red cabbage peperonata and roasted garlic is so good, you might want to order two servings. Would Liam’s be successful if it were relocated in, say, Ballard or Fremont, where chef-driven restaurants thrive? Probably not. But Liam’s isn’t trying to be anything other than a place that caters to wornout shoppers and parents who just want some solid food and down time.