Restaurant Review: Blackboard Bistro

Romantic appeal but an uneven menu at this new West Seattle spot
Allison Austin Scheff  |   June 2011   |  FROM THE PRINT EDITION
The writing’s on the wall at Blackboard Bistro

Almost a year ago, Jacob Wiegner left Spanish-romantic Olivar on Capitol Hill to open his own place in a revolving-door storefront at the West Seattle Junction (in four years it’s been five different restaurants).

But let’s hope, for the sake of gnocchi, this one sticks. Wiegner’s potato pasta puffs are lovely—fluffy, light and seared on one side to a caramel crust, wearing a simple Bolognese sauce made from hazelnut-finished pork. Really, really delicious.

It’s also the least fussy thing I tasted; when the chef starts adding too many elements to his plates, the flavors begin to compete. Take the house-pickled herring: salty and tender, served on top of a pickle-y potato salad. But then there’s a soft-cooked egg plopped on top, and smoked pork strewn alongside. This was like two potentially tasty dishes mashed up onto the same plate. An arctic char dish was better, nicely cooked and accented with curried parsnips. Except some of those parsnips weren’t quite cooked through, and that curry was too generously applied.

The menu changes daily, which could be part of the problem. This is a bistro with romantic appeal; the food, though, isn’t yet a sure thing.

Dinner Tue., lunch and dinner Wed.–Sun. West Seattle, 3247 California Ave. SW; 206.257.4832; blackboardbistroseattle.com. $$