Why We're Crazy for the Wallingford Seafood Spot, Westward

Allison Austin Scheff  |   January 2014   |  FROM THE PRINT EDITION

Only a few months old, Westward already feels lived in, like it’s been here forever. Outside on the gravel patio on the north shore of Lake Union, Adirondack chairs are set around an oyster-shell-faced fire pit, and the city stands proud and sparkly in the view south across the lake. Inside, the sporty Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou–inspired interior is easy-breezy yet detailed: There’s sailcloth, wainscoting, bristly ropes, and tones of oyster gray, poppy orange and nautical blue. You’ll just wish that the food—a spirited seafood-heavy and Greek-flavored menu by chef Zoi Antonitsas, who last cooked at Madison Park Conservatory, was a little punchier and a little more consistent. You’ll lament that the clams in the clam dip ($11) don’t make themselves more known; you’ll slow down to enjoy the silken house-made gravlax ($13), but ignore the forgettable beet purée (the pickled beets on the plate are superior); and you’ll wonder why the wild boar meatballs ($16 for a small order) were tough on both of your visits—they were tasty otherwise. But then there’s a whole roasted branzino ($28) that is faultless, with fennel pollen and foamy lemony avoglemono sauce playing beautifully against the soft, buttery fish. The seafood stew ($26) is a thing of beauty, perfectly poached fish and mussels in a haunting ras el hanout–scented broth, with thickly cut, toasted bread ready for sopping duty. The wine list is short but smart, with by-the-glass offerings from Greece, Italy, Africa and Washington state, of course. There’s room for improvement, but I still have a crush on the place. Lunch and dinner daily, brunch weekends. Wallingford, 2501 N Northlake Way; 206.552.8215; westwardseattle.com 

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