At press time, we got word from Dan Bugge, owner of this brilliant Pike Place Market eatery, of his plans to open a brand-new whiskey bar, Radiator, in an adjacent space. Construction was set to begin early last month. The crackerjack crew at Matt’s is on fire, cranking out some of the best food in the city ever since a kitchen update in January—which included installing glass windows so diners can watch the chefs in action. A 2007 expansion created room to execute the lofty vision of executive chef Chester Gerl, who came to Matt’s that year after turns at Place Pigalle and Brasa, and, the results are brilliant. Take the in-house charcuterie program, which has managed to make headcheese cool, cobbling together those offal bits, dredging them in breadcrumbs and frying to a crispy finish ($17). Or try the vibrantly seasoned stable of sausages—the Alsatian-influenced Montbéliard and the rich and rustic boudin noir—in the seasonal cassoulet ($30).
The menu is an appetizer lover’s dream; small-plate standouts include Dungeness crab and scallop ceviche ($18), grilled octopus and pork belly confit ($16), along with a tenderloin carpaccio ($17). And while the kitchen is stepping up its game, the bar has, too, creating a barrel-aged cocktail program.
Lunch, dinner Mon.–Sat. Pike Place Market, 94 Pike St.; 206.467.7909; mattsinthemarket.com $$$