In a quiet area just off Denny and the corner of 5th, sits Tilikum Place Cafe. With a shortage of restaurants near the Seattle Center, it is a worth a visit, especially if you are in the area for a performance. We look forward to visiting during the regular Seattle Opera season, but we stopped by for an early dinner during the 2nd week of the Seattle’s Wagner Ring Cycle. It is one of the few places we know you can actually sit down to eat at 4 pm (Operas during the Ring start at 6).
With a group of 6 we tried a wide variety of dishes and specials. To start off with cocktails, Michael had the Maritime IPA and I had a cocktail of vodka, peach bitters, and sage. Both drinks provided a refreshing start for the hot evening. The starter dish we ordered was a grilled quail, blueberries, greens, almond corn cake with a little chili oil. The grilled quail was cooked perfectly, moist inside-crispy outside, coupled with the sharpness of the tart blueberries and the bitterness of the greens it made for an immediate delight. The dish was actually served as an entree the evening before, but we grabbed it to split since there was only one order left. Our next course consisted of the Spanish white anchovies with beet caviar, pickled shallots and a little frisee and a side of baked beans. I know, why the baked beans, well we feel that these “standard” beans can make or break a restaurant. Tilikum’s baked beans definitively made the cut. A great portion of beans, maple sugar sweet, and chunks of salty pork. I could have licked the bowl, but I held out. The Spanish anchovies were fresh and salty with beet and picked shallots. The beets could have been prepared a little different, because they didn’t provide enough contrast to the shallots and anchovies.
Our main dishes consisted of the Moroccan chicken with white bean and mint soup and the housemade pork terrine with cherry moustarda and cincinnati radishes. Even on a warm summer evening the soup was an amazing blend of rich chicken broth, chicken pieces, vegetables, and spicy flavors-probably cayenne. It makes me look forward to the fall. The pork terrine had solid pieces of shredded pork that easily spread onto baguette slices. The radishes created the crunchy texture contrast with the silkiness of the terrine. Other members of our party had the savory tart with goat cheese and summer squash and the pan seared chicken with toasted dumpling and vegetables. There were mixed reviews of the savory tart because there was too much pastry and little of the filling. While some dishes were a huge hit, others were still pretty good, regardless we hope that Tilikum Place Cafe is here to stay, as we are in dire need of solid restaurant choices for Opera or theatre nights in the Seattle Center area.
407 Cedar Street
Seattle, WA 98121