Food: Urbane Restaurant and Bar
Finding an interesting and original place to eat in the heart of the Seattle’s downtown shopping proves difficult for us. There is an overwhelming amount of sub par Thai, chain steak houses, sushi, or burger joint options, most of which are overpriced and unsatisfying. This explains why we watched with heightened anticipation the final construction touches on the Olive 8 Hyatt hotel/condo living with Urbane Restaurant and Bar. As we would walk by and peer through the large glass windows our excitement increased. We regularly attend the MET opera Live in HD at AMC Pacific Place 11 for the encore performances during a week night and need a quick dinner prior to 6:30 or 7 PM show. After exhausting our efforts on Capitol Hill restaurant locations we visited Urbane prior to the MET’s Les contes d’Hoffmann performance. Visually, the restaurant is extremely pleasing with sharp clean lines, contemporary serving ware, and a spacious seating area. On first glance the happy hour menu and dinner menu looked creative, satiating, and very affordable. A large pint of micro-draft beer at $3 is the best value. We ordered a couple items on the happy hour menu and one second course plating from the dinner menu.
The Mac’ n cheese with beecher’s cheese curds ($3) used standard elbow macaroni cooked with a nice al dente bite. However, the sauce lacked the creamy rich texture usually expected with this home-style dish. The cheese did not stick to the macaroni, but fell flat in the thin bland milk sauce. The happy hour price was the only promising aspect of this selection. Another dish off the happy hour menu, Zoe prosciutto grilled flatbread topped with tomato sauce and beecher’s curds ($8) held more substance. The crispy crust held the salty meat, curds, and slightly sweet tomato sauce. This was a pleasant appetizer. On to the main course, split because we had a 3 hour opera to watch: duck confit with waffle ($24). Conceptually, this dish won out over several other suggestively tasty options. At first glance, the dish should have been balanced with fatty duck leg, rich wine braised tomatoes and mushrooms and the sweet syrupy waffle. At the base of the dish, the waffle would be critical for soaking up the maple syrup and wine sauce. The waffle failed in every respect, except perhaps visually. When biting into a waffle one expects a crunchy outside and soft interior. Urbane’s waffle was soft and mushy. In making a waffle with rich taste and texture, the waffle batter is key. Urbane’s needs work. After one bite without the syrup and sauce and one with both and some duck, I ignored it completely and settled on the other aspects of the dish. The duck leg held crispy skin and soft flavorful moist meat. The tomatoes and mushrooms added density to an otherwise lacking dish.
Even with a 33% success rate for the evening, we will return partly because there is a limited selection of restaurants in the area, but also because of the affordable menu, and we’ve heard others who enjoyed the food on their visits. The culinary team has a creative menu and sources from a few local favorites of ours. We welcome any restaurant recommendations in a 3 block radius of AMC Pacific Place 11. Has anyone else been to Urbane? And by the way, Les Contes De Hoffman was fantastic!
2-4-2010 | We went back to Urbane a second time before heading out to see the MET HD Carmen performance. This time we had the Wagyu Sliders, Seared Albacore with Fennel Confit, a bowl of Tomato bisque, and a bowl of the French Onion soup. We were about to sit in the performance for 3+ hours so we decided it was best to avoid one of the large courses. We both agreed that the seared albacore dish with the fennel confit was the highlight, although the other items we ordered were quite satisfying and well prepared. The sliders came with housemade ketchup and a tangy yet slightly sweet aoli spread. The buns were well buttered and toasted. The Alabore had a slightly spiced well seasoned crust, and the warm fennel confit underneath complimented tuna flavor well. All in all on a second visit, Urbane presented some quite solid and freshly prepared food, and the happy hour prices are quite reasonable for downtown grub.
1635 8th Avenue
Seattle, WA 98101