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West 5

12-Jul-2005
After not properly doing my "homework" for Dine & Dish Freshman edition, R and I ended up at West 5.  This was my second trip to the funky little place that opened 3 or 4 years ago.  Located at The Junction in West Seattle, it was one of the first establishments to start the renewal of California Ave.
 
Although it was a bit gray outside, entering West 5 it takes a minute to adjust your eyes to the dimly lit interior.  Once adjusted you’ll see a very long bar, lots of 2 or 3 person tables along the wall, also at bar height a couple of tables and booths in the front and several more of each in the back.  At 5:00 pm on a Sunday evening the place is fairly empty – 4 or 5 people at the bar, a couple other groups at tables and one booth. 
 
 It’s Happy Hour at West 5 (everyday from 4:00 pm – 6:00 pm) which means all appetizers are $4 and there are a couple drink specials.  Even though it’s gray outside, it’s been humid so the Happy Hour Pimm’s Cup calls my name and R’s, too. Our drinks arrive and are topped with giant slices of cucumber!  I dipped my cuke in my drink and then munched it down.  It was crisp and fresh – everything a cucumber should be!  I already felt cooler and I hadn’t even sipped the drink yet!  The drinks were well crafted and tasty.  And for the $4 price tag, they were quite the deal!   
  
We studied the menu and decided to do our own version of Surf ‘n’ Turf.  We ordered Sirloin Steak Bits and Crab Cakes. As we were waiting for our order we suddenly smelled the most delicious fragrance – garlic on the grill! We knew it was the Sirloin Bits and so we were looking forward to what would soon appear at the table. 
 
 Both items were served at the same time.  The crab cakes looked beautiful!  But the Sirloin Bits were hot off the grill and so that’s where we both started. The first bit was a little disappointing.  They were tasty but sliced so thin that you barely knew what you had.  Our faces fell, just a bit, as we had had images of something closer to one of our favorite appetizers. Once you’ve had the Fillet Mignon Steak Bits at Daniel’s Broiler they become the standard.  But we were a little quick to judge… Accompanying our Steak Bits were slices of baguette and a creamy horseradish-aioli.  Add some of the aioli to the Steak Bits and you have a whole new experience!  The flavor of each brings out the best in the other!  Yum! 
 
Next we each took a crab cake and some of the underlying jalapeño-lime aioli. Although tasty, these just did not taste like crab.  There was quite a lot of filler and we surmised that they may have used canned crab?  Not sure but these just didn’t seem like crab cakes.  I actually liked the taste, once I got my idea of what they should taste like out of my mind.  And for the $4 price they were pretty good, but I’d say that you should just think of them as "Seafood" cakes – something unspecified that tastes of fish but you can’t quite put your finger on it. 
 
In general, the staff was friendly and helpful.  We did have a little issue with staff turnover and when our original server left (the most darling little older woman!) we didn’t seem to belong to anyone.  At one point, longing for another cocktail, I caught one of the server’s eye and her response was, "Check?" but once we clarified that we wanted another Pimm’s things went a little smoother.  My feeling is that it was a burp in the service not a gap. 
 
If you live in West Seattle or are out and about in the area, it’s certainly worth your time to stop by West 5 – especially at Happy Hour! 
 
West 5
4539 California Ave SW
West Seattle
206.935.1966
 
 
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