For years Matt’s in the Market has been a favorite place. And for years I’ve hardly ever gone there as the teeny-tiny space was always packed with other devotees and securing a seat was a real challenge. Although if you did manage to get in, a favorite pastime was marveling at how the chef could turn out such wonderful and amazing food using just a couple of countertop burners. Matt’s did not have an actual kitchen – at least not as we normally think of it.
Well, all that changed last year. Matt’s was able to acquire an adjacent space, doubling the size of the original restaurant. They put in a real kitchen. And a little bar. And they were able to increase the seating by adding tables and incorporating counter seating in an L around the open kitchen. Seating is still limited and it’s a bit of a challenge to get a table but if you are amendable to eating at the counter or at the bar you should have a fairly decent shot of walking in and finding a spot.
A couple of weeks ago M and I stopped in for dinner. The room was cozy and bustling. We sat at the bar and soon noticed some friends at one of the tables. We greeted them and then returned to our little spot to enjoy our meal and a little kibitzing with the friendly bartender.
M went with the Ivory King Salmon on Fresh Pea Risotto. I don’t know if you’ve ever had the opportunity to try ivory King but it is a beautiful, buttery fish. A little milder in taste than normal King it also feels like it has a little higher oil content, but I don’t know that for sure. One of the interesting things about this fish is that no one knows for sure why they have this ivory colored flesh. They are caught in runs with regular Kings and on the outside look identical. It’s only when they are opened for cleaning they can be identified. There is some theory that what they eat affects the color of the flesh but this is a very tenuous idea since they are always found in the midst of other Kings. Whatever the reason, we love them. It was served on a bed of risotto. The pea risotto was both fresh and warmly comforting at the same time. There is nothing better than perfectly prepared risotto.
I opted for halibut. It’s something I don’t often order when out since I often prepare it at home but this night it just seemed to be the perfect thing. I was so glad I ordered it. Perfectly cooked it sat atop garbanzos (also called chickpeas) flavored with Spanish chorizo. It seemed to be a very traditional dish, although I did feel the chorizo was a little strong for the delicate halibut. That did not keep me from eating every bit of it though.
Servings are generous but not overwhelming. We opted to only order entrees but they have a great selection of smaller appetizers, too.
If you’ve never been to Matt’s before it can be a tad bit challenging to find the first time. It has no street presence as it’s on the second floor of the Corner Market Building (kitty corner from Rachel, the pig). Another treasure located on the same floor is Chez Shea.
Matt’s in the Market
94 Pike St, Suite 32
1st and Pike
Pike Place Market