First Look: Spur
Seattle’s newest gastropub, Spur, has been open just about a month now. Located in the space previously occupied by Mistral, the updated interior serves up a variety of seating options with something for everyone. There are several seats along the bar; a couple of long, tall tables perfect for groups or for communal dining; and a little section of more traditional four-tops. Everything is wood with a rough-hewn look, if not texture, but I guess you might expect that in place called Spur. While very handsome and comfortable on a warm Seattle evening, I think this space will be super cozy and inviting as we head into the rainy months. But let’s not get there, yet!
The specialty drink menu is enticing and interesting with many of the ingredients created in-house. R started with the Sur le Sol, a beautiful concoction including vodka, St Germain, lavender and more. It was maybe a tiny bit sweeter than she would have preferred but the overall flavor was nice.
I had an Empress made with rum, St Germain and grapefruit, topped with a gorgeous grapefruit and orange foam. Loved it! Along with our cocktails a little jar of house-made corn nuts arrived. They were crispy, salty and fried – the perfect item to nibble on with a cocktail.
We started our meal with the Summer Vegetable Salad, a colorful mix of summer squash, carrots, tomato and nasturtium with buttons of corn panna cotta placed carefully around the plate. The panna cotta can be eaten as a little softly exploding bite or popped on the plate and mixed into the dressing. I tried to do one as a bite but alas was unsuccessful as it popped midway between plate and mouth.
Next, after much debate – so many items on the menu sound very good, we settled on the skirt steak. The skirt steak was grilled exactly to our medium-rare specification and was delicious! Succulent and a bit smoky, it melted in your mouth. The shallot jam that accompanied was also very good – I could have eaten it by the spoonful. Neither of us were thrilled with the fried mashed potatoes that were also on the plate. The interior of the patty was almost paste-like in it’s smoothness. There was really no texture at all and the frying seemed to have been done just because. No real reason except, I guess, to make the potatoes different. They actually tasted good but the texture left me wanting. To their credit when we gave this feedback to the hostess she reported back to the kitchen so the chefs could check it out and make adjustments, if needed. It was a warm night and the potatoes are loaded with butter so perhaps that was the issue.
Somewhere in there we switched out our cocktails for a couple glasses of wine. The by-the-glass menu is short but seems to cover most bases. I was surprised though that there was not one single local red wine by the glass. For a restaurant that is professing a love for local and sustainable ingredients on the food menu, this seems like an oversight.
We finished our meal with a cheese plate comprised of three Estrella Family Creamery cheeses and some accompanying garnishes. The crackers were great; you probably already know that I love Estrella cheese; and the accompaniments were… interesting. Not interesting bad, really just a bit too precious in their tiny-ness. And this was especially obvious because the wedges of cheese were quite nicely sized so all the additional garnishes ran out long before the cheese. Especially disappointing were the "peach balls". The menu indicated there were peaches on the platter and at this time of year with fragrant, sweet, ripe, juice-running down-your-chin peaches in abundance, our mouths were set to enjoy some of that goodness. Instead our platter arrived with six of the smallest, cutest little peach balls. Probably only about 1/2" in diameter the six of them together barely made a bite. The other items on the plate followed suit in their petite-ness but it was the peaches that were particularly disappointing.
Prices are not unreasonable but it does seem like some of the cost might be due to the labor needed to create all those teeny-tiny little garnishes. Having said all that, I do look forward to returning as the flavors are very good and the menu items were creative. I may just spend a little more time clarifying with my server exactly what it is I will or will not be getting when I order.
113 Blanchard St.