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GSS: Frontier Room; Bada Lounge; Belltown Bistro


Yesterday was Cinco de Mayo but we chose to avoid the crowds and check out a few more Great Seattle Shake participants.  We decided to hit Belltown where three of the places are within two blocks.  I have to say that it actually would have been a perfect night to do the Cinco de Mayo thing, though.  The temperature stayed in the upper 60s, so Tia Lou’s deck was jammed, as was the sidewalk in front of Mama’s Mexican Kitchen and people were spilling out the door of Torero’s.  As for our GSS quest, we are doing pretty well!  Yesterday was Day 5 of the event and we have now visited six places! 

We started at the Frontier Room.  Now, although I occasionally frequent the Frontier room, it’s defintely not at the top of my list.  Most nights the crowd gets a bit too, well, sloppy, I guess is a good way to put it.  However, they actually do have pretty decent food, something that sometimes gets overlooked in the crush in the backroom.  So we arrived at 7:00 to give us time to enjoy our drink and appetizer and yet be out before too many of the regulars started coming in. 

R ordered the Strawberry Lemondrop, made with Stoli Strawberry, as opposed to actual strawberries.  I ordered a Vodka Martini with a twist and we chose Chicken Wings as our appetizer. R’s Strawberry Lemondrop was a bit on the sweet side, although it still had some of the Lemondrop twang.  The twist in my martini was perfectly executed and it was a basic martini.  Decent.  But the wings, the wings were perfection!

Our serving dish was filled with seven large drumettes, crispy and spicy, hot off the grill, surrounded by stacks of fresh carrots, celery and last, but not least, a large dish of real blue cheese dressing.  These were really excellent wings.  We happily dove in and could do so without worry since our table setting included a napkin that was actually a hand towel!  Plenty of room to clean wing residue from your hands and face.  :-)

The next stop on our agenda was Bada Lounge.  When Bada first opened I’d go in now and then but hadn’t been there for a year or more so I was looking forward to trying it out again.  This is another place that I remember being surprised that the food was pretty good. 

Now before I get into the food and drink information, I want to take a minute to say that the bartender here was really great at looking out for the customer’s interest.  Thursday is also Ladies’ night at the Bada and they run specials associated with that.  As we were placing our order he was giving us suggestions on how to get the most bang for our buck and he was great at marketing the place, too – giving us all kinds of information about happy hour and other deals that were available.  Now back to the program…  

R ordered an El Diablo, basically a variation on a Margarita served over rocks.  I ordered the Keylime, a concoction of vanilla vodka, lime juice, simple syrup, and pineapple juice.  R especially liked how the ginger ale in her drink made it fizzy.  I was amazed at how much my drink actually tasted like key lime pie – I mean I could even taste the crust, thanks to the vanilla vodka! 

We ordered the Grilled Shrimp for our appetizer.  The shrimp was yummy, although I didn’t think the sauces really complemented the shrimp.  The cucumber salad was a nice touch and added a refreshing element.  With that we were off to our third and final stop. 

As you may remember, I recently visited the Belltown Bistro (one of the BluWater locations) and thought it was okay but wasn’t overly impressed.  So you might wonder why I went back so soon.  One, I’m a sucker for a "deal" and two one of the things I really liked were their little "sliders" (mini-hamburgers) and since they were on the GSS menu I was in!

We arrived at the Belltown Bistro just about 9:00 and I was a little surprised to see how packed the dining room was.  I guess other people are liking the place more than I do! :-)  I understand the draw and I will come back, it’s just that I don’t feel they are bringing anything unique to the area.  Anyway, R and I squeezed in at the bar – I didn’t notice this last time, but the bar has weird angles so in some places even though there are two seats, your space sort of overlaps – odd.

We took a look at the menu and I was immediately disappointed – sliders weren’t on the menu!  How could that be???  This was the only place, so far, that we’ve visited that had an actual menu different than what’s on the online site.  They also had one additional drink on the real menu.  It’s not that big of a deal, except that I had really been craving those baby burgers.  The bartender apologized when we asked about it – he wasn’t aware there was a discrepancy – and again as we left.  So we appreciated that. 

Oh well, I thought the Guava Cooler sounded interesting and asked the bartender if it was sweet and he told me it wasn’t so that’s what I ordered.  R ordered a Fresca, the drink that had been added to the menu.  It was basically, citrus juice and grapefruit vodka.  Our drinks arrived and mine was pretty sweet – not sure what that bartender was thinking.  R’s was pretty good and mine was passable and now, in the course of 5 minutes, I’ve suffered two disappointments here! :-)  But I did survive. 

They have one appetizer that changes weekly and last night it was a yummy sounding spring roll but we decided to go with the Chicken Satay.  The chicken was excellent and with all we’d had earlier in the night we couldn’t quite finish it. 

With last night’s experience my feelings remain the same.  The place is fine and there are some real nice things about it – for instance the booths offer more privacy than many of the Belltown places have.  I’m sure I’ll be back but nothing really draws me. 

Other GSS entries: 

Bada Lounge
2230 First Avenue
206 374 8717

The Frontier Room
2203 First Ave. at Blanchard
(206) 956-RIBS


BellTown Bistro
2322 First Ave.


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