in all my years in seattle, i’d only been to etta’s once, and it was way back when my parents were dropping me off at college. i vaguely remember eating chowder and that’s about it.
since then, i’ve walked by a thousand times, to go to the gym, to go to world imports, to get to the waterfront.
when i do, i watch the building line at the door before they open. i stare into the enormous, side-walk level windows at what’s on people’s plates (salmon, crab cakes, big wedges of lettuce), and i laugh at the pink-umbrella following tour groups eating mini coconut creme pies and being told that it was tom douglas who “brought the crab cake to seattle” like they’re a new species of plant.
not long ago, however, my usual hangover craving hit me midmorning – all i wanted was a big burger. the lamb burger at matt’s is always a good way to go, but it was sunday. the steelhead diner had recently (and repeatedly) disappointed me and we were struggling for other options and so etta’s got its time to shine.
we had something in addition to the burger the first time we were there, but that burger (topped with white cheddar and bacon, infinitely juicy) dominates my memory. the accompanying green tomato jam didn’t hurt the situation, nor did the wonderfully salty and crisp fries.
i’ve been back a few times since, on afternoons when nothing but a burger will suffice, and tried additional dishes along the way. oysters (three types are always offered) are a good way to go. a yellow gazpacho with avocado salad – while reasonably tasty – was a bit odd in that it was almost all salad with a drizzle of gazpacho.
tom’s tasty albacore tuna sashimi salad was tasty. the tuna was perfectly fresh, and only subtly enhanced by sesame and pickled ginger. the green onion pancakes, light and flavorful, gave the dish some heft.
service is perfectly efficient, if not especially charming (i can’t say i would be either if i had to work lunch). it’s not a deal-breaker for me, but the glasses – water and wine alike – seem to have a chronic dirty-rim issue that i can’t help but notice.
i won’t go so far as to say i love etta’s as a restaurant, but i do love that burger.