The Pink Door

1919 Post Alley. Seattle, WA 98101(206) 443-3241thepinkdoor.net

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Located in a pseudo alley and marked with very little signage, save the actual color of the door (which is obviously pink), the place makes you feel like you are entering a sex dungeon. Especially as you head down the stairs into an intimately lit, high-ceiling dining space adorned with various types of trapeze equipment hanging above the tables. Apparently there is a correlation between colored doors and hedonistic things lying behind them. The Green Door, for those old enough to remember, had porn behind it and The Pink Door has, well… burlesque trapeze (pictured). Which is naturally the first thing you think of when you think Italian cuisine. The Italians being well known for their burlesque- oh, wait… Sorry, that’s the French. But trapeze- okay, also French. So I’m not exactly sure why the European mash-up, but I have to say I dug the vibe.

I also dug the fact that as a walk-in, they didn’t screw me with a table by the wait station. Quite the contrary, they gave me the best table in the restaurant, outside on the patio, in a corner, offset from everyone else, with an amazing view of the water and Mt. Rainier.

Another pleasant surprise was the 2013 Va Piano Sauvignon Blanc by the glass from Wala Wala, Washington. Not only was it one of the best Sauvignon Blancs I’ve ever had, it was one of the best whites I’ve ever had offered by the glass. And let’s be honest, there’s a third plus as well… it’s just fun to say Wala Wala, Washington.

Unfortunately, the food didn’t hold up to the preamble. The asparagus, while decent, gained nothing from the crispy prosciutto and hard boiled egg crumble, because both are served in such minimal proportion that I didn’t even get the point.

They made up for it though, with a salmon special that was very good. Served over a cauliflower and fennel puree, with broccolini, morels and roasted grape tomatoes. Not very Italian, but I think that ship kinda sailed. And at least it was healthy, clean cookin.’

But easy come easy go, because after making it up to me on the entrée, they royally shat the bed on dessert. The oatmeal crisp was so atrocious there was nothing crisp about it, soggy like a bowl of cereal sitting in milk for over an hour. Quite possibly the worst I’ve ever had.

And while I would love to stay mad at The Pink Door for wasting my money on that dessert, I have to give it up to them for the free dinner theater, bizarre as it might be. Starting with an Elvira-looking vamp, decked out in black chiffon, traipsing through the restaurant like she was Lady Godiva or something. Then, right their in the middle of the restaurant, she climbs aboard one of the trapeze swings hanging from the ceiling and proceeds to writhe on this thing like Josephine Baker while people attempt to still eat their meals beneath her. Not since Señor Tango in Buenos Aires have I ever had a dining experience like this. And for that, I have to commend The Pink Door. Thank you for making me feel like I was on another planet. A distinction not many restaurants can achieve. Which is probably a good thing.

3 teeth

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Bohemian

57 Great Jones St. New York, NY 10012 •  playearth.jp

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Similar to RAO’s, Bohemian enjoys a frustrating, yet cool exclusivity. You can’t just make a reservation. First you need to have already been here. But how is that possible? It’s like the chicken and egg quandary.

Simply put, you have to be invited by someone who was once invited themselves. So, now the big question is whether or not it’s worth all of the cavorting to get in.

Maybe. If you get off on feeling special and in the know, Bohemian easily checks that box as you walk down its long, nondescript hallway, past the butcher shop that faces the street, only to arrive upon a frosted glass door with a buzzer on it. You ring it and wait. Then, someone answers and asks if you have a reservation, and only after confirming the name will they buzz you in. It’s like the restaurant version of an underground sex dungeon. Not that I would know anything about that, but now I’m probably going to have quite the time convincing the wife of that.

Unfortunately, if you are going for the food, it doesn’t quite live up to expectations. Especially when you compare it to other elusive Asian-American fusion hotspots like Momofuku Ko or Pearl & Ash.

We started with the array of garden vegetables and fondue, served in a purposefully rustic bucket of ice next to a flaming ramekin of fondue. It seemed reminiscent of the way a meal starts at Blue Hill at Stone Barns, only Blue Hill actually manages to pull it off. These veggies were nothing of the sort. Quite tasteless actually. Thankfully the fondue resuscitated them as they were in desperate need of the due.

The oysters were good, but raw oysters are more a dimension of sourcing than they are culinary cred.

The “mini” burgers (pictured), while not all that mini were perfectly cooked and among the highs. But not anywhere near an Ultimate.

Another strong player was the bacon served with a gigantic honey, raisin crostini, which was key. Because once you put that salty bacon on that sweet crostini you know happiness is the truth.

And last but not least, the branzino. Probably the best thing of the night, but specifically VERY familiar to me as it is prepared in an extremely similar manner as a Jamie Oliver recipe that we make at home all the time, which I love. It’s baked with a medley of vegetables and in Bohemian’s case, with roasted garlic as well. It’s very good, but because I have it all the time at home, it was hard for me to get too excited about it.

I wish I had more jubilant praise to report, but when you are pulling in 4.5 knives on Yelp and closing your door to the masses, I think you have to be held to a higher standard. And currently, that standard is too high for Bohemian.

3 teeth