Keep this a secret

March 1st, 2008 by Dawn

I’ve been sitting on this blog posting for a while now – longer than this blog has even existed.  This was the topic of conversation with Sam when the idea for this blog came about.  But I’ve been delaying posting about it because I really don’t want people other than my friends to know about it.  I decided that, well, this blog is so new that really, only my friends are reading this anyway.  And by the time anyone else finds our blog, I’m sure the cat will be out of the bag already.

My secret is about brunch at Sitka and Spruce on Eastlake.  I have been obsessing about this for months now, since we first discovered that they started serving brunch.  Some of you may be aware of this restaurant, since they are, in my opinion, one of the best restaurants in Seattle.  Chef-owner Matt Dillon opened this place in 2006, and cooks with the seasons, using local ingredients, and creates outstanding dishes.  The restaurant is tiny, however, and they are now hugely popular, plus they don’t take reservations, so the wait for a seat at dinner has basically kept us from going here very frequently.  Sadly.

When they started serving weekend brunch, we knew we had to try it.  And we found it to be a completely different experience than dinner.  Brunch is totally laid back.  This morning, a mother was reading her pre-toddler a book; other mornings, there’s usually at least one person reading the paper.  And oddly (given the crowds of people at dinnertime), we found only half the tables occupied, so it’s pretty quiet.  The perfect way to wake up and settle into the day.  This is why the secrecy :), as I am certain these quiet mornings will be short-lived.  Especially since Sundays have started to get busy, and when we tried to go with Sam and his wife, it turned out to be a 45 minute wait so we headed to Smith instead.  I recommend either getting there right when they open at 10 (when you’ll find us there sometimes), or going on a Saturday.

You’re probably wondering, what’s so great about their brunch?  You can get good eggs, pancakes, etc. all around Seattle, right?  That’s the thing… this isn’t a traditional brunch.  Here’s how it works.  They have one fixed price for brunch, $17.  This gets you as much as you’d like from the small buffet, and a choice of one of two ever-changing items on the chalkboard.  This morning, I had a goat cheese blintz with a tiny salad and a fried egg.  Eric had one of the most traditional options I’ve seen there: a pile of (the best tasting) sauteed mushrooms on toast, with scrambled eggs on top.  In past, we’ve enjoyed skillet cakes (an eggy pancake baked and served in a small skillet), and pork belly served with sauteed greens and a poached egg.  Apparently, we missed out a couple weeks ago on the Southern fried chicken with waffles.  Eric is really hoping they bring this back again.

Poached egg with braised celery and smoked pancetta

But then there’s the buffet.  It’s a small spread of cold items, all made in house using well-sourced ingredients.  There are usually three or four salads, like potato-chicken salad, or chickpeas with octopus, or fennel and beets.  Next to that is their homemade yogurt that they make each Friday.  Drizzle on some honey, or sprinkle in some walnuts.  My favorite yogurt add-in is the candied squash with lemon peel.  Try that on the rustic bread, too, or have the bread with their chicken liver pate.  Then you might find a plate of simply-sliced oranges.  Sometimes while you’re eating, a plate of something hot might show up on the counter, like potato latkes (served during Hanukkah last year), or crepes.

As if that’s not enough, the brunch hostess is none other than Bronwen Serna, the 2004 U.S. Barista Champion.  We think that she makes some of the best espresso drinks in Seattle.  But she wasn’t there this morning.  Turns out, she’s in South Africa for the next several weeks, so you may have to wait a while to see what we mean.

Sitka & Spruce
2238 Eastlake Ave. E, Seattle
(206) 324-0662
Brunch served Saturdays and Sundays, 10-2

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