As it turned out I had dinner at Crow A fitting selection for Friday the 13th (crows figure prominently in superstition).
Here is my take on Crow based on the five stages of dining: anticipation, trepidation, inspection, satisfaction and evaluation.
There was not much in the way of anticipation. The early-evening reservation was made mid-afternoon so there was not enough time to get ramped up. That said, I have been hearing about Crow for a while (a mixed bag of reviews) so I was very curious. The word on Crow is that the owners (formerly of Stumbling Goat of which I was not a fan) want it to be a neighborhood place for Queen Anne residents. As such, the menu rotates, the prices are reasonable ($7ish for salads and aps; $17ish for entrées; $6ish for desserts) and the room and amenities are casual, but sophisticated.
While my companion, KK, parked the car, I stepped in to check-in for dinner. The hostess station was unmanned, so I stood there, awkwardly, not knowing what to do: Enter trepidation (Will this be a good night? What will the food be like? Will the service serviceable? Will it be worth it? Hello?) Eventually (a minute or so) a waiter came over and greeted me, followed by the hostess with a phone up to her ear. No word, no eye contact. The waiter checked for our reservation, selected menus/wine list and lead me to a two-top. He thoughtfully asked if the table was to my satisfaction. It was. But doing double duty (waiting tables and seating guests) he had to leave me before he could offer to take me coat. I reapproached the hostess station where a coat rack was tucked. By now KK had parked and arrived. Again, no one. The bartender leaned over to give me some direction about what we should do with our coats. The same waiter lead us back to our table and gave us the 411 on specials-soup of the day was Pozole with pork and chicken. Fish of the day was seared yellow-fin tuna over a salad of frisee, pickled onions and Nicoise olives.
As we sat down the inspection began. The (perhaps) purposefully unfinished artsy-industrial room was sparsely populated: a couple at the bar, a deuce two tables south and a small party in the other room (created by a partition of some sort). As she was facing the dining room, KK noticed the lighting: drop pinspots over the tables, parchment-shades in the bar that looked like they came out of a cathedral and crystal chandeliers in the PDR did not visually leads us from room with room without feeling like we had gone over s small speed bump. However, the red neon outside casts a warm glow into the dining room. WIth high ceilings and nearly floor to ceiling glass store-front, I was concerned about acoustics, but ambient noise never seemed intrusive even as we were wrapping up three hours later and the place was bustling.
After warmly greeting us, the first question off our waiters lips was, "Do you have a tickets for a performance this evening?" The answer was no. We were dining and in no hurry. I ordered their signature Sidecar (my litmus test for bartenders) and KK ordered soda water. Upon his return I placed our dinner orders: fish special with a side order of green beans for me and pozole followed by pear-walnut salad and the mashed potato cake for KK. Comfortably tucked in now, we settled back and enjoyed our conversation.
Early on, the kitchen timing was solid. First came KKs pozole (traditional soup from Jalisco, Mexico). With tender meat and just the right amount of fat to make it silky in the mouth, it was just delicious with a fresh cilantro and a squeeze of fresh lime (which perhaps would have been better served on the side so diners don't have to fish it out of the broth). Not long after came our entrées. I did not taste the the pear-walnut salad, but it seemed like a hit from what I could tell. Falling under the heading Gilding the Lily, the buttery mashed potato cake was curiously mounded and topped with toasted breadcrumbs. My yellow fin tuna was perfectly seared (pink inside) and I loved the salad (although not a huge fan of pickled foods), but I wondered, as you might, about the green beans. First chance I got I inquired after them: "Oh, that's right, you did order beans." Yes, I did.
The green beans were brought to table (soft, but not at all overdone) and at that point I ordered a glass of white wine and KK asked for another soda. Back story: one of my problems with Stumbling Goat was stemware. I don't mind drinking wine out of a juice glass, but not when it is an expensive bottle. Happily at Crow the stemware is commensurate with the offering on the thoughtful wine list. But while I was pleased to sip my wine (can't remember what I ordered) from a beautiful wine glass KK waited for her soda.
Dinner plates were cleared and it was time to consider dessert and coffee. We tried the creme brulee and the chocolate cake (which found its way home to my husband). What I really wanted was a glass of red wine and more time to linger at the table (despite evidence to the contrary it was only 7:30 at this point), so I ordered the Chinook Cab-Franc and we kept our seats.
Evaluation time. In spite of a three missteps--a hostess who was MIA and two dropped orders--the overall experience was good. I credit well-conceived and well-executed recipes, a personable server, a well-priced menu and thoughtful wine list. In this case, I was happy to eat crow.
BTW: To "eat crow" means to suffer humiliation and specifically to be forced to admit to having made an error.