I suppose that I’m predisposed to think happy thoughts about Matt’s in the Market because I went to high school with their Executive Chef, Chester Gerl, but actually I fell deeply in food like with the place before I ever knew the connection.
My initial introduction to this Pike Place Market gem was by my good pal, and I was glad to be with her that first time because she lent me previous diner street cred. She had loved Matt’s from way back, from when it was less than half the size it is now. I’m a relative newcomer but I confess I like that it’s a tiny bit easier to get a seat here than it was in its smaller incarnation, or so I’ve been told.
This friend and I come whenever we can manage it, and generally opt for the bar. I was sorry to see that they had taken out the counter and stools from around the open kitchen, though; maybe the chefs got tired of all of us staring longingly at the food from such near proximity.
I started out a recent Friday evening with a Vesper, a drink with which I plan to become more familiar. (I’m told that I need to check out the versions at Sambar and Oliver’s Twist, and I am on it.) The bartender at Matt’s is one of my favorites in town. Not only does he mix a mean Bombay Sapphire martini and Vesper, he never gives me the famous bartender sniff if I order a drink that’s slightly less high brow, or don’t know so much about the wine he’s recommending.
Dinner was a beautifully done lamb loin, slightly pink and appropriately juicy, with a delicious spinach accompaniment. Along with the lamb and spinach came my favorite part of this meal, farro with black trumpet mushrooms, fabulous for the heartiness of the farro and the silkiness of the mushrooms. We capped off dinner with perfection in dessert form: rhubarb shortcake with lightly sugared biscuits and a dollop of whipped mascarpone. Utterly delicious, from Vesper start to shortcake finish.
[Photo courtesy of Seattle Bon Vivant]