With the Food Girl out tearing up the slopes in Tahoe, leaving some other poor suckers in the dust, I decided I would take the opportunity to do some more exploring of the neighborhood restaurants. About a month ago I wrote about the Ridgeback Cafe; a new restaurant specializing in sweet and savory crepes that opened along my usual running route in the Ballard/Greenwood area. Interestingly enough, along the exact same route, a second restaurant opened; The Blue Glass, which opened in the space formerly occupied by the Tiger Tail (a place I had considered going to but had never made the effort). So I figured tonight was a good night to check it out.
The Blue Glass is a simple place. You walk in through a heavy curtain and are greeted by a smallish room. There is a bar directly in front of you that wraps around to the right wall. Booths and tables encompass the perimeter of the restaurants, and there as some high tables that take up the remaining floor space in the middle. The decor is dark walls, dark wood tables and bar, and low lights. But the entire thing has a very comfortable feel, almost cozy actually.
I took my seat against the wall on the left, wanting a table big enough for me to pull out my computer (fortunately it was only about 3/4 full so I didn’t feel too bad taking up a 4-person spot by myself). And, as luck would have it, I was close enough to the Dray next door to be able to access their WiFi network. I started by ordering a local microbrew (Port Townsend Amber to be exact), and took a look at the menu. It was apparent that the “comfort” didn’t just stop at the decor. The simple, one page (technically a half page) menu was full of seasonal comfort food presented with a little bit of an update or a twist. Instead of just hush puppies, it’s crab hush puppies. The burger is a poblano burger. And there are things like mole chicken and grilled prawns with a pomegranate-habanero gastrique. But what got me was two culprits that I am such a sucker for on any menu; French onion soup and pork belly (in this case a porchetta sandwich featuring pork belly and pork loin, pickled fennel and jus).
French onion soup is one of those things that I order constantly as I’m just looking for a great version of it. When this one came out (and I got my mandatory French onion soup warning that the top is hot), I was excited. It had a nice cheese crust that was lightly browned in places. When I stuck my spoon in, I was happy to see that it wasn’t like an inch thick hunk of cheese, but just enough to accentuate the soup. In my first bite I got mostly broth and crouton with the cheese which was good. It wasn’t until the second bite that I got a spoonful of onion. They were very good; perfectly cooked and slightly sweet. The broth was nice too, almost creamy, but not overwhelming or heavy. As a whole, it was a good soup, one of the better that I’ve had recently. Though I would have liked just a hit more pepper, and actually a bit more onion as it was just a touch subtle for what I want in my French onion soup. But all in all, a great way to start the meal.
As for the sandwich, it came out before I had completely polished off the soup. It was presented open-faced with an absolute mountain of shoestring fries. I closed the sandwich and picked it up, feeling the jus completely soaking the bottom half of the bread, and took a bite. In that first bite, the majority of what I got was bread, which isn’t terrible give that it is a Tall Grass Bakery baguette (probably number three behind Macrina Bakery and Bakery Nouveau for bread in Seattle). It’s a flavorful baguette, one that could handle being drenched in jus without falling apart. But I was almost disappointed as I wanted the sandwich to be good. Two bites later, it was fantastic as I got a bite full of pork and fennel, bread and jus. The pork was so tender and so juicy that it was almost melt in your mouth good. And the pickled fennel was wonderful; slighly sweet, slightly acidic, offering a much needed contrast to the richness of the pork, and a textural crunch that totally brought everything together. Just a very good sandwich that would have been fantastic with a bit more meat. Oh, and I can’t forget the fries. Just a very good crisp fry, not overdone, served with a housemade ketchup that was a little sweet, but very good as well. Though my favorites were the jus soaked fries.
I think that in the end, The Blue Glass delivered a great experience for a pretty reasonable cost ($30 for soup, sandwich and two beers). It’s a nice little neighborhood restaurant that served good food. Food that was simple, but taken up a notch from what you would expect from a neighborhood watering hole. Food good enough that I fully intend on going back and taking the Food Girl with me. I also think it’s exactly the type of place to take our parents when in town to get quality food in a nice laid back atmosphere. And it really brings that stretch of 65th up another notch.