September 16, 2008

West Seattle Bohemians

Tapenades%2C%20cheese%20at%20Bohemian.JPG Bohemain%20w%20Prost.JPG Raclette%20at%20Bohemian.JPG

Travelers, take note. West Seattle, an isolated neighborhood separated from Seattle by the Duwamish River, is actually home to some 60,000 people--twice as many inhabitants as Walla Walla. You get there by crossing Harbor Island, and once you're there, not 15 minutes from downtown Seattle, you'll find it has just about everything: a scrappy neighborhood blog, a crappy official website, a midsummer festival, a community newspaper, a farmers market, a twin-screen movie theater, several attractive parks and popular beaches, and a growing number of restaurants (over 150, by one count, including three sushi parlors and a couple of wine bars).

The newest spot finally opened last night, some six months behind schedule. It's called Bohemian, a venture by two brothers, Jason (chef) and Eirk (bar) Rice (along with their mom, Teri). They'll open at 7 for coffee, switch to happy hour from 3:30 to 6, dinner until 10, late-night until 2 on weekends, plus brunch on Sunday.

First martinis ($6) include a "classic" with Plymouth gin with three olives. The lucid elixir ($10) is flavored with Canada's Lucid absinthe, 62 percent alcohol, tastes like licorice. Among the happy hour snacks: a garlicky black olive tapenade paired with a white bean purée ($8) and a sampler of cured meats and artisan cheeses ($16 for a large platter).

One of Bohemian's specialties will be raclette, an alpine mountain dish of melted and scraped cheese. Click here to read Cornichon's post about raclette, "Back when cows were cows and men were men....") Bohemian's raclette is an upside-down version. The cornichons, capers and potatoes are cut up, placed in the bottom of a cast-iron pan, covered with raclette (and gruyère) and broiled. A small portion is $10, a large, $18. A bit fussy, if you ask me.

Dinner choices are more traditional: beef tenderloin, lamb "lollie chops", meat balls, scallops or a vegetarian cassoulet. All available in single-serving or share-platter size, however, so mixing and matching should be easy. Bohemian's décor, in a small, free-standing building, is one part Black Bottle hand-crafted minimalism, one part Pink Door over-the-top artsy. The Rice brothers have planned a full schedule of live music as well. Their intention, as they wrote to the editors of the West Seattle blog:

In the evening we will be creating our own eclectic, globally influenced fare with ingredients, techniques, and flavors from many bohemian cultures around the world; as well, our own versions of Americana comfort foods with a twist.
And if you're in the mood for even more central European Gemütlichkeit, Chris Navarro (of Prost, Feierabend and BierStube) is opening a second Prost next door to Bohemian by the end of the year.

Add to the mix the French-Italian Beàto a few blocks north, east-facing Salty's and west-facing La Rustica down on the water, and you'll be able to fit in as many exotic meals in West Seattle as could in a weekend journey to Walla Walla, and you won't need to spend $100 on gas to get there, either.

Bohemian, 3405 California Ave. S.W., 206-938-2646 ("BOHO") Bohemian on Urbanspoon

Posted by Ronald Holden at September 16, 2008 8:38 AM | TrackBack

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