Like a shape-shifter with ADD, executive chef and Le Cordon Bleu Culinary Institute graduate Matt Colony's menu changes constantly, taking inspiration from legendary steakhouses while drawing from a rich array of local ingredients. Maxwell's most recent board of fare opened with delicacies such as smoked eggplant and white bean puree ($7), a selection of house-pickled vegetables ($5), and seared yellow fin ahi tuna ($14) with warm red-lentil puree. The curtain the raised on signature steaks of 16-ounce rib eye ($29), 7-ounce filet mignon ($30), and 10-ounce flat iron ($23)—all cooked to order and side-kicked with horseradish-infused whipped potatoes, sautéed vegetables, sherry mushroom sauce, and fried onion rings. If ordering the cider-brined pork chop ($19) has you worried that the pig's relatives will hunt you down and seek vengeance, Maxwell's features a slew of seafaring sea fare such as pan-seared weathervane scallops ($26), sautéed Alaskan halibut ($25), and Maxwell's chioppino ($25)—which hosts a pool party of steamed clams, mussels, shrimp, roasted sockeye salmon, and half grilled lobster tail in spicy fennel-tomato broth amid grilled sourdough bread. All dishes can find a leggy tango partner on Maxwell's wine list, but bring a back-up stomach for a decadent dessert of custard-soaked cinnamon-roll bread pudding ($7) or the crème brûlée of the day ($5).
Woody's owners Coy Wood and Thomas Johnson have partnered to bring new life to the Thea Foss Waterway, using much of the new life you'd find in the waterway itself. As such, they've created a sumptuous dinner menu with fresh seafood as its main attraction. Launch your stomach-yacht with some tipsy steamer clams in white wine and fresh herbs ($9) or a sampler platter of smoked salmon, crab cake, and coconut shrimp ($14) before sailing on to local favorites such as Provencal-crusted Alaskan halibut with a shiitake-mushroom cream reduction ($26) and fresh Canadian coho salmon char broiled with shallot garlic butter ($19). Landlubbers can keep it traditional with a Woody's 8-ounce top-sirloin steak in a brandy-mushroom-peppercorn demi-glace ($17) or light up their palate with cognac chicken supreme ($15). Bored diners, meanwhile, can build their own Alien face-hugger out of a steak and crab legs combination platter ($29). Woody's also offers a lighter but no less seaworthy lunch menu of salads, sandwiches, and pastas, plus a gluten-free menu that pairs well with a bottle of Bard's Tale gluten-free beer.
Set in Rosebud, a 19th-century mining town, Boom Town takes audiences 145 years back in time on a whimsical Old West adventure. World-class circus performers, including many drawn from the ranks of Cirque du Soleil, use mining equipment and other colorful props to execute a variety of stunts and maneuvers worthy of double, triple, and quadruple takes. The acrobatic action takes place within the fittingly historical walls of the venerable Pantages Theater, a former vaudeville venue and movie house. Before or after the show, head down the street to Pacific Grill, where chef/owner Gordon Naccarato oversees a menu rich in nautical delicacies such as weathervane scallops ($30) and turf-based tastes including grilled lamb T-bone chops ($32).
Piranha Joe's shelters hungry stomach-sailors in a relaxed atmosphere filled with the savory, salt-watered scents of grilled steaks and freshly-caught Northwestern seafood. Adventurous eaters can chart their course through the menu map starting with a plate of roasted alligator fritters ($8.95) or a crisp salad of mixed greens topped with savory blue cheese, sweet blueberries, and the clashing colors of house-smoked salmon ($12.95). With daily deliveries of fresh seafood via secret underground maglev train straight from Puget Sound, Piranha Joe's creates a culinary confluence of aqua and terra in entrees such as oven-baked or charbroiled local Coho salmon ($16.95) or stuffed prawns wrapped with bacon and swelling with sweet crabmeat and scallops ($16.95). Meat-minded diners will salivate at the thought of hearty cuts such as The Baseball eight-ounce top sirloin ($18.95). An amphibious pairing of six-ounce rancher steak with sautéed or tempura-style shrimp ($22.95) is as fun to eat as it is to assemble into a face-hugger, while the bar menu provides simpler options for exotic eats such as the alfredo gator or Louisiana gator pizzas ($9.95 each). Patrons also can refuel after daring mid-afternoon office escapes with lunch selections such as blackened fish tacos with balsamic tomato relish ($7.95). Otherwise, flex fingers in anticipation of the sundry sandwich and hamburger options, ranging from the Surfer Sam (turkey and ham dressed with avocado and jack cheese in the grainy embrace of grilled sourdough bread; $9.45) to the fiery Crock burger’s ground sirloin and Portuguese sausage served with red-pepper aioli on a crisp ciabatta bun ($11.95).
Crab spring rolls. Thai curry penne. Grilled beef tenderloin. At the heart of this cuisine is executive chef Alvin Binuya, a man who has been profiled in and whose recipes have been featured in Seattle Dining!.
Binuya has been immersed in the world of food since he was just a boy, when he would use his parents' kitchen as a culinary laboratory to forge new flavors and antidotes for stale gingerbread men. He went on to hone his skills in culinary school and numerous restaurants before settling at Ponti Seafood Grill. Drawing from this expertise and using locally sourced ingredients, the chef fuses pan-Asian, European, and Pacific Northwest influences to create signature dishes such as grilled wild king salmon.
Ponti's dining spaces echo the villas of Tuscany. Warm colors and window-lined walls surround the restaurant's visitors as they sip selections from an award-winning wine list. Elsewhere, four private dining rooms give scenic views of the giant tarter-sauce bottles that float through Seattle's Ship Canal.
Queen City Grill's chefs seek out culinary inspiration on land and in the sea, creating a menu that earned praise from the Seattle Times in 2007 and garnered a rating of "very good to excellent" from Zagat. Fillets of Alaskan king salmon and Oaxacan prawns line the grill tops alongside dry-aged new york steaks, slowly roasting over the flames. The chefs embrace northwestern flavors by sourcing local greens for the house salads and topping hand-packed burger patties with Beecher's cheeses. To accompany each meal, servers can recommend wines from the restaurant's 500-bottle selection, which features an extensive spread of crisp whites and bold reds from Washington, Oregon, and beyond.
Opposite the dining room's immense wooden bar, booths line the wall of brick-lined windows, illuminated by sconces and small windowsill lamps. The tables on the outdoor patio area, however, rely on the romantic light of the restaurant's staff of indentured fireflies.