At Flat Iron Grill, executive chef Jeff Olsen puts an international twist on traditional steak-house staples made with locally sourced organic ingredients. Small doses of chorizo, chimichurri, or chili-spiked truffle sauce lend distinctive Latin and South American flavors to the menu?s grilled steaks, black cod, and clam pappardelle. To accompany the rustically roasted entrees, the bartenders pour tipples from their selection of more than 180 whiskeys, which include rich bourbons, smoky scotches, and locally distilled creations.
Echoing the menu?s rustic elegance, the Western-themed dining room surrounds guests in warm-colored walls and metal work from Gagnon Welding. A spotlighted longhorn skull hangs on a terra-cotta red wall alongside local artists' black-and-white photographs of Washington landscapes. Patrons can also dine on an outdoor patio shaded by light-tan umbrellas and clouds lassoed into place by helpful cowboys.
HG Bistro blends casual and upscale in its atmosphere as well as its food—in the kitchen, chefs use local ingredients to create a menu that draws from European and American influences. They grill 8-ounce sirloins, 10-ounce flat irons, and 16-ounce rib eyes, often serving them with toppings such as dungeness crab, brandy mushrooms, and tiny beef hats. They also infuse mac 'n' cheese with crab, pair ahi tuna with wasabi, and dress pasta with smoked-sage sauce or Sicilian-style meatballs. To help diners wash down their meals, servers mix cocktails and pour more than 80 international wines.
Iron Chef Japanese Steak House's seasoned chefs combine culinary skill with a flair for showmanship, treating guests to both a delicious meal of filet mignon, lobster, and stir fried veggies, as well as a night of memorable entertainment. As they sear tender steaks and fresh shrimp, teppanyaki masters dazzle patrons with tricks, juggling morsels of food with spatulas and creating onion volcanoes that belch flames and send lava pouring over veggie dioramas of Pompeii. Guests seated around the flat-topped iron grill ooh and aah at the masterful knife work and dexterity of their tableside host, then dig into mouthwatering meals served with salad, soup, prawn appetizers, steamed rice, and ice cream.
On the quiet, Monday-night streets of Puyallup, no one inside Ricky J’s Restaurant and Lounge seems to care that it’s a school night. The lights in the warm pub burn brightly, as local musicians jaunt onto the stage to enthusiastic applause. Servers raise their voices to be heard over the twang of guitar and the terrified screams of the drums, taking orders for pizzas and pitchers of beer. Between decimating plates of nachos or cheering at the end of the band’s set, guests engage in a little friendly competition at the pool tables. This is the scene of the pub’s open mic night—the first of many weekly events on a schedule flush with karaoke, bingo, and trivia.
As guests squabble over trivia answers or dance to DJ-spun tunes in the dining room, chefs are bustling through the kitchen. They top freshly made burgers with grill-blacked bacon and juicy pineapple slices, and dress pizzas with homemade sauce and creative toppings such as barbeque pulled pork and tortilla strips. The chefs are creative even with their side dishes, frying onion rings in homemade beer batter and painting portraits of tater tots dressed as Napoleon. In the mornings, the chefs turn their attention to breakfast items, including cheesy omelets, overstuffed burritos, and pancakes with banana, strawberry, and whipped cream.
Near the tracks of Auburn's train terminal, The Station Bistro feeds the soul and appetite with hearty, homey meals that capture the brawny spirit of bygone conductors and brakemen. Four-egg omelets, piled-high burgers, lemon-kissed Alaskan cod, and juicy steaks alongside scoops of garlic mashed potatoes stand ready to sate hunger no matter the time of day. Leafy palms and potted trees shade diners at red-clad tables, and a mural depicting an 18th-century locomotive harks back to a time when engineers kept trains humming by feeding engines shovelfuls of Reubens.
At Iron Horse Casino, chips clack down on the green felt tables as joyful tension builds over big poker hands and the adrenaline-infused table games unfolding throughout the casino. The onsite restaurant keeps bellies fed with a hearty menu of American fare, serving up breakfast meals all day long. Patrons can cure parched throats hoarse from cheering over a big win with cocktails, beer, and wine, and live entertainers may or may not infuse their routines with subliminal messages on how to always win at roulette.