Checking in

The waterfront's Edgewater Hotel unveils its destination eatery.


Edgewater Hotel, 2411 Alaskan Way, 269-4575 breakfast 6:30-10:30 a.m. Mon.-Fri., 6:30-11:30 a.m. Sat.-Sun.; lunch 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Mon.-Fri., noon-2:30 p.m. Sat.-Sun.; dinner 5-10 p.m. Sun.-Thurs., 5-11 p.m. Fri-Sat. AE, DC, MC, V / full bar AMID THE SURFEIT of new hotels in this city (see last week's review of 727 at the Elliott Grand Hyatt) sits an old one that's forever overlooked, literally and otherwise. Locals tend to think of the Edgewater as the novelty place where the Beatles once slept, promoted in folksier days as the only Seattle hotel where you could fish from your window. Other hotels had elegant pedigrees, trophy restaurants, or central downtown locations; the funky old Edgewater really only had its view. But what a view. Out the hotel's windows, the dazzling pewter sweep of Elliott Bay has no clear beginning—the hotel is built out over Pier 67—and it never seems to end, at least until it splashes into the islands that fringe the mighty Olympics to the west. This view is so surreally beautiful, it's no surprise downtown development has marched down the Regrade to cluster around it; suddenly the far-flung Edgewater feels like the centerpiece of its own lively neighborhood. Suddenly, indeed: The Edgewater feels like a destination now, complete with it's own trophy restaurant. Six Seven opened three months ago as part of a remodel that transformed the hotel's lobby, bar, restaurant, and other public spaces according to a sort of techno-Twin Peaks aesthetic involving banks of video screens and copious amounts of tree bark. In spite of this ridiculous sounding description, the decor—which truly must be seen to be believed—struck this diner as an appealingly unlikely combination of log cabin cozy and Pacific Rim sophisticated (the tree branches on hinges may or may not be a postmodern commentary on the industrial era's ruination of the forest). Toto, I don't think we're in Fish-From-Your-Window-ville anymore. Whether you favor the decor or not, however, it recedes obligingly at sunset in favor of the spectacle out the window. Every seat's a good one, especially the breezy tables on the narrow outdoor patio. You may wait a good while for your menu, as I did on one visit, but once it arrives, you'll see that it's largely Asian inspired, with a long sashimi list. We began with 10 pieces ($15) of clean-cut, flavor-saturated sashimi, which started our dinner off on a strong note. And a beautiful one: The fish came—some partnered with a vivid dollop of orange roe or a wedge of avocado—arranged on a square plate of the deepest cobalt blue. The rest of the starters also showcased seafood. Twenty-second salmon ($10.95) featured a thin scallopine of the fish— seared for guess how long—nicely oiled and lemoned, served over apples and alongside a tender fingerling potato salad. Very nice, and the fish was beautiful. With it, we enjoyed a tomato and goat cheese tart ($8.95), built flavorfully on a plank of flaky filo dough. Crispy calamari salad ($8.95) was more curious: a m鬡nge of fried squid and fried wontons with lettuce, orange slices, and red onion in a terrific miso dressing. It made for fun, mouth-filling eating but was such a strange conception that my mind conjured up an image of two servers, one carrying a plate of fried calamari and one carrying a green salad, crashing into each other in the kitchen and shouting, "Eureka!" (I shouted no such thing—as the salad cooled the calamari, it lost a good bit of its charm—but I did clean my plate.) I didn't polish off my steamed mussels ($8.95), however, which arrived bathed in a dazzling yellow Thai curry broth—but not for lack of trying. Several of the large Mediterranean beauties were easy to dispatch, but that golden sauce was another matter. It lacked the textural legs to cling to the shellfish. Our table setting featured no spoons, and our server forgot our request for them. (We also were given no bowl for our mussel shells.) The bread, though delicious, was of the herbed flat variety—and therefore unsoppable. Worse, the presentation was punctuated with delicate fresh peas. SO THERE I SAT, pathetically dredging peas one at a time out of the sauce with my fork, wanting to savor this delectable dish the way it was meant to be savored but lacking the means to do so. I think this is the circle of hell Dante reserved for restaurant critics. Or else it's the mark of a restaurant that pays less attention to function than it ought. This applied both to service—which, when attentive, was much too assertive with its own opinions of the food—and to the food itself. It was just plain hard to eat the spicy salmon, mushroom, and fried noodle pot pie ($17.95), whose hash-brown arrangement made for a rather impenetrable lid. Though we liked the lamb osso buco ($18.95), it was too tough to endorse heartily. Better by a mile, and the ultimate reason to visit Six Seven, is the seafood. A plate of alder-planked salmon ($18.95) arrived smoky and flawless, with sweet corn sauce and seared mushrooms. Grilled Alaskan halibut ($19.95) was exquisite—encrusted with herbs, swathed in a buttery sauce, and served over sweet fingerlings. Alas, tasty fish and a sensational view do not a true destination restaurant make. (Neither do aluminum chain light fixtures or psychedelic chairs.) But they do an improved restaurant make. Six Seven is definitely one to watch.

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