Home Brews

Cheers lives on Lake Washington.

THE LESCHI LAKE CAFE should consider changing its name to Cheers. When you walk into the restaurant, which is so close to the water that it appears to hover over Lake Washington, it truly seems as if everyone who works there knowsor at least pretends to knowyour name. On a recent visit with a friend who grew up a stone's throw from the cafe, we found the Cheers factor was in full effect. He kept getting pulled away from dinner, either by staff members who remembered him from a previous visit or patrons who remembered him from the neighborhood. Leschi's menu is the usual Seattle-style American fare: chops, burgers, sandwiches, and seafood. Nothing on the menu really lives up to its delectable menu description, but there are a few items that come across as unusual, if not unique. My companion and I started with the artichoke hearts au gratin ($8.25), quartered artichoke hearts baked in a garlicky cheddar and parmesan sauce. It arrived spewing steam, with the cheese still bubbling, along with slices of toasted baguette. The artichokes were hearty enough to be a meal for two on its own, but we pressed on. After poring over the very extensive menu, my companion ordered scallop and prawn fettuccini ($15.50), and I got the Jim Beam BBQ bacon burger ($10.45). The flavor of JB underscored the burger perfectly, earning uniqueness points; there was nothing special about the fettucinijust fresh seafood and just plain old good. Along with the name change, the Leschi should think about a format shift, too, to full-on tavern. The main room already has the appearance of an old-time pub with copper-topped tables and dim lighting, and the bar serves 18 beers on tap and another 11 in the bottle, confirming its true calling as a neighborhood pub. Long after we had our leftovers boxed up, my companion and I sat nursing our ales and swapping stories. Despite the fading light, the staff didn't hurry us, even stopping to chat numerous times, reinforcing Leschi's true calling as a comfortable place to grab a drink. It's a fine place to get a meal; but best of all as a place to catch up with an old friend over a pint. info@seattleweekly.com

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