Tom Waits, Herb Farmers, & $10 T-Bones

Where "seven deadly sins" are specialty cocktails.

The Little Red Bistro is Seattle's most adult restaurant. It's located in the stridently childless techno-borough of South Lake Union, and sits across the street from KING-5, whose building hearkens back to a day and age when most news anchors chain-smoked, wore mustaches and plaid suits, drank Scotch at their desks, and thought the etymological root of San Diego to be "a whale's vagina." Its large, red outdoor clock is stuck on 4:20—and not by accident, as the LRB hosted the city's first medical-marijuana farmers market this past Sunday, a kind event that will recur monthly. The LRB's cocktail menu consists of "seven deadly sins," each elaborate concoction priced at $12 and named after a Tom Waits song. The interior is dark and sexy, punctuated by burgundy drapes, suggestive wall art, and a mahogany bar. It has a performance area in back, called the Little Red Studio, which hosts live jazz, tango lessons, and erotic poetry, where attendees are likely to receive a "complimentary hand massage." And its entrées primarily comprise hot, pink beef. Mondays—$10 T-bone nights—are perfectly geared toward stingy SLUsters who long to digest flesh outside the confines of their ground-floor condos. Steak campagne ($15) is a rib eye smothered in shallot butter and parsley. It's a little skimpy for what it should be, but seasoned to the point where any meaty mediocrity is shrewdly obscured by accompanying flavors, and the plate's red potatoes are perfectly baked. We were, however, a little perturbed by the number of microwave beepers going off in the kitchen, which might have explained why the beef Bourguignon ($13, served with basmati rice) came off like a plate of Not-So-Lean Cuisine. Those are minor quibbles when considering LRB's unique function and high-powered drinks, in which non-alcoholic mixers are as nonexistent as they rightfully should be. Booze, if it's mixed with anything, should be mixed with other forms of booze. You think Tom Waits has ever downed a Cape Cod? Maybe if it were offered free at a summer potluck, but otherwise he'd surely opt for an On the Nickel, a potent blend of bourbon, dry vermouth, St-Germain, and absinthe. No wonder he so epitomizes the term "haggard."

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