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Spring Hill

October 19, 2009

Sauteed Halibut with Smoked King Clam Crumbs, Walla Walla Onion Soubise, Oyster Vinaigrette, and Toy Box TomatoesHow do you judge a restaurant with preconceived notion of its quality?

Coming into Spring Hill, I knew that chef Mark Fuller was awarded Food and Wine’s Best New Chef. I knew that the restaurant has been recognized as a Top 50 Best New Restaurant by Travel and Leisure. So, how do you dine at a restaurant and fairly judge its quality, given the hype. Luckily, Fuller didn’t make this judgment difficult for me.

Excitement, curiosity, and salivation: Just a snapshot of thoughts and functions occurring as my family and I anxiously walked through the front door of the restaurant. Our party was greeted by a room adorned in refreshing light wooden accents, stark grey concrete floors and friendly sea-foam green woven placemats and accents. The open kitchen added to entertainment, as it seemed Spring Hill frequent diners chose to enjoy wining and dining around the bar with a full view of Fuller and his assistants. Our party sat at our table for six near the front floor-to-ceiling windows and our stomachs couldn’t wait to dig in.

Now, Spring Hill is characterized for serving Northwest food, which was an intriguing concept to me. Having been born and raised in the Greater Seattle area, its surprising that I am unfamiliar with what constitutes traditional Northwest cuisine, besides seafood of course. Most think of Seattleites as over-caffeinated Microsoft employees that haven’t seen a ray of sunshine in ten months (which is usually true), and not necessarily any specific cuisine dish.

To start, our group jumped for joy at the small plates. Kumamoto oysters with green apple relish, Kusshi oysters with mint and lime, and Ocean Pearls with a cascade hops mignonette, raw and on ice. A half dozen chilled shrimp with a lemon verbena mayonnaise, traditional cocktail sauce and coarse sea salt. Clam linguini served with extra thin squid ink noodles, clam butter, chilies and herbs. Need I say more? But that was only the beginning.

Chef Mark FullerNext, we devoured a smooth duck liver pâté served with Bing cherry and wheat crackers. The pâté was melt-in-your-mouth quality richer than Bill Gates. We also enjoyed the bread and butter. The simple thought to salt the soft, creamy butter is a lovely touch I have always appreciated restaurants to do, and often a detail that earns extra points for the restaurant in my mind.

For the main course, I was served the sautéed halibut with smoked King clam crumbs, Walla Walla onion soubise, oyster vinaigrette and toy box tomatoes. A very refreshing dish for a hot summer evening, as this was during the uncharacteristic Seattle heat wave.

Now, with that said, the heat wave did nothing to improve the uncomfortably hot temperature in the restaurant. Open kitchen restaurants and intensely high degrees of weather do not mix, but it is Seattle, and how often does a 100+ degree heat wave hit? Yeah, not too often.

All in all, our experience at Spring Hill exceeded our preconceived opinions as heard from Food and Wine magazine and Travel and Leisure. The magazines definitely hit the nail on the head with this restaurant, and Chef Mark Fuller is definitely deserving of all his budding national recognition. So, congratulations! And Chef Fully, I strongly apologize for my father forcing me to get your autograph and take a picture with you!

Spring Hill is located at 4437 California Ave SW Seattle, WA 98116

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. pdxsx permalink
    October 19, 2009 8:46 pm

    Sounds delish! Good post!

    ~J

  2. Dad permalink
    October 30, 2009 4:45 am

    No worries Brooke. Chef was delighted to get his picture with you. Strongly apologize? I’m flashing back to the scene from “A Few Good Men”.

    • brookenburris permalink*
      October 30, 2009 4:47 pm

      Oh Dad. Yes it was embarassing but I’m just giving you a hard time. You know I prefer to be under the radar. I did POST the picture!

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