Sunday, June 17, 2012

Hugs & Shrugs 4 Manhattan Drugs


From time to time, and on occasion we can be a spontaneous couple and will randomly have "date night."  About us alert: We tend to go out quite a bit, but typically it's planned out a month in advance (one of us does do project management for a day job).  Checking-in on Facebook everywhere we go allows us to remember the eating trail (sort of like leaving bread crumbs). As our friend Julie Hash puts it, "Don't you guys ever just stay home?"  Because of that comment, we tag her sometimes even when she isn't physically with us.  We digress so back to the story - on a recent work day when we didn't have anything penciled in, and no groceries in the house, Ro suggested that we check out a SIFF  (Seattle International Film Festival) movie that was playing that evening.  Ro had acquired free SIFF tickets from Starbucks as part of their "we-love-you-fridays" so it was imperative that we use them.  The movie, Gayby (a comedy about a gay man and a straight woman who want to have a baby together and do it (pun not intended or is it?) the old fashioned way, was playing at the Egyptian Theatre on Capitol Hill at 7pm.  We decided to grab dinner beforehand in the burgeoning foodie neighborhood of Capitol Hill, but we didn't know what we were in the mood for.


Ro had just discovered earlier that week probably the best Monday happy hour deal in the city (a day when many restaurants are typically closed) .   Manhattan Drugs (MDkeeps us happy, happy all day on Monday (wish it were Sunday).  Beyond Monday's, the restaurant features a speciality drink each night for only $5.  In a city known for it's rain, a 1/2 off draft beer special every day it is raining is also something MD offers.  However, not everything was happy that night.  WARNING:  Fish tacos = bad.  The sea bass was extremely fishy and the salsa fell flat and had a very mushy consistency.  Big shrug.  Hugs and kisses to the beef sliders = good.  Two words is all it takes to describe the yumminess caramelized onions, oh yeah!

Manhattan Drugs is the vision of power couple Laura Olson and fiancée Chris Pardo a force to be reckoned with.  They are also owners of Auto Battery, PoDog Grim's, part owners of The Social and are working on a new upcoming Scandinavian small-plate restaurant, Queen of Norway in Ballard (opening date undisclosed at blog time).  The name is in reference to Pardo's grandmother who in her twenties was the Queen of Norway in a Ballard parade.  Shout out to Grams!  Another tidbit, Chris Pardo is the co-founder of Pb elemental, which is an architecture firm focused on contemporary residential and commercial design (Ro is huge fan).  The culmination of their efforts in building this restaurant empire earned them the Seattle Magazine's Most Influential People of 2011.  But, just as with any good royal family, there is a fair amount of drama to be had.  As we did more research about the couple, we discovered that their connection with MD has since been severed citing "creative differences" as the reason for the split.  Hopefully the split is isolated to just the business side of things.  No matter, we look forward to venturing to their other establishments and of course blogging about those experiences.


James Bond Vesper
Cornbread with jalapeño butter
So much for the background and big build up, let's get to the food.  As we walked in (around 6:10pm) we noticed a decent sized bar along the wall, wood tables surrounded by tufted leather chairs in the middle and long executive booths along the other wall.  For the most part the asthetic is  on the dark side with red and gold wallpaper lining the walls and dark woods, which is typical of a steakhouse, but Manhattan does harbor more of a contemporary feel and atmosphere (surprise surprise), which is so opposite of the classic Seattle steakhouses we're used to (i.e. Metropolitan Grill and El Gaucho).  We'd be remiss not to mention what appears to have become the iconic symbol of MD, a large mount of a white ram with golden M16 guns for horns.  Dining with a stuffed armed goat was a little unexpected and definitely a first.


We started with drinks, Ro had her go to vesper martini.  While waiting for our order the waitress brought us cornbread served in a mini skillet with jalapeño butter.  The cornbread was warm enough to melt the jalapeño butter and our hearts.  It was amaze balls and free! 

Finally, our steak with mac and cheese on the side made an appearance and it looked so good.  We wasted no time diving into the creamy childhood favorite made with béchamel sauce and gruyere cheese (this was no Kraft mac and cheese).  Tip: this delicious comfort food is only $5 on the happy hour menu.  The filet mignon ($38), on the other foot, while it looked and tasted good, it didn't blow our socks off.  We ordered it medium, but it was medium rare at the thickest part and well done on the ends.  Not to be steak snobs, but if you are going to throw down $40 for a 10 oz steak, it should taste great and be cooked the way you asked for it (Burger King can do it for less).

We'll probably pass on another steak dinner at MD.  However, whether it be a manic Monday, rainy Tuesday, hump day Wednesday, impromptu Thursday or we love you Friday, the MD's happy hour (that comes with a bonus Ram sighting) is worth checking out.

Aloha! Live life with flavor and fun

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