Venue: Radiator Whiskey
Location: Seattle, WA
Pike’s Place on a Friday night is a busy place, even in January. But Radiator Whiskey, located on the 3rd floor of a shopping plaza, keep your dining experience free of the chaos of tourists and local shoppers. In place of that pedestrian experience you are thrust into a throng of people determined to eat and drink only the most select options found in a city full of individuality and flavor.
My sisters and I were spending the night in Seattle before taking the Amtrak down to Los Angeles for the weekend (read more about that in another review) and wanted to find the perfect spot in Seattle to have dinner before heading to our hotel (the incredible Motif) for drinks and conversation. I’d found Radiator Whiskey about a week earlier searching for places online and it seemed to fit the bill. That decision was validated the moment we walked through the door of the restaurant and found the place packed, beyond packed actually as we were told they were virtually booked for the night but that we could have a table for 1 hour if we promised to be quick.
It took us about 2 seconds to decide we wanted to take the table, even if it was for only an hour. We were quickly seated and given waters and a bowl of popcorn before our server greeted us. Drink orders were taken, I ordered two cocktails to ensure we met our time limit (the Smoked Maple Old Fashioned was an interesting take on one of my favorite drinks and the Guns N’ Rosemary was a fun, fitting gin cocktail that went well with dinner. Our drinks were served in a timely fashion despite the constant shuffle of people filling tables as quickly as they were emptied. My sisters were equally pleased with the drink selection and if we’d had more time I think we could have easily made it through the entire menu.
We hit a wall when it came to picking dinner however, the menu at Radiator Whiskey reads like a mixture of culinary themed slam poetry and a manifest of items off of a pirate ship. In the end we decided to order three things to share amongst us; the gravy and fried egg topped tater tots, the braised beef brisket and the grilled goat cheese, tomato jam sandwich.
The tater tots were perfectly crisp and gut pleasingly covered in flavorful gravy and the brisket was so tender you almost needed a spoon to scoop the meat onto your tongue for it to fully melt away. But as delightful as both those dishes were they were nothing next to the simple, quaint idea of the grilled cheese sandwich. I cannot even honestly say there was bread involved in the making of this sandwich (my sisters have both confirmed there was bread) because all I could taste was the sharp, pungent flavor of melted goat cheese that provided the texture of both a lesser melted cheese and a finer crumbling cheese simultaneously followed by the sublimely sweet contrast of tomato jam. I’ll be honest, I had no expectations of this sandwich, it was the last thing I tried on the table. I’d not even considered the concept of tomato being turned into jam, not even as I was taking my first bite did the notion strike me as absurd. Then the flavors hit me and I sat there for a couple of minutes trying to process what I was tasting, goat cheese and tomato jam. How in the fuck was that a combination that not only worked but has ruined all other grilled cheese sandwiches for me?
That is not hyperbole, I’ve yet to taste anything in the past week that has satisfied my taste buds the way that simple comfort food managed to. Add that experience to the incredible staff, location, atmosphere, music selection and signature drinks and you’ll get an equally astounding recipe for Radiator Whiskey; a singular dining experience that cannot be replicated, only imitated. This will forever be included on future trips to Seattle, maybe even any time I am in the PNW.