Matt’s in the Market (Seattle) – The best meal I’ve had in the last year.

During my rotation in Vancouver, I had the opportunity to go to Seattle for a few days (albeit cheaply with a great priceline.com find!). J had been to Matt’s in the Market 2 times previously and was always impressed. We made late reservations one night and tried it out (after a pretty outstanding day of eating oysters, cheese, chowder, seafood, and pizza).

Located right in the heart of Pike Place Market, getting to Matt’s is easy and pretty romantic walk if you ask me.

The interior is pretty busy. I love the chequered flooring. They have tables located quite close to one another. We got to listen to a 3rd or 4th date right next to us. The guy was wearing a nice dress shirt but ever so slightly had his sleeves rolled up so he could show his Rolex off. Hilarious.

These are the clams (house chorizo, corona beans, piquillo peppers, cava, croutons) for $16USD. These were really amazing. Each clam was so impressively large and had a real meatiness that I have not had elsewhere. The broth was amazing, a delicious combination of spiciness, richness, and clarity. The chorizo added little bundles of saltiness that I really liked. Some of the must clams I’ve had. I literally drank the soup at the bottom.

The aftershot. I am a bit ashamed of it to be honest. I’d bet the dishwasher looked at this and thought: “Boy, this couple must not go out to eat a lot.”

This is the Painted Bills Tenderloin Carpaccio for $18USD. The meat was beautifully marbled and was impressively tender. It was difficult to pick up on your fork because it would fall apart right on the plate. I’ve had tender meat before… but this tenderness was ridiculous. It had some nice sour meatiness that was picked up on with the capers and was balanced with the sweetness of the crab.

This is the Seafood Stew (white prawn, manila clams, fin fish, absinthe shell stock rouille, Olsen Farms potatoes) for $35USD. Unfortunately, I found this dish a bit anticlimatic. Don’t get me wrong. The fish was beautifully cooked medium, the clams were again meaty, full, and delicious, and the shrimp perfectly bouncy and sweet. But after being so pleasantly surprised by the clams as the appetizer, I was a bit… clammed out. The absinthe shell stock was interesting but between the appetizer and this dish, I’d go for the appetizer.

This dish continues to impress me. I think about it every now and then when I am in Kingston. If I were to be asked to speak on The Best Thing I Ever Ate (on the Food Network), this would be it. This is the Ricotta and Cherry Tomato Ravioli (Zoe’s pancetta, guanciale fresh herbs, tomato-pork jus) for $27. There was so much to love in this dish. The ravioli was delicate but firm, filled with a rich creamy cheese centre that oozed warmth that spilled into the sauce. The pancetta was so thin and crispy. It reminded me of that wonderful bacon I used to get that was super crispy and light when my mom used to cook turkey with bacon sitting on top of the breasts. The sauce and tomatoes is really where I was amazed. The saltiness, souriness, and umami flavours were so intense that my tongue was tingling with flavour. The flavours sat so firmly in your mouth that you could taste each bite long after you had swallowed. I loved this dish.

This is the Bread Pudding (Peaches, bourbon, caramel sauce, house made ice cream) for $9USD. This was a fantastic way to end the meal. The bread pudding was soft but tender and had some really nicely crispy edges that were tough yet chewy. The bourbon really added some punch to the caramel sauce that the ice cream really toned down. A pretty amazing dessert.

If there is one place you eat in Seattle, eat at Matt’s in the Market. Do not miss the Ravioli. DO NOT MISS IT! It was the best meal I’ve  had in the past year.

Matt’s in the Market, 94 Pike St # 32, Seattle, WA 98101-2066, (206) 467-7909, www.mattsinthemarket.com

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~ by Russ on October 13, 2010.

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