Review of Marjorie
2311 Second Avenue in Seattle
206 441 9842
UPDATE 11/29/04: Since our last visit Tyler
Boring has left Marjorie
. We will have to get back and see how
things are doing.
We tried Marjorie because of the favorable review in the
Seattle Times. We expected something good and something unusual. We
were not disappointed in the least.
Marjorie is located in Belltown, on the corner of 2nd Avenue
and Battery, in a neighborhood undergoing renovation and moving
upmarket. Marjorie has a great looking bar and a good design. The
restaurant is designed so you can actually talk, despite its lively
look. The main dining area is around the corner from the bar and there
is sound padding on the ceiling. This is a restaurant with something
for everyone. There is even a garden outside for outdoor dining once
the weather gets warmer.
To start with, the menu is fascinating. It seems that the
entire world is cooking with ideas and ingredients from French,
American, Chinese, Indian, and German cuisine. The wine list was small,
but intriguing, with a lot of modestly priced bottles and glasses
mainly from Washington State, the West Coast and France. We knew we
were going to be happy.
Our appetizers confirmed this. We had the onion pakora, Indian
style onion rings, with two dipping sauces: green coriander and smokey
catsup. The deep fried onion rings were crisp and steamy and served
hot. We also had the thin
cut plantain chips, seasoned with garlic and served with a
pineapple-avocado guacamole. Was this really a guacamole, or was it a
chutney, or was it something else? Whatever, it was wonderful. With the
appetizers we started with the house sparkling wine, a delicious
bargain in these days of $15 glasses. Unlike most champagne
alternatives, it was toasty and dry, rather than sweet. The owner
served it herself and even offered us a taste to make sure that we
would enjoy it.
We moved on to what is likely to become Marjorie's signature
dish, the fleur de sel roast chicken with crispy skin and a breath of
star anise and vanilla. It was served with apple fritters, roast
potatoes and a compote of cabbage, carroway and sour cherries. This was
the best chicken we have eaten outside of France. The meat was hearty
and flavorful, the skin melted in the mouth, the spicing was perfect.
Every flavor contributed to this dish. There wasn't a gratuitous note.
There is a temptation to just pile on the flavors, but at Marjorie,
they layer them, so they all work together.
We almost ordered the curried eggplant, and briefly pondered
the hanger steak, but we went with the barbequed pork ribs in a classic
southern sauce, tangy and delicious. These were served with collard
greens and a cassoulet of black eyed peas, that is, black eyed peas
with a tender confit of pork. The accompanying corn pone was drenched
with butter and caused us to swoon.
The wines were perfect for the food. We had a fruity pinot
noir and a spicy blend of cabernet sauvignon, merlot and sangiovese.
These were not "rip your lips off" wines. They were full of flavor, but
they complemented rather than overwhelmed the food.
By now, we hated to leave. We were ready for dessert. We knew
the rule: collard greens plus black eyed peas means great gooey
desserts. We let the owner choose and she selected the ice creams and
the brioche. There were three scoops. The best was the orange
creamsicle, the vanilla was great and we even liked the lavender, which
was delicate, not soapy. Once again, three very different flavors
The brioche brioche bread pudding was something special. It
had a sweet caramel topping, a ton of ultra-rich organic whipped cream
and there was plenty of caramel sauce with candied ginger to sop up
with it. Thank heavens there was excellent coffee to revive us.
We spoke briefly with the owner, who moved west from Chicago,
an excellent food town. She radiated warmth and welcome and we
had to agree that her 26 year old chef was working magic in the
kitchen. We can't wait to go back.
Review: 17 May 2003