1001 East Pike
Reviewed: 12 January 2008
UPDATED: 3 September 2009
UPDATE - 3 September 2009 - We often wondered what Quinn's was doing serving serious food in Capital Hill, an area full of clubs and beer and burger joints. Well, we wonder no longer. On our last visit we discovered tht Quinn's had turned into an ordinary beer and burger joint. They hadn't updated their online menu, and, of course, it was impossible to reach anyone on the phone, so we had to find out in person. We will miss the old Quinn's, but times change. There are still lots of good places to get fed in Seattle.
As far as we are concerned, Quinn's is meat city. Quinn's looks like any other little neighborhood pub until you start browsing the menu. Our eyes were caught by the meatball sliders and the marrow bones. Quinn's has big, juicy marrow bones, chock full of marrow that they serve with a bit of a onion chutney and hearty slices of toast. Marrow, if you aren't familiar with it, tastes somewhere between beef and heaven, is wonderfully rich and not often found. Well, we found it at Quinn's.
Usually, a bone or two worth of marrow will sate the most serious appetite, but we were really hungry, so we pressed on. Yes, there were some lovely salads, fish and rillettes on the menu, but we needed real food. We were tempted by their signature wild boar sloppy joe, but went for their wagyu beef burger and the smoked hanger steak instead. We didn't go wrong. The burger was the real hit, sturdy, meaty, smoky, succulent and amazing. For years, we have searched for the Platonic burger. We thought we had found it at Etta's, which is a truly wonderful experience, but we when we bit into Quinn's wagyu beef burger, we understood what the Budhists mean by enlightenment. It was richness on a bun and served with a generous portion of wonderful french fries. These were thick cut, but creamy on the inside and crisp on the outside, which means that they were most likely double fried, once at a lower temperature to cook them through, then at a higher temperature for the crisp outer skin. If you are a fan of shoestring fries and look down on those bland fat institutional things, gives the fries at Quinn's a chance. You'll change your mind.
As for the hanger steak. We'd be raving about it like maniacs if the burger had not been so good. It was perfectly cooked, tender inside, and served with cabrales blue cheese so it fairly dissolved in the mouth. To heighten its smoky flavor, they served it on a layer of red pepper romesco sauce, a Catalan touch.
We haven't tried the desserts. It isn't clear that anyone has, at least not after enjoying an entree. As for us, we are not planning a dessert expedition, not until we've worked our way through the rest of the menu. Thank god for the YMCA strength training circuit.
Quinn's has an outstanding and extensive list of beers available. We aren't big beer drinkers, but they also have a smaller, well chosen wine list. Since people come to Quinn's for the food, they cleverly chose wines that go well with food. A big jammy wine may taste wonderful at the tasting, but at Quinn's it will have to stand up to the meat, meat and more meat. Our waiter knew his job, and the service was professional. Quinn's is more than just a little neighborhood joint on Capital Hill.
One warning though: Quinn's does not take reservations, and it starts to fill up quickly on weeknights, so some come early if you want to get a table.