Seattle has a vibrant offering of theater, music, dance and other performing arts. If you haven't had a night out for a while, check out visitseattle.org/Visitors/Events.aspx to search for shows and events that are right for you. Enjoy a night of live performance.
And, here's a secret: You need not rush around trying to make or grab dinner, navigate across town, screech into the parking garage and land in your seat before the curtain rises. No. Plan a pre-show meal with your experience to save time, nourish yourself and allow for a casual stroll to your seat. You'll probably run into someone you know and have a moment to visit.
To accomplish this sophisticated approach to getting out, our first recommendation is Prelude Restaurant at McCaw Hall (321 Mercer St.; 615-0404; mccawhall.com/plan-your-visit/dining-at-mccaw-hall). To reserve your table, simply go to www.mccawhall.com and click on "Dining at McCaw Hall." The reservation system is easy.
Prelude has mastered the art of timely feeding its dance and opera patrons. The ambiance is pleasing. A blue/green palette of stylish decor suggests the creativity that will unfold when the performance starts. There was enough pre-show chatter to build excitement, but not too loud or intrusive to prevent conversation.
The menu cleverly offers various categories of choices: "Prologue," "Act One," "Act Two," "Act Three" and "Finale." The starters were fine, but we found the entrees from Act Two and Act Three the most satisfying and tasty (ranging from $9 to $33). We enjoyed the pan-seared tile fish with parsnip puree and baby carrots, and the risotto. Our pre-teen guest pronounced the spaghetti Bolognese delicious, and she is a connoisseur. The extensive half-bottle wine list really sparkled.
The dessert list is yummy, including specialty cakes and confections in addition to locally made Full Tilt ice cream in unique flavors. Regarding dessert, order it with your meal before the curtain goes up, and return to your table at intermission to find it waiting for you. This is efficiency at its finest. Hot coffee will arrive when you sit down and by then you will have found room for a sweet. You can make these dessert arrangements even if you do not take your meal at Prelude. Just stop by the hostess desk before going to your seat.
Eating at Prelude works for Intiman and other Seattle Center events, too. You do not need a McCaw Hall ticket to enter the restaurant. Other venues offering on-the-scene treats include the Paramount and the Moore, which offer concession stands stocked with Tom Douglas treats.
Joined directly to the Village Theatre in Issaquah you will find Fins Bistro (301 Front St. N.; 425-392-0109; finsbistro.net). It specializes in seafood and also offers drinks and desserts during intermissions. The Village Theatre showcases musicals in an intimate setting - not a bad seat in the house!
Next up, Lecosho (89 University St., Seattle; 623-2101; lecosho.com) is on the stairs below First Avenue toward the waterfront. Lecosho is most convenient to Benaroya Hall, but also would work for the Fifth Avenue Theatre, ACT or a Town Hall event.
Its sign and the menu prominently feature a pig and the phrase "food we like." The menu is separated into small plates, salads and large plates, and the service was definitely fast enough to make a show. But feel free to linger; there will be no pressure to surrender your table. The ambient noise level is fairly high and energetic - this is not a location for quiet talk.
The menu offered many tempting items. We sampled the steamed mussels with a fairly heavy chorizo influence, as well as the grilled octopus on chickpea puree, and then shared the pan-seared halibut as an entree. If you like chorizo, you will love the mussels, and we were very happy with the halibut, which was moist and tender with a tasty pan-seared crust and well-accompanied by an avocado puree and pea vines. We would definitely order the halibut again.
We ordered a special dessert item - a gluten-free tort with raspberries. Overall, we were impressed that there were several gluten-free options on the regular and dessert menus. Not only did the food live up to its billing as "food we like," but we enjoyed the scenic location, watching the traffic on the stairs down to the waterfront and the Great Wheel right outside the window.
Lecosho also could be on your list for a stop at the Seattle Art Museum. "Miro: The Experience of Seeing" runs through May 26. "Miro" draws back the curtain on life and the artistic process for you. The Seattle Times called the exhibit "an exuberant splash of a show!" Of course, there's also SAM's on-premises restaurant TASTE (1300 First Ave.; 903-5291; tastesam.com).
If you're a celluloid fan, we have a suggestion consistent with our theme of simplifying your outing by combining it with a meal. Enjoy your film and tasty offerings at Sundance Cinemas Seattle (4500 Ninth Ave. NE; 633-0059; sundancecinemas.com/seattle.html), where you will never be in a rush to finish your meal before the curtain goes up. Sundance is a new theater in the University District that offers in-theater dining before and during the show. (Parking in Trader Joe's upper deck is partially validated at the box office.)
You can enjoy snacks and drinks on a comfy couch in the Sundance "living room" while you wait for showtime, and then bring your fare into the theater. When we say snacks and drinks, we are not talking popcorn and soda. The Sundance Bistro offers appetizers, sandwiches and pizzas. The full bar features rotating wine selections, local beer and cider, and movie-themed specialty cocktails.
We grabbed a pear-and-gorgonzola pizza to share, a "Stars and Stripes" cocktail (named in honor of "Captain America: The Winter Soldier"), and in honor of the movie we were there to see - "Dallas Buyers Club" - a 12-ounce can of Rainier. Our reserved seats were on either side of a table just big enough for our pizza and drinks. As we settled into our comfy seats, the lights went down and the couple in front of us popped the cork on their bottle of champagne. Cheers to Sundance!
Schwabe, Williamson & Wyatt is a multiservice, Northwest regional law firm with offices in Seattle, Vancouver, Portland and Bend. For comments on this article or to share your favorite places to eat or drink with the Schwabe, Williamson & Wyatt attorneys, contact Averil Rothrock at 206-689-8121 or at email@example.com; see also www.schwabe.com/dining_out.aspx. Follow us on Twitter @schwabedinesout.