e have followed with interest the skyscrapers on either side of three intersecting biospheres going up on the Seventh Avenue Amazon campus. The biosphere structure is expected to contain plants from higher-elevation climates, including mature trees.
The area will encompass an excellent combination for work and play — in addition to plants, work areas and dining, meeting and lounge spaces will occupy the transparent-glass structure supported by metal framework. Restaurants and eating locales are sprinkled liberally throughout the street level of the skyscrapers.
We went exploring and checked out several of the restaurants in the area. Hopefully, we will be able to tour the entire project when it is completed.
As fans of Skillet Diner in Ballard and Capitol Hill, we checked out the relatively new Skillet Regrade (Amazon Doppler Building, 2050 Sixth Ave.; 512-2002; www.skilletfood.com/restaurant/regrade/). Many of the menu items are familiar from dining at other Skillet locations. Unique to the Regrade location is “Happy Lunch,” Skillet Regrade’s take on happy hour, possibly catering to extended workdays of its clientele.
The Happy Lunch runs from 4–6 p.m. (with the bar’s happy hour on drinks continuing until 7 p.m.). The Happy Lunch items are smaller versions of select menu items, but two of us were able to fill ourselves for dinner. Add in happy hour-priced drinks for a surprising total price.
The featured sandwiches include the burger (both the basic and one with bacon jam and bleu cheese), a veggie, a fried chicken sandwich, and the one we ordered — the Husky Wilbur, with root beer-braised pulled pork, fried onions and a spicy mustard sauce. We liked it so much we went back and had it again. Be warned: Ask for extra napkins with the Wilbur.
There are plenty of salad options, including a Happy Lunch option on the Cobb, and the tomato bisque with a green salad is an ample meal. All in all, a delicious and cost effective choice if you want a quick meal before 6 p.m.
The newest Italian eatery at the base of the Doppler Building is Cinque Terre Ristorante (2001 Westlake Ave.; 456-6300; www.cinqueterreseattle.com/#
modernitalian). Brought to you by the Varchetta brothers (of Barolo and Mamma Melina), Cinque Terre serves modern Italian fare from the five villages of the Riviera region.
With open windows, the surprisingly roomy but narrow space features a well-stocked bar of local and Italian favorites, a burning wood-fire pizza oven, and, of course, a robust oyster bar. Midday you will find plenty of businesspeople enjoying decadent morel mushroom gnocchi and grilled octopus; at dinner, patrons will be sharing the whole Mediterranean sea bass or 32-ounce tomahawk steak.
However, our favorite time to indulge is at the Cinque Terre happy hour, where select bottles of wine are offered for a mere $17, and other antipasti and specialty pizzas are at more than reasonable prices — the beef carpaccio and burrata is a delightful snack for a group of four. The happy hour is also generous in time, offering specials daily from 3–6:30 p.m. and 10:00 p.m. to midnight.
Competition does not seem to slow down Cinque Terre either, as it — and its older sister Barolo Ristorante across the street — are bustling at all hours. Whether in between work appointments or just beginning a night out in the town, Cinque Terre will not disappoint.
Also located in the Amazon Doppler Building, Marination (2000 Sixth Ave.; 327-9860; www.marinationmobile.com) serves Hawaiian street cuisine. From the owners who brought us the Marination Station on Capitol Hill and Marination Ma Kai on Alki, Marination offers many of the same menu options as its sister restaurants.
We ordered the sliders, tacos and tots. The tacos and sliders were delicious and served with different ingredients based on the meat choice. They boasted several different flavors in each bite. The tacos dripped with flavor and we were glad to have retrieved napkins before sitting down. Tacos were priced individually, providing the option to order several different meat selections. We selected the miso ginger chicken and kalua pork tacos, and preferred the kalua pork overall.
The aloha tots were the most memorable feature of the meal, featuring kalua pork, kimchi sauce, Japanese mayo, scallions and a fried egg on top. Unexpectedly, the aloha tots were large and practically a meal on their own. Although we ordered large portions, everything was delicious and no food was left behind.
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