Sunday, September 14, 2008


After the Genius Awards, Sarah and I hustled to Poppy post-haste! A 9:00 table opened up for one of their preview dinners.

It was way bigger than it looked (at least to me) when it was all covered up. It looked really nice inside - clean, simple and retro-modern. I think Kerf did the cabinetry. Very beautiful. The table was set with Heath ceramics. Surrounding us was beautiful brick, sleek wood, laminate and ceiling tile that looked straight out of Boeing circa '61.

It felt comfortable but something was off. I can't put my finger on it. Maybe it's just the spirit of all the Elite alcoholics from days gone by still roaming the space.

I guess I didn't really know what to expect from Jerry Traunfeld. I never had the opportunity to get out to the Herbfarm. At Poppy, you are served a thali of the day. You choose a meat or vegetarian option. Then you receive a tray full of ramekins full of that day's food. Ours included potatoes, rice, halibut, carrots, chicken, chickpeas, peas, watermelon and squash soup. My favorite way to eat is tiny bites of everything, so I LOVE this. And a thali (with plenty of food for a hearty appetite) will run around $32. I bet that 2 people could each a get a thali and drink or two for around $100 and walk away feeling satisfied.

Thali-style service is common in India but a bit unusual in Seattle. I'm so used to family style that the thought of a tray of food -- just for me -- felt very decadent.
There's also a large bar that will be great for lighter fare and a bit less fussy.
I'm sure with Jerry's talent and reputation, Poppy will do great business and be an anchor as the North end of Broadway continues to revitalize.
Update: Okay, I was talking to another friend who went Sunday and I think I figured out what felt "off". For as beautiful as the food is, as nice as it was presented, I never had a "wow!" moment. I still remember the first time I had Joseph Margate's lamb. I think of Matt Dillon's pork (hey! keep it clean) at least a couple times month. From all I've heard about Jerry Traunfeld, I expected to have a huge crush a first bite. I'd go back for sure. But none of the food I ate will stick in my head like some other meals I've had.

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