Here’s an exciting book announcement, if you’ll pardon my pride in being one of the editors: The Fearless Critic Seattle Restaurant Guide is now published and has hit the shelves of bookstores in the Seattle area.
Through the efforts of a carefully chosen panel of restaurant reviewers, the book offers brutally honest ratings and reviews of 250 Seattle-area restaurants covering a wide spectrum—from Canton Noodle House to Canlis, from Hiroki to the Herbfarm.
Readers will find a variety of lists with numerical ratings, including top picks based on food and feel. Critiques are honest and discriminating. For example, in the food category, only 16 restaurants rate 9 or higher on a 10-point scale, with Anchovies & Olives, Cafe Juanita, Crush, Joule, and Spinasse among those at the top.
Other lists rate restaurants on their beverage programs, while readers will also appreciate lists based on cuisine and location, as well as special features such as vegetarian-friendly, kid-friendly, and late-night hours.
What I especially like about the book are the full-page reviews of each restaurant. They’re easily readable, and often irreverent, but always honest. Going beyond the PR and the polish, these reviews reflect an insider perspective that Robin Goldstein, Fearless Critic’s founder and editor-in-chief, describes as “Just between you and me, putting aside its reputation, what do you really think of this restaurant?”
So while the Seattle panel admits surprise at the quality of Tom Douglas’ Serious Pie, it also challenges Etta’s as “now solely the domain of tourists and Seattleites who want to treat out-of-towners to seafood but don’t want to put too much effort into doing so.” And while wowed by the wine list, the panel proclaims Wild Ginger’s food to be “as dated as its logo’s Orientalist font.”
While the Fearless Critic Seattle Restaurant Guide includes most of the big-name restaurants in Seattle, I especially appreciate the inclusion of many lesser-known eateries, including some in outlying areas. Look for such places as Noodle Boat in Issaquah, Henry’s Taiwan in Bellevue (and Seattle), and Mirak in Federal Way.
The book ($12.95) is now on sale at all major Seattle-area bookstores, including Elliott Bay Book Company, Barnes & Noble, Borders; other bookstores, food and wine stores, and retail stores around the metro area; it’s also available online at powells.com, amazon.com, and bn.com.
Also note that the Fearless Critic Seattle Restaurant Guide has a companion website that’s extremely useful. Here you’ll find free access to ratings and sortable lists. And a nominal subscription fee of $2 per month or $10 per year unlocks the complete text of the book along with advanced search functionality—with such features as “What’s Open Now” that will show users in real time which restaurants are open at any given moment.