Saturday, May 30, 2015

French dip review: Emory's on Silver Lake, Everett, WA 5/25/2015 5 of 5

It was the Monday of Memorial Day weekend and my wife and I were driving back home from a long and great weekend at home in the San Juan Islands with my parents and family on Guemes.  It was approaching dinner time and I was starting to get hungry and talked Jessi into stopping at this place in Everett called Emory's on Silver Lake.  I'd driven past Emory's on a number of occasions and it looked to be nice.  To boot, my friends Brian and Lindsay who live in the neighborhood near it, had told me a year or two back that they had a the French dip.  Plus, Foursquare gave it a score of 8.4 of 10.0 so I felt compelled...and hungry.

The last review I'd written, for Slugger's, was purely text and I'd enjoyed that writing experience.  I wanted to do it again, and to eat my favorite sandwich type.

We got to Emory's and the parking was big and there were a few cars there.  I was happy they were open on the holiday.  They are located right next to a small park (and a busy road) and the small Silver Lake.  Silver Lake isn't all that beautiful or anything but the restaurant location no less looks modern and a bit fancy.  Water-front usually helps.

We had our dog, Remus, with us and he needed to be walked from the long car ride.  Jessica needed to use the restroom so I told her I'd walk the dog and meet her inside afterwards.  I took a quick stroll and when I came into the restaurant, Jessica was talking to two young hostesses and I told her (them) that I needed to use the restroom.  They were still chatting when I came back so my first impression was a good one: the staff seemed nice, friendly and helpful.

We were offered many good seating options.  We selected the outdoor, covered, heated patio option which was very nice, right next to their big fireplace.  We got the SW corner table looking out at the lake.  It had a great vibe / ambiance: there and we were surrounded by many faux plants. I didn't find them to be tacky; they livened up the place a bit and being close to the water was nice, too.

I ordered a Bloody Mary and Jessica got a glass of white wine.

The menu was quite extensive and they had very many beer and wine choices and their Happy Hour choices looked good, too, but we weren't there during Happy Hour time.

I ordered their French dip, which sounded great.  When it came, the size was very large and the medium to medium rare meat was quite plentiful and stacked high.  The bread and portion size was huge.  It had *very good* melted cheese on it, which didn't overwhelm: it added to the experience.  The sandwich alone was a delicious, crunchy, chewy, delicious, beefy 5 of 5.

The test was dipping the delicious sandwich into the dark jus to see if the jus helped or hindered.  It helped, which was amazing and blew my mind how good it was.  It was delicious.  Overall a 5 of 5 in all categories.  No complaints, I wouldn't change a thing other than the size being big but that's not complaint-worthy.  A dainty person (not me) may not be able to eat the whole thing.

Another very big benefit of this place was that I was able to substitute fries for vegatables.  I asked if I could substitute the fries for a salad but the upcharge at $5.50 was too rich for my blood so I got "vegetables", which wound up being perfectly prepared (al dente) broccolini and asparagas with some butter flavor.  It was nice to eat these veggies like fries with my fingers and feel like I was being slightly healthier.

This was a great meal and a place I liked a lot.  Jessica got the Chicken Tikka which was only fine. She said the rice was delicious, though.  We liked our experience and I'd definitely go back for this cheese, garlicky French dip specifically.

On the drive home I told my buddy Brian that we had been there and he started claiming that they had health department complaints or some such thing but I didn't see evidence of this on the internet and our experience was great.  I highly recommend the Emory's French dip sandwich for it's garlicky,  cheesy goodness and the fun of sitting near the water in the city.

Bird's eye view of the meal.  Big size.

Sandwich with dark jus, nice greens on the side.

Close up of jus and veggies.

Wood skewer.

Close-up of meet and cheese and airy, chewy, crunchy great bread. 

The money shot.

Close up of good, al dente greens.

All gone.

View from our seat of Silver Lake through a bug mesh thing.

Our boy Remus with cookies.

Grandma Jane and Remus.

Ari (upper left), me and Remus.

View from the north beach of Guemes Island that weekend.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

2 of 5 DeliciScore™ (Not Quite There) Awarded to Sluggers Sports Bar for their Burger dip Sandwich in Seattle, WA on this 14th day of May, 2015 - When you're in a pinch.

Finding Sluggers.  I went out to lunch from work today.  I am working in downtown Seattle these days,  near the stadiums.  I’d been looking online at French dip locations in my work-neighborhood, you know, making my plan, and read that Sluggers—a sports bar down the road from work...I’d been to before—had a French dip…and a burger dip as well.  I decided I’d go there.

On my way out the door, not fully sure I was ready to eat and review a French dip because I didn’t have my good camera on me and my cell phone camera is broken and only allows me to take selfies at this time, which just isn't workable, I walked past the cafeteria / convenience store on the ground floor of my building and noticed—coincidentally-- that they were having a French dip special.  A Thursday thing, I guess.  I’ll save that review for a future time (stay tuned).

I walked down the street looking for Sluggers but couldn’t find it and kept walking, and walking, and walking until I realized that I’d totally missed it and hope was lost.  I finally found what looked to be a suitable alternative establishment, Jimmy’s on First, after passing many a hot dog, kettle korn, and taco stand. 

At Jimmy's, another serendipitous coincidence presented itself: Jimmy’s had a French dip, too.  I was surrounded.  Jimmy's, just North of Safeco Field, was a somewhat swanky but really expensive place.  The prices on the menu were outlandish and nothing sounded good.  I asked the waiter what was good, and in an extremely cliche way responded, "Everything is good."  I was bored, drank my water, waited for a while thinking I'd just get a burger, tried to summon the waiter, couldn't find him, then decided to up and leave.

Jimmy's had a French dip on their menu but the prices were so high it just wasn't worth it.  That place wasn't worth it.  Jimmy's prices were similar to those one would see in a movie theater / ballpark, likely due to their proximity to Safeco Field.  Brief side note: the Mariners—currently 15 wins and 18 losses are on a home stand playing the Boston Red Sox.  Editorial note: the Mariners lost the game that night 2-1.

I was walking back from my long walk, towards work, completely pissed, hungry, and dejected.  I was pissed at the high prices at Jimmy’s and thinking that maybe I’d have to settle for that French dip in the deli in our building, which I really didn't want.  But.  Then.  I spotted Sluggers!  The tables had turned, a strike of good luck, I thought!  I realized why I hadn’t seen Sluggers on the walk down: it’s a very narrow place, I’d guess maybe 12 feet wide, and nested right next to the Elysian Fields restaurant which is quite large.  So I ran across the street and entered.

Inside Sluggers it was pretty empty and quiet in there: there was just a single seated table of other dudes eating lunch and I sat at the bar and handed an ice water by the barkeep. 

The menu and ordering.  It didn't take long to look at the menu and spot my muse, the Burger dip.  At just $8.25, served with tots, fries, or salad (I got tots) and topped with mushrooms and onions, it was a screaming deal compared to what I'd seen at Jimmy's.  I ordered it immediately without much thought.  The bartender gave me the option of adding cheese to the sandwich but--following my rule of no alterations to the chef’s intention as documented on the menu--I did not alter said  sandwich unit.

Arrival and initial taste.  The Burger dip came out pretty rapidly and looked okay.  It had blue-tassled toothpick skewers.  I tasted the sandwich by itself (no jus) for starters to get a notion of its quality.  It was a 2 of 5 (at best): it had a bit of a burnt-meat taste, it wasn’t too juicy, the meat was only okay and was kind of dry.  It was bland.  The onions and mushrooms didn’t add much to the overall experience either.  The sandwich was very flat in overall quality, the meat probably over-cooked. 

The plunge.  I dipped the Burger dip into the jus to see what was going on there and for the hopes the jus could save the dull concoction.  Upon taste, I struggled with the score: was it at 2?  A 3?  A 2.5?  I knew it wasn’t that good.  3 is the best that it possibly could have realistically been.  I’d say it’s a 2.5 to be right in the middle.  It just passes as a reasonable, somewhat acceptable but not all that good burger dip.  It was only okay.

I do not like being overly critical about things (or maybe I love to?) and love food a lot (or maybe I just like it?  No, I really love it) but this was just an okay sandwich.  It gets a barely passing—just barely—grade.  I could be mean, cruel, evil, etc. and score the meal as a 2 but I don't think I'll do that.  I’ll say it’s 2.4 to be nice and let that round down to a 2.  That way, I can blame it on math, logic, and the system and I, personally, don't have to take the fall.  

Other. The tots were fine and as you’d expect, crispy and good: 3 of 5.  I dipped them into French’s yellow mustard only.  I’d typically use a 50/50 ketchup/mustard system but didn't roll that way today.

Summary.  What’s against this burger dip is that it was somewhat burnt, had dry, overdone meat, and the toppings were not value-added.  The jus was only okay, definitely not remarkable at a 2 of 5.  I wouldn’t recommend this burger dip to anyone but odds are if you were totally hammered it would taste fine.  This is not a standout sandwich in any way.  I would refer you to the Kidd Valley or Pump House burger dips instead.  They are way better and more buttery.  And in the case of Kidd Valley burger dip, more garlicky.