McMenamins Six Arms

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If you’re looking for a mean pint of brew and a tasty meal, McMenamins Six Arms is the pub for you. It’s not the most super fabulous place in the whole world, but then again it’s not trying to be. Six Arms serves a mind-boggling (and gut-rumbling) array of comfort food gems, all of which pair up nicely with McMenamins lovingly crafted beers. Mmmmmmm, beer.

” The perfect reward for hiking up a hill in the rain “

Downtown Seattle is a nice place. It’s clean, cosmopolitan, down to Earth, and ever so slightly odd… but in a good way. On Labor Day weekend, however, the whole place transforms into a surreal, nonsensical alien landscape filled with mysterious clouds of body odor and people wearing elaborate costumes. This is mostly due to PAX Prime taking over the entire convention center and many of the surrounding buildings, but Bumbershoot also plays a part in the weird-ification process. The best way to describe it? Imagine being in a high school locker room on Halloween during a zombie apocalypse. It’s like that.

I found myself – along with a few friends – right in the middle of this chaos during lunch time. Every single sandwich shop and fast food joint in sight was packed to overflowing, and we knew we had to get away from the crowd somehow. Somebody suggested McMenamins Six Arms, a local pub that was just a short walk up the hill and nicely separated from the mayhem surrounding the convention center. We all agreed that this sounded dandy, so we forced our weary feet to start walking. After 10 or 15 minutes of minor uphill huffing and puffing, we arrived.

Unfortunately, the beer doesn't actually come out of those pipes.

Unfortunately, the beer doesn’t actually come out of those pipes.

We were seated immediately on our arrival to Six Arms and given an extensive beer menu to lust over. I couldn’t resist the allure of the Hill Top IPA, and I also ordered a Reuben sandwich as a garnish. The rest of the table ordered an assortment of burgers, soups, and of course beer. The Hill Top IPA arrived in front of me in a couple minutes, and it turned out to be hoppy and refreshing without being too overpowering. It was pretty much the perfect reward for hiking up a hill in the rain.

One is never too old to appreciate tater tots.

One is never too old to appreciate tater tots.

The food was good, although perhaps not quite as good as the beer. That might just be my own perception but hey, I’m the one writing the blog here. My Reuben was flavorful and piled high, but the pastrami was dangerously ordinary. My tater tots were fried to extra-crispy perfection; I enjoyed them thoroughly in spite of the fact that they were ever so slightly oily. None of this of course slowed me down from clearing my entire plate.. er, basket I should say.. and I was pleasantly satisfied after my meal. The assortment of burgers around the table were reported to be delicious, and all of them yielded prolific amounts of juice as they were consumed. I’m not convinced over-juiciness is a good thing, but since I didn’t hear any complaints I’ll let it slide.

That is one shiny bun.

That is one shiny bun.

Ultimately, McMenamins is exactly the kind of quirky place I look for when I’m on the road. Local beer and comfort food both rank very highly on my list of critical restaurant criteria, and this place does both very well. I won’t say it was the very best meal I’ve ever had in my entire life, but McMenamins earns an above average 60 out of 67 kegs of beer – a perfectly respectable score. I will definitely be looking this place up again the next time I find myself surrounded by unwashed Millennials wearing Pokémon costumes.

McMenamins Six Arms
300 East Pike Street
Seattle, WA 98122
(206) 223-1698
www.mcmenamins.com

Six Arms on Urbanspoon


Standard Restaurant Review Disclaimer
The ambiguous and illogical rating system used in this review is not intended to be pinpoint accurate. It’s only there to give you a general idea of how much I like or dislike an establishment, and it also gives me an excuse to write silly things. If my rating system angers and distracts you, there’s a good chance you have control issues. I would also like to point out that I am not a highly qualified restaurant reviewer person, nor do I particularly care what that job is called. If you were under the impression that perhaps I was one of those people, consider your hopes dashed. Lastly, wow! You read the entire disclaimer. You get a gold star on your chart today.


Village California Bistro and Wine Bar

meter-good-greatI recently got the chance to have a quick bite at Village Bistro, and I was pleasantly surprised. This typically Californian bistro is located right in the middle of Santana Row, which also happens to be typically Californian. The menu has surprisingly good variety, and in spite of being a bit overly faux-sophisticated the food is well crafted and not too fancy.

” ‘Bistro’ means ‘we have small tables’ in secret restaurant language “

I dread going to Santana Row. Once I’m there I like it just fine, but trying to find a parking spot is excruciating. Once I finally managed to ditch my car in an unauthorized area, I strolled over to Village Bistro to meet some people for lunch. Ok, so it’s actually called VILLAGE California Bistro and Wine Bar, which is even wordier and more disjointed than one of my restaurant reviews. I have no idea why they insist on stylizing VILLAGE in all caps. There’s no need to yell at me, I believe you that it’s in a village. Just calm down.

In spite of the weekend lunchtime crowd that constantly swarms Santana Row, I and the rest of my party were seated quickly in a fairly cramped booth. I guess “bistro” means “we have small tables” in secret restaurant language. Our waiter and his perfectly sculpted beard stopped by right away and got us set up with drinks. I couldn’t take my eyes off the beard. It was amazing. It took me a while to figure out what I wanted to eat, but I eventually settled on a turkey Reuben with fries. We put our order in, pondered the endless stream of beautiful people wandering past the window, and before we knew it our food had arrived.

If you've never seen a turkey Reuben before, now you can say you have.

If you’ve never seen a turkey Reuben before, now you can say you have.

To my surprise and delight, the turkey Reuben was outstanding. I’d put it in the top 20% of the best Reubens I’ve ever had; the turkey was lean, well seasoned, and not the slightest bit dry. The French fries were above average, and the oddly purple sauerkraut was delicious. Directly across the table from me was the world’s juiciest steak “banh mi” sandwich; I was fortunate enough to try a bite of it and it was excellent. I’ve had better Vietnamese-style sandwiches before, but this one was plenty tasty. I’d be happy to order one, and in fact I probably will the next time I visit.

I liked Village… I mean VILLAGE Bistro (and California thingy and whatever else they said they were) and I would enjoy eating here again sometime. I rate this place 20 out of 25 unnecessarily capitalized letters – certainly worth a visit but not quite what I would consider a destination. Their central location within Santana Row is convenient, assuming you are already there, their versions of culinary favorites are different enough to be interesting, and the overall quality of their food is excellent. Nothing can match the quality of that beard though. Nothing.

VILLAGE California Bistro and Wine Bar
378 Santana Row #1035
San Jose, CA 95128
(408) 248-9091
www.thevillagebistro.net
Village California Bistro & Wine Bar on Urbanspoon


It's just so adorably Californian I could pinch its little cheeks.

It’s just so adorably Californian I could pinch its little cheeks.


Standard Restaurant Review Disclaimer
The ambiguous and illogical rating system used in this review is not intended to be pinpoint accurate. It’s only there to give you a general idea of how much I like or dislike an establishment, and it also gives me an excuse to write silly things. If my rating system angers and distracts you, there’s a good chance you have control issues. I would also like to point out that I am not a highly qualified restaurant reviewer person, nor do I particularly care what that job is called. If you were under the impression that perhaps I was one of those people, consider your hopes dashed. Lastly, wow! You read the entire disclaimer. You get a gold star on your chart today.