Postcard From Tom: Seattle

Sunday, August 3, 2003

Washington Post food critic Tom Sietsema's monthly report from the road.

Seattle is a food lover's paradise, brimming with luscious ingredients-and restaurants that do them proud, including these three:

LAMPREIA (2400 First Ave., 206-443-3301)

From a small open kitchen in a room of quiet grace, chef/owner Scott Carsberg spins gold from whatever looks best in the market. Right now, that translates into white peaches with aged balsamic vinegar and buffalo mozzarella, shaved cantaloupe wrapped around sweet Dungeness crab for a "cannelloni" of distinction, and a tasting menu elegantly built around tomatoes. The pastas are light and elegant and the veal chop, roasted with lemon and rosemary, is a first-class piece of meat.

Dinner entrees $24.50-$37

MARJORIE (2331 Second Ave., 206-441-9842)

Reading the menu of this fledgling restaurant in trendy Belltown is like inspecting a world map. France is represented by steak frites, India with outsized onion rings served with curried ketchup, and Thailand with lettuce cups filled with silky prawns and herbs. No matter the destination, you're likely to encounter something satisfying. The narrow outdoor patio, shaded with trees, is the place to hang in good weather.

Dinner entrees $15-$25

SALUMI (309 Third Ave. S., 206-621-8772)

Lines at lunch are inevitable at this skinny, family-run food shop in Pioneer Square, where the signature house-cured meats reveal Old World charm (make mine spicy salami or lamb prosciutto). Too bad there are only a dozen seats to accomodate all the fans. Owner Armandino Batali isn't the only food expert in the family: His son, Mario, presides over some of the hottest restaurants in Manhattan and stars in his own TV show on the Food Network. Sandwiches $6.50-$8.50.

© 2003 The Washington Post Company