The Kingfish Cafe
602 19th Avenue East
Seattle, Washington 98112
Southern food tends to be a tempting but inaccessible genre for my tastes as a vegetarian- everything looks delicious... but meat and pork fat seem to be everywhere.
The Kingfish Cafe has taken southern food and given it enough newfangled influence to make it accessible for a vegetarian. Meat eaters will find delicious looking versions classics like pork chops, battered catfish and fried chicken, but there are some real gems nestled in for the vegetarians too.
I started the meal with an appetizer of Fried Green Tomatoes. They came to the table coated in a light and gritty herbed cornmeal batter, and drizzled with both garlic and chipotle aiolis . Arranged on top were three plump hushpuppies... dense and moist and a little bit sweet, they had a deep brown crust and were outstanding. The entire plate was sprinkled with chopped tomatoes and parsley.
Next came the main dish. I ordered the Hoppin' John Griddlecakes. I was thrilled when they arrived and the plate was huge and half covered in massive green salad. The griddle cakes were delicious- black eyes peas and rice and roasted veggies mashed into patties and deep fried until crusty, then garnished with salsa and sour cream.
I am easily seduced by a large salad, and this was no exception. I felt like a rabbit in an endless garden... plenty of wild greens, no need to ration or hoard. My one complaint was that it was slightly overdressed, and by the end of such a joyous salad orgy, my tongue was feeling ravaged from so much vinegary dressing. I would ask for the dressing on the side next time.
I enjoyed the atmosphere, which while still casual, had the slightly giddy buzz of people dressed with a little more effort than what you usually see around Seattle.
In addition, there was a visually appealing bar, and a delicious looking dessert menu.
The Kingfish Cafe is a wonderful restaurant to have in the arsenal of places to go with a mixed group and ensure an impressive and satisfying meal for both the meat eaters and the vegetarians alike.