I’ve been meaning to write about Poppy for a few years now. After taking shelter at home all day from the snowpocalypse we took a long walk down to Broadway and I committed to following up with a review tonight.
Poppy opened in Fall 2008, after Jerry Traunfeld left his 20 year post at the Herbfarm (and its $250/person dining tab) to open a more casual restaurant in Capitol Hill. It took us a few months to make our first visit, after listening to Gio rave about his perpetual (almost weekly) dinners there. Once we did though, I was hooked.
The food at Poppy centers around the concept of a thali. Contrary to the Indian curries + rice on aluminum tray (or banana leaf), Poppy’s thalis are a Pacific Northwest-inspired assortment. They usually include a soup, a few salads, a pickle, naan, and one or two larger “mains” (both vegetarian and non-vegetarian options). Lauren and I have found it best to split a thali, which leaves us some room for an appetizer and/or a dessert (both worthwhile).
The appetizer list has a few mainstays, including one of our favorites, eggplant fries with honey. Lauren normally hates honey, but cannot refuse these fries. Sometimes we recognize items we’ve make from the Herbal Kitchen (which Jerry will sign for you if purchased at Poppy).
For the thali, Poppy is very flexible about letting you mix and match between entrees, sides, etc. in order to fully customize your plate. If available, the scallops and black cod are both amazing, and they do a great job with yams and mushrooms. Here are some of what you might get if you are lucky:
Full (10 item) vegetarian thali (clockwise from top):
goat cheese blintzes with chestnut and chanterelles
triple celery salad (celery root, celery stalk, celery seeds)
persimmon, radicchio, and citron salad
local black truffle, leek, and sunchoke risotto
cauliflower, sesame and fennel soup
wild mushroom-marjoram bread pudding
center-left – brussels sprouts with crisp shallot
center-right – gingered burdock pickle
(hidden behind naan) – fingerlings with lavender and mint
Alaskan scallops with pork belly and vanilla-thyme quince
A thali for chilly nights (Jan 2009, clockwise from top):
four-seed chickpea salad
carrot soup with start anise and cinnamon
black cod with beet-wasabi sauce and burdock
Yukon gold potatoes and cashews with clove and cardamom
yam and sesame fritter
Berkshire pork ribs with pear, parsnip, and sunchoke
spot shrimp, endive, and grapefruit salad
center-top – lemon fennel pickle
center – cauliflower gratin
(not pictured) – nigella naan
A thali for December sun (2008, clockwise from top):
mushroom marjoram bread pudding
quail from the tandoor with pomegranate walnut sauce
shaved cauliflower salad with Buddha hand
persimmon, fennel, and chervil salad
chestnut soup with cardamom, vanilla, and bay
spot shrimp and fingerlings in garlic almond sauce
center-left – satsuma mustard pickle
center-right – rosemary-ginger yams with spiced coconut, cranberry cigar
Tonight we had room for one last bite. Usually we opt for Poppy’s house-made ice cream, which is the best on the Hill (sorry Molly), but given the chill outside we opted for chocolate. The torte is petite in size, but quite rich and satisfying.
Chocolate caramel torte with orange peel and cocoa nib crunch
It’s great to have a restaurant of this caliber on the Hill. I’ve taken a number of guests there for the unique presentation, rotating menu, Northwest flair, and fun setting. We still haven’t managed to get there for happy hour, but I’ve heard rave reviews on that as well.
622 Broadway E (at Roy)
Seattle, WA 98102
Tu-Th, Sun: 5:30PM-10:00PM (Dinner)
Fri-Sat: 5:30PM-11:00PM (Dinner)
Bar menu for an extra hour each day