Down the coast from Mount Vernon towards Seattle is a small city called Edmonds. Until recently, we never went there, except to catch the ferry to Kingston, home of Heronswood Nursery (now moved to the East Coast) and the Main Street Ale House (provider of the best sweet potato fries EVER). But a couple of years ago Edmonds opened its new Center for the Arts, and suddenly it’s become a destination. We went to see Ladysmith Black Mambazo there last weekend, and found ourselves needing to find a restaurant on a Sunday night in a very quiet downtown. Luckily for us, The Loft Lounge just opened.
This is a really cool place: very narrow inside (it was hard to get out with people sitting at the front tables) but with a nice looking bar, a cozy upstairs with a slanty ceiling, and a big, lush patio full of bamboo and heaters. We sat upstairs, and while our table had a great bird’s-eye view of the bar, it also had no light. C’est la vie.
We started with cocktails and an appetizer: a “Mediterranean Manhattan” with Woodford Reserve, an Italian liqueur and lemon juice, a very decent sidecar with lots of lemon pulp, and a plate of fried zucchini that blew us away. The zucchini was perfectly cooked, not mushy, and the breading was crisp. It came with little dollops of pesto, a smear of red pepper sauce, and just a bit of goat cheese crumbled on top. We were immediately sold.
For entrees we ordered two of the “Loft Plates” – crab cakes for me, scallops for him, and glasses of white wine. Our pictures of these are terrible, because the table was so dark, but you can take my word for it, the food was far better than it looks here.
The crab cakes confirmed my good opinion of whoever’s running the deep fryer here: they were perfectly crisp but not greasy, and were mostly crab meat with some rather nifty seasoning: I could swear I tasted caraway in there somewhere. They came with a citrus-fennel sauce and a little pile of salad with lots of chopped green onion in it, plus some roasted fingerling potatoes. Nicely conceived and executed.
The scallops were good as well: a very generous plate of large sea scallops, not overcooked, with vegetables and a strong balsamic sauce, and big crispy pieces of prosciutto sitting on top. The main problem was not having bread to mop up the sauce, so I lent Jon a potato to help him out.
Service was good, but the timing had been a little off (there only looked to be one waitress for the whole place), so we decided not to get dessert. We did get espresso, and I was impressed: fresh and hot, some noticeable crema on the top, and not too much coffee in each cup. One of the best espressos I’ve had in a long time (note: Seattle may be the coffee city, but an awful lot of places don’t know how to serve a single shot – they arrive cold, or tasting like a tiny cup of drip).
Apparently this place has only been around a month or so. If you live in the area, go check it out! Make sure they stay in business, because we have more concerts to go to in Edmonds, and we’ll need dinner. And drinks.