I’ve been struggling for the last week or so, knowing that I needed to write about a recent trip to University Village-adjacent 50 North but not quite moved to put fingers to keyboard. And I should want to, given that it’s a new restaurant – just open since December – and I love being able to explore new places and give y’all the inside scoop.
The food certainly is good, if not spectacular. The calamari was deliciously chewy and lightly fried, served with a nicely tangy lemon garlic aioli. We were excited to try the Copper River Sockeye Salmon, as it had just made its first appearance of the season the day prior. I found the fillet to be quite overcooked, though the creamy corn broth with zucchini, rainbow carrots, fennel, snap peas, and fresh corn was just the right spring-y accompaniment.
The Grilled Steak Salad had a delicious sweet tang courtesy of a rhubarb gastrique, with slices of perfectly pink steak atop sautéed greens, spring onions, zucchini, and more rainbow carrots. A trio of dishes that I didn’t sample myself, but mom and sis can attest to their deliciousness. The sweet makes another appearance in the Pomegranate Short Rib; Dungeness Crab Cakes are made even better with bacon and Granny Smith apples; and finally Grilled Local Asparagus with goat cheese and more – you guessed it – pomegranate, this time in vinaigrette form.
50 North’s motto is “great good food” and they pride themselves on natural and organic products, and their solidly good food reflects that. My difficulty with the place is that this good food is presented in a bright, shiny, new space that is perfectly serviceable, but doesn’t seem to have much personality. I’d probably be more interested in the Vashon Island sibling restaurant our server described, The Hardware Store. I haven’t been, but a space that old (121 years, apparently) naturally has a bit more character. The 50 North space was just a bit too flat to make me feel like I was really settling in for a good meal; more that I happened to luck into well-prepared food on my way home from a shopping excursion at U-Village. Maybe less a destination than a good option if one happens to be in the neighborhood.
I know that in a recent post I said that I needed to give a restaurant a second shot before judging it, but perhaps I’ll revise that somewhat. With re:public it was the case that I heard from several sources that it was fantastic, and that I needed to give the restaurant another try. Such is not the case with 50 North, at least not yet. If I hear that I’ve misjudged, for sure I’ll be back.