The Blue Glass in Ballard offers a neighborhood feel, "global comfort food," cocktails that tip toward the trendy and a wine list that is accessible.
When Patti Bellafato and Dan Cowan decided to go into business together last year, they set about creating a place with a neighborhood feel but one that was also “a little nicer than, say, a corner pub,” Bellafato explained. That’s pretty much what you’ll find at The Blue Glass, along with attentive servers and bartenders who know how to chat.
Bellafato and Cowan have long résumés in the biz. Cowan owns the Tractor Tavern. Cowan managed Saltoro for the past few years. They were both looking for something new.
So when they found the space, formerly home of Tiger Tale, they saw possibilities — along with an easy build-out. It’s in Ballard, but it’s set away from that neighborhood’s downtown nightlife district, giving it a cozy, inviting feel.
The menu: They call it “global comfort food.” What that means is variety: Southern Hush Puppies, French salad, Vietnamese fish cakes. While that mix may strike some as mixed-up, Bellafato says their aim was simply to “make a lot of yummy things.” The burger features roasted poblanos and salsa; the fries come not with plain old ketchup but with tomato jam; the cocktails tip toward the trendy, but the wine list is accessible.
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A couple at the bar the night we visited had a lovely time with a mélange of vegetables, each one pickled in a different brine ($3 each), along with a plate of Zoe’s meats ($4) and Tall Grass Bakery baguette slices ($2). We dug the mini muffuletta, even though it was a bit too “mini.” And the Nicoise hit the spot. For a more substantial meal, there are grilled prawns ($15) or mole chicken ($16).
What to write home about: Grilled cauliflower ($5). We know — it sounds crazy. But the dish of lightly charred florets was both unique and tasty. Heck, it’s even healthy. It’s served with grated Parmesan and a lemony gremolata, through which we addictively dragged every forkful.
The setting: These people like their wood. The distinctive bar is made from sorghum. The paneling behind it is sapele. The lighting is soft, and the walls are a lovely blue. Just right for a date. There’s also a TV, in case someone wants to watch the game.
Summing up: Two of us feasted on a big plate of crab Hush Puppies, mini muffuletta with arugula salad, tuna Nicoise and what seemed like a whole head of cauliflower for $35.
Maureen O’Hagan: 206-464-2562 or firstname.lastname@example.org