On Tuesday nights, you can enjoy Poppy's terrific thali plate (10 small Indian-inspired dishes) for only $35 for two people.
Thirty-five dollars doesn’t go very far in Seattle’s current dining scene, but occasionally — if you hit the right place on the right night — it can still buy dinner for two.
Take Artusi, for example. Our most read cheap-eats review in 2018 was about the two pasta entrees and a bottle of wine for $35 every Sunday and Monday at this Capitol Hill spot.
A similar deal exists at Central Smoke in the Central District: Every Sunday and Tuesday, $35 buys you a quarter-pound each of spare ribs, smoked brisket and pulled pork along with the fixings and two cocktails or two glasses of wine.
Such deals run on the slowest nights (Sunday-Tuesday) when restaurateurs need to fill seats. Many, many seats. They’re more of a dinner bargain than most happy hours or Taco Tuesdays. Which brings us to the latest $35 dining deal for two: the Thali Tuesday at Poppy on Capitol Hill.
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The deal: The thali at Poppy is an assortment of 10 small Indian-inspired soups, salads, pickles, sides and naan bread, served on a platter. Usually the price for a thali is $30 per person, but on Tuesdays, thali for two costs only $35. You also get to add either an appetizer (one choice: eggplant fries) or any dessert. The menu rotates frequently. Entree choices include broiled paneer cheese topped with maitake mushrooms, leeks and smoked tomato vinaigrette; or roast chicken. (On the night I went, the latter — citrusy, mildly spicy chunks of white and dark meat — was the better dinner option.)
The nine sides accompanying the entree offered a range of bright, fragrant, acidic and herbaceous flavors with earthy, citrusy spices: Offerings included coconut-and-carrot soup brimming with fall spices; addictive mashed chickpeas with preserved lemons; nutty black rice with yam bits; and the Indian condiment honeycrisp raita (blended with ginger, cumin, cilantro, mint, black pepper and red chili deggi mirch). There were misses — the bland cheese paneer and both salads (one with pomegranate, walnut and red cabbage; another with pear, rose and olive) were unremarkable. But these are minor quibbles given the bounty.
Eggplant fries or dessert? Many patrons will opt for the popular eggplant fries, but they’re mere vessels for the buckwheat honey and sea salt they’re coated with. Dessert options are more interesting, such as a ginger porter cake with roasted pineapple, orange mousse and honeycomb; or a spiced carrot halvah tart with chai custard sauce and pumpkin-seed brittle. We opted for almond sage cake with fruit compote, which tasted like a decadent biscotti with the scoop of burnt honey bourbon ice cream.
Tip: Thali Tuesday used to be an even better deal when it came with a bottle of wine. An alternative is to order your Thali Tuesday at the bar during happy hour, where you can get the drink specials: $5 beer, $7 wine and $2 off on cocktails. If you can’t make Thali Tuesday, another option is to hit its $9 thali bar special during happy hour (Sunday-Thursday, 5-6:30 p.m.); it’s a smaller thali but still one of the best bar deals on Capitol Hill.
Poppy, 622 Broadway E. (Capitol Hill), Seattle; Sunday-Thursday 5-9:30 p.m.; Friday-Saturday 5-10 p.m.; closed Mondays in January; 206-324-1108, poppyseattle.com