In the snazzy new Amazon complex in Denny Triangle, Bar Noroeste’s nightclub feel and chichi bar food fits the neighborhood’s new clientele.
Take a seat, any seat at Bar Noroeste, and wherever you are, like it or not, you can see the future of Seattle.
Beyond the tall glass windows, the city erupts in scaffolding and concrete. Noroeste is located on Seventh Avenue in the new stylish Amazon complex in Denny Triangle, where thousands more Amazonians are expected to shuttle in the coming years.
Opened last month, Noroeste is the latest bar from chef Josh Henderson, who also opened Great State Burger, his Shake-Shack-inspired joint, next door.
With Noroeste, Henderson envisioned a sleek and sexy after-hours hangout that the likes of Denny Triangle have never seen before.
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It’s slotted in a narrow space that could be a hallway in other office buildings, but it’s hard to miss.
The music is nightclub-loud with trip-hop thumping. The room is dim, with blue aquarium lights underneath the bar. This was 6 p.m. on a Wednesday.
The bar food is an interpretation of a taqueria with locally sourced ingredients, though Henderson said calling it “Mexican food would be a disservice to Mexicans.”
I’m glad Henderson said that because I thought his eggplant guac was a disservice to guacamoles. The watery, pureed dip lacked the creamy, rich texture of the real deal.
Other offerings fared better. The $1 happy-hour taco (charred pork shoulder with onion crema, topped with fried potato for a crunchy texture) is fancier than at any Taco Tuesday.
The venison crudo was one of the most memorable noshes I’ve had this year, a mound of silky, minced meat with pumpkin seeds and pickled serrano pepper that burst with nutty, spicy and acidic flavors.
Plop down on the bar stool, and your bartender slides a complimentary “Amuse” cocktail to start you off. Order the salsas of the day, and the chef comes out and explains their provenance. Last week’s trio included a violet vermouth salsa, a fennel green salsa and a parsnip-and-celery root salsa.
It’s hard to imagine a bar like this 10 years ago in Denny Triangle.
Now, you almost expect it. Techies and downtown suits in their 30s and 40s fill the room. So the pulsating music isn’t conducive to the after-work let-off-steam chatter. So the bar food is chichi. This is the new, aspirational Denny Triangle. No one in here seemed to mind.
Bar Noroeste, Amazon Doppler building, 2051 Seventh Ave., Seattle, offers happy hour weekdays 4-6 p.m. with $1-$7 tacos and other bar snacks (206-775-7070 or barnoroeste.com).