Who would have thought that a bowl of loco moco could make me dance? OK, I’m not talking full on Ginger-Rogers-doing-whatever-Fred-Astaire-did-except-backward-and-in-heels kind of dance. But for as long as I can remember, I’ve instinctively done this little shoulder movement/humming combo any time I eat something truly delicious.
I did a lot of this “delicious food dancing” on my trip to Watson’s Counter.
Watson’s is the brainchild of Seattle locals James Lim and chef Scott Lukehart. With a little inspiration from Lim’s dog Watson (who also serves as the restaurant’s mascot), they opened the Ballard spot in late February to immediate success. Lim said they’ve been wildly busy since opening, but he’s happy to receive such a positive response from the community.
Most items on the menu are Korean-inspired, from short-rib-infused Korean poutine, to eggs Benedict with doenjang marinated pork belly. Lim said that he and Lukehart played around with different ideas, based on some of their favorite foods, before refining things down to their current menu. Everything is made in-house, and ingredients are sourced from a variety of local Northwest farms and suppliers.
Watson’s also has a full coffee and drink bar, so if you’re not too hungry, grab a matcha latte ($4) or an orangy mocha ($4.85). If not too busy, this is a good spot to hang out with friends or just chill with a nice book. Lim said he opened the space in hope that it would foster a place of community within the neighborhood.
Due to the wide variety of a menu, I’d recommend going with a group and splitting several dishes. The cereal French toast ($12) comes with four slices of whole wheat cider bread from local Macrina Bakery, covered in your choice of “Fruity Pebs” or “Frosty Flecks.” I opted for the more colorful, former of the cereal options, and was pleasantly surprised by how well it complemented the bread. The cereal adds a light sweetness to the dense bread, which holds a firm texture, compared with most French toast that I’ve had in the past, which I’ve often found over-battered and mushy.
The chicken and waffle ($15) comes with a Belgian waffle and two fried chicken wings. The waffle was cooked to perfection, golden-brown, light and crispy. The fried chicken was slightly spicy, but not overwhelming, as it was coated in gochujang (a fermented chili sauce) that added a nice flavor.
Loco moco ($18), may seem like an unassuming combination of rice, gravy, a fried egg and a patty of ground beef and pork. But it is the true star of the menu at Watson’s. The flavors of all the elements blend well together, feeling simultaneously homemade and professionally cooked. Despite repeatedly telling my friends that I would save some for them to eat, I quietly kept pulling the bowl toward my corner of the table and consumed most of it.
As the unofficial Generation Z representative in The Seattle Times’ features department, I also feel obligated to mention that aesthetically, this spot is very Instagrammable. From the bright, minimalist decor, to the cute Watson logo, to the deliciously colorful food, this place is begging to be photographed. And it has been — despite being open for less than two months, Watson’s has had to close early on multiple occasions due to high traffic brought from word-of-mouth on social media. I’d recommend visiting on a weekday to beat the crowds.
I need to stop writing now because I’m getting too hungry dreaming about French toast, but if you’re looking for a place to dance about, try Watson’s Counter.