“Family meal” is what restaurants call the supper that the whole staff eats together before dinner service starts — a time of camaraderie and sustenance, a way the industry takes care of its own. There’s no dinner service at all in these coronavirus crisis times, and with a monthlong extension of the stay-at-home mandate, the future of all our favorite places remains even more uncertain.
But some of the Seattle restaurants that have stayed open to serve takeout and/or delivery — in order to provide at least a few jobs and to try to stay afloat — are offering to-go “family meal” for us now. Here are three of our favorites. But do also check our list of all the places we can support via takeout/delivery now, and call your neighborhood standbys to see if they’re in on the to-go action, too — lots of places are, and they all need our family-style help.
Luxurious variety at a very nice price: Mamnoon’s Mama Family Meal
Mamnoon: 1508 Melrose Ave., Seattle; 206-906-9606; mamnoonrestaurant.com; takeout Tuesday-Saturday 5-8 p.m.; daily menu at facebook.com/mamnoonrestaurant and ordering info at the restaurant’s website.
“Mamnoon” means “thankful” or “grateful” in Arabic, and you’ll feel that about the “Mama Family Meal” that the Capitol Hill restaurant by the same name is making during coronavirus times. At $40 for enough to feed two (or more — leftovers happened here), this is one of the best values we’ve seen from higher-end Seattle spots doing takeout and delivery.
A spread like this feels particularly luxurious right now, with lots of different tastes and colors instead of just appetizer-entree-dessert. The main dish varies by day, with a choice between a sure-to-be-tasty vegetarian option and a meat-eaters’ special. We lucked into harra fried chicken with za’atar biscuits — the former with a spicy-ish, deep-browned, crispy-crunchy coating enveloping pieces of mostly white meat, while the latter, slightly sweet and light-textured, allowed for an excellent chicken-and-waffles-adjacent sensation. A bulgur salad looked pretty, with threads of carrot and purple cabbage and bits of parsley, and tasted beautiful, all nutty and herby and uncannily rich. Then there was nicely super-salty, multicolored olives marinated with big chunks of feta, and your choice of another mezze (e.g., terrifically creamy labneh with pools of gorgeous green olive oil), and housemade pita, and two little triangles of honeyed baklawa.
Throw in a $15 bottle of Mamnoon-selected wine — like a 2018 Les Deux Moulins sauvignon blanc, tasting a bit sour on its own, then proving an ideal foil for all the spice — and this is a feast that restores joy to coronavirus lockdown life.
— Bethany Jean Clement
Wood-fired magic at home: Opus Co.’s Feast in a Sack
Opus Co.: 7410 Greenwood Ave. N., Seattle; 206-420-8360; opuscorestaurant.com; pickup Thursday-Sunday 4 p.m.-8 p.m., call or order in advance online.
The thing I’ve always loved about this teensy Greenwood restaurant is how chefs Mark Schroder and Paolo Campbell utilize the wood-fired grill to make magic. Cuts from Preservation Meat Collective are ground into sausage or rubbed heartily with spices before being kissed by fire. There are always fermented and pickled highlights, vegetables get star treatment. Portion sizes are restrained. Service is elegant. Prices are just right. My favorite experience is the Opus Feast, a multicourse journey through the restaurant’s ever-changing menu. Now, in addition to serving rice bowls and a wicked-looking brunch menu on Sundays (complete with a waffle topped with “boozy brown sugar mango magic” and a chicken biscuit), Opus is offering “Feast in a Sack.”
Fifty bucks will get you enough food for four. You can order up to five days in advance through Resy and pick up directly at Opus Co. My feast included two pork sausages and four hearty slices of lamb leg. Rice topped with freshly fried chicharrón plus a mustard-y potato salad; pickled beets and carrots, masala lentil salad and a small tub of hot sauce all came on the side. Every dish is meant to be served cool or room temperature, which was perfect for transport home. I have zero complaints. Everything was just as wonderful as if I was seated at the counter seats at Opus, watching Schroder and Campbell work.
— Jackie Varriano
The best pasta in Seattle now available to-go: Il Nido’s mix-and-match $35 meal feeds four
Il Nido: 2717 61st Ave. S.W., Seattle; 206-466-6265; ilnidoseattle.com; pickup Tuesday-Saturday 2 p.m.-7 p.m., also open at 7 a.m. for espresso; for specials and updates, check instagram.com/ilnidoseattle
Pasta fanatics who formerly endured long lines at chef Mike Easton’s restaurants Il Nido and Il Corvo now instead manically click onto his online store, waiting for his pasta to go on sale since they can’t dine-in during the coronavirus outbreak.
Online, his pasta has sold out every single day in less than an hour. The good news: Easton will ramp up production as he turns his log-cabin restaurant in West Seattle into a makeshift “Italian café,” with housemade meatballs, focaccia bread and enough fresh pappardelle that the “sold out” sign will not be needed.
His $35 mix-and-match pasta-and-sauce deal can feed four. Choose from among the four to five pasta options ($15 per pound) and pick one of the rotating meat and vegetarian sauces ($20 per pint).
For me, the choice is a no-brainer: his Bolognese sauce.
Other meaty ragùs usually drip to the bottom of the bowl as if the pasta were coated in Gore-Tex; not Easton’s Bolognese. That sucker clings to every nook and cranny of the pasta shell for a consistently unctuous bite.
Made with fried chicken livers, Easton’s Bolognese tastes like creamy pâté. It’s best paired with a thick, wide noodle like the tube-shaped paccheri. I prefer my noodles cooked al dente, and my heated Bolognese sauce topped with a stick of butter. (What? Doesn’t everybody?)
— Tan Vinh