Bon Appetit’s list of top 50 new restaurants in the country is out, and it looks different than such lists have in the past, honoring bagel sandwiches and tacos alongside upscale chef’s counters. It’s a shift we’re already very on board with in our new approach to restaurant reviewing at the Seattle Times, and we’re very happy to see two small but mighty Seattle spots on the list: By Tae and Dacha Diner.
At By Tae — an eight-seat counter tucked in a back hallway of Capitol Hill’s Chophouse Row — chef Sun Hong serves a $25 set menu of sushi hand rolls and other treats, at lunchtime only, weekdays only. As I noted in a story on By Tae’s miniature-scale magic back in January: “By Tae’s the kind of place you selfishly don’t want to write about. But the secret will get out.” To get a seat up until now, you had to show up sometime slightly before the opening time of 11:30 a.m. and sign up on a list. Hong has indicated, though, that if things got nutty-busy, he’d switch to some sort of reservation system; he didn’t immediately reply to an inquiry about this, presumably because things are nutty-busy there.
Dacha Diner — also on Capitol Hill, in a funny triangular building that used to be a tequila bar — calls its menu “Eastern European & Jewish cuisine.” That includes perfect potato pancakes; the spectacularly satisfying Adjarian khachapuri, a traditional Georgian cheesy-bread-boat; and the extremely Instagrammable, extremely tasty herring under a fur coat (pictured above). Note that this place also keeps odd hours, since it’s run family-style by the trio also responsible for The Independent Pizzeria in Madison Park (which makes some of Seattle’s best pizza). When I wrote about Dacha Diner this past March, one sandwich was so good, it made me cry.
The Dacha Diner team says, “We’re really honored to be mentioned among these great shops! Our goal, as always: head down and focus, underpromise and overdeliver.” And By Tae echoes the sentiment via Instagram: “Wow… so honored to be listed among so many other great restaurants!”
If you go anytime soon, prepare to be patient — these little places run mostly on love. Bon Appetit’s official top-10 list comes out Sept. 17.