Don’t miss the cioppino.
The Faerie Queene’s been flying under the radar of Pioneer Square’s exalted restaurant revitalization since this past spring. It’s got an odd name: the title of an extremely long, unfinished epic by Elizabethan poet Edmund Spenser. The hours it keeps are strange: weekdays only, from 11 in the morning to 7 at night “or later.” And while it’s on the ground floor above popular Kraken Congee, it’s still somehow easier to miss than its subterranean neighbor.
But get thee to the Fairie Queene. Its pedigree is a good one: Chef/owner Una Kim has cooked at Spring Hill, Matt’s in the Market and Re: Public. (Before that, she cut her teeth at her family’s restaurant, the Belltown institution Noodle Ranch.)
And while her own new spot’s praises have been as yet unsung, it deserves a place among neighborhood favorites — and it’s much less expensive than many.
The Faerie Queene
90 Yesler Way, Seattle
Hours: 11 a.m.-7 p.m. “or later” Monday-Friday
Etc: MasterCard, Discover and Visa accepted; beer, wine and sake; street parking; no obstacles
The menu: Oysters are available on the half-shell ($14/half-dozen), but the other seafood dishes are standouts in terms of value: tender mixed ceviche with the pop of pasilla pepper for $8; garlicky chimichurri shrimp in a super-fresh Louie format for $11; salmon-, shellfish- and calamari-loaded cioppino topped with prettily shaved fennel, plus garlic bread, for $14. The French dip and chorizo mac-and-cheese are no slouches either ($10 each).
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What to write home about: The magic of the Faerie Queene is in the finely calibrated spicy heat — enough to make you newly happy to be alive, not so much as to cause any distress — found in every dish listed above.
The setting: The funny-shaped, smallish room manages the trick of spaciousness, with exposed brick giving it a proper old-time Pioneer Square feel.
Summing up: Ceviche, shrimp Louie, cioppino and banana-bread pudding ($7) came to $40 before tax and tip.