Sushi in a college cafeteria? My East Coast university tried hawking sushi a couple years back, but it was really just premade California rolls in flimsy plastic boxes. How times have changed: Now, Seattle University students can eat fresh, raw yellowtail if that's what their little hearts desire.
Last week, we got to attend the opening preview of SU's new $34 million, 86,000-square-foot student center, featuring a cafeteria called the Cherry Street Market—an upscale dining hall where students will feast on decidedly nontraditional cafeteria fare—and the Hawk's Nest Bistro, a fancy-schmancy late-night dining spot and espresso bar.
While the Bon Appetit-managed dining halls aren't all-organic like the earth-friendly dining hall the company manages at Evergreen State College in Olympia, SU dining manager Buzz Hofford promises to incorporate organic products into the mix as often as his budget allows. And—good news for penny-pinching Capitol Hill types—the halls are open to all.
Everything in the center's dining rooms is stylish and modern. (Of course, "stylish" is relative, but come on, the bar's not too high when you're critiquing a college cafeteria.) We filled the stylish stoneware plate on our stylish, angular black lunch tray with exciting salad bar ingredients like jicama and gigantic, juicy bean sprouts drizzled with delicious balsamic vinaigrette; stir-fry from an exhibition wok station; visually impressive sushi rolls with asparagus, avocado, and assorted funny mushrooms; a piquant chili verde from the soup bar; all-organic pizza; shredded chicken with red beans and rice from a Spanish-style food station; a tasty saltimbocca from the Mediterranean saut頢ar; and, of course, some old cafeteria staples like mac 'n' cheese (properly cheesy) and mashed potatoes with gravy (properly chunky and salty, respectively). We sank blissfully into our insanely comfortable, space-agey black chairs, contemplated the weirdness of eating saltimbocca and carved side of king salmon in an institutional dining room . . . and found we no longer have the youthful metabolism to facilitate a meal that size. Oh, well, 'nother story. (1000 E. James Way, 296-6269)
25TH ANNIVERSARY FEVER
Some landmarks of the year 1977: Elvis died. Annie Hall. "Dancing Queen". And in Pioneer Square, Danny Mitchell opened a restaurant called Trattoria Mitchelli. Elvis is still dead, but the Tratt is alive and kicking up its heels: On Saturday, Sept. 18, it's taking over a two-block stretch of Post Alley to celebrate. Drop by 84 Yesler between 5 and 10 p.m. to eat a plate of pasta, drink a glass of vino, have some birthday cake, listen to the music, and shake Danny's hand.
Food and/or beverage news? E-mail Hot Dish at firstname.lastname@example.org.