True Blue

Decent date fare at a fair price.

COBALT CAFɍ

1530 Bellevue Ave., CAPITOL HILL 206-329-5388

Lunch 11:30 a.m.-2 p.m. Tues.-Fri. dinner 5-10 p.m. Tue.-Sun.; brunch 10:30 a.m.-3 p.m. Sat.-Sun. THE PIKE/PINE Corridor's cup doesn't exactly overfloweth with date-friendly dinner options. Unless your idea of romance is chicken-fried steak (Linda's Tavern), cheap tacos (Bimbo's Bitchin' Burrito Kitchen), or cheaper pizza (Bill's Off Broadway, Mama's), you're most likely limited to the solid Italian at Machiavelli's or the Mediterranean-inspired fancy fare at the Capitol Club, neither of which come especially cheap. The Cobalt Caf鬠tucked away on Bellevue Avenue just off East Pine, straddles the two dinner strata nicely if a little unremarkably, offering an easy bistro menu of gourmet sandwiches and homey entr饠options in a cozy room lit dimly enough to make even a blind date look doable. A starter of sweet chili grilled prawns over tangy, heavily dressed greens ($6.95) is mostly as it should be, though the slightly rubbery seafood obviously took the scenic route to our table—i.e., through the freezer—and grilled vegetable and chicken skewers over fragrant jasmine rice ($4.95) are a little short on the vegetables but still succulent. The tempura chicken fingers, served atop perfectly crisped fries ($6.95), fare the best, elevating themselves above Ivar's and co. with sharp, honeyed sauces and a delicately seasoned batter. Macaroni and cheese ($7.95)—here, that means cheddar, gruy貥, and Mah�not salty orange powder—is a little gummy but still worth the cholesterol assault, and every night offers both meat and Boca burgers with all the fixings, as well as a different "rustic" pizza—a recent night featured a "white" pie with pesto, several cheeses (again!), basil, and fresh tomatoes ($7.95). Sandwiches still make up the bulk of the menu, and for the most part they're well-executed, especially the turkey and brie with cranberry sauce on a baguette ($5.95) and the well-spiced jerk chicken with pineapple ($7.95), though a waiter gently steered us away from a grilled eggplant and provolone option. If everything goes well, who knows? Maybe you'll end up back here again in the morning (Saturdays and Sundays only) for French toast, eggs sunny side up, and Bloody Marys ࠤeux. lgreenblatt@seattleweekly.com

 
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