Moxie

Moxie is what co-owners (and -chefs) Peter Morrison and Lauri Carter must have in spades; otherwise they wouldn't be trying to make a go of it in Uptown, a dining district already close to the saturation point. They're both seafood people (he recently put in time at Westcott Bay Seafarms; her résumé includes fish-friendly Matt's in the Market), and Moxie's colorful New American menu reflects that. Unfortunately, there are only three seafood options on the happy-hour menu (daily from 4 to 5:30 p.m. and 11 p.m. to midnight), which consists of specially sized and priced versions of starters and entrées. (There's no discount on drinks, sadly.) Start with a lightly dressed house salad ($3), made with unusually flavorful mixed greens, but steer clear of the sweet-potato fries ($2), which are on the bland, dry side. (They could really use spicy ketchup—maybe curried, like at Capitol Hill's Frites.) On the other hand, Moxie's signature macaroni and cheese ($5)—made with "twirly" pasta, plump wild mushrooms, and goat cheese, among other cheeses—is grand, and comes in a generous portion that's shareable, provided you pair it with spicy shrimp cakes ($6), Westcott Bay mussels ($5), or a Dungeness crab melt ($6) with sharp cheddar and "Creole mustard." The new owners haven't done much to repurpose the space, but the warm wood and lively bar make it an elegant date-night option, especially if a movie at the nearby Uptown Theater is part of the plan. 530 First Ave. N., 206-283-6614. UPTOWN

 
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