There's a lot going on when you step off of First Avenue and into Amber, Belltown's newest steak house, now flourishing in the old Axis space. Up front is a loud, packed semi–sports bar area with large flat-screen TVs mounted over Northwest-themed timber columns. The restaurant area is in the back, where you'll see more of the dark, swanky metal-meets-wood Northwest decor. Too loud for a romantic dinner date, Amber is the type of place where you'd go for a traditional Caesar salad and a good-sized wedge of prime rib served with salty demi-glace sauce in a silver terrine. All beef entrées are accompanied by the traditional side-dish options of garlic mashed potatoes, baked potatoes, fried potatoes, or rice, along with seasonal veggies. What is not basic about Amber are some of the nonmeat entrées, including a crispy yet moist pan-seared halibut. The fish is cooked in a mouth-watering sauce that combines the flavors of kalamata olives, roasted red peppers, potatoes, and crispy pancetta. If you want dessert, save room; the portions of everything served at Amber are Outback generous.
Amber 2214 First Ave., 206-728-8500, www.amberseattle.com. BELLTOWN