Best New Restaurant

A lot of great restaurants have opened in the past year: Betty, TASTE, Bamboo Garden, Tavolata, the redone Osteria La Spiga, Pam's Kitchen. Here's why I think Steelhead Diner is the top of this year's class. Kevin and Terresa Davis have made a tourist-friendly Pike Place Market restaurant without sacrificing their integrity and taste. The former Oceanaire chef's menu manages to be at once personal (his New Orleans roots show up in everything from gumbo to hominy cakes) and civic-minded (he designs dishes around market vendors' products, and the wine list is 100 percent Northwest). Steelhead can be dress-down, if you're a burger or broccoli casserole kind of person, or extravagant, if you're into bresaola and braised short ribs. Most of all, Kevin has serious skills in the kitchen, which he shows off, working on the line, six days a week.—Jonathan Kauffman 95 Pine St., 625-0129, www.steelheaddiner.com.

 
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