Beard Award Winner & Best-Selling Author Jason Sheehan Named New Seattle Weekly Restaurant Critic"/>
Sheehan's exploits are nationally known. His 2009 memoir of his years behind the stove, Cooking Dirty: A Story of Life, Sex, Love, and Death in the Kitchen, made a number of Top 10 lists last year, and he's won a Beard Award for his criticism (and been nominated two additional times). Additionally, he's appeared in the Best Food Writing series more times than anyone can count, and he's a stand-up guy, as many of us who have met him already know.
"After almost eight years of eating my way through the best and worst that Denver has to offer," Sheehan wrote to me this morning, "I looked up one day and realized, like so many other large grassland mammals before me, that I'd devoured everything in my immediate area and the time had come to move on."
"I've had a great run in Denver," he continued. "There have been midnight pho shops and dim sum breakfasts, homebrew whiskey, Ghanaian house restaurants and a completely unreasonable number of tacos. I've drunk Vietnamese snake wine and hundred-year-old bourbon, eaten with gangsters, been thrown out of diners, breathed liquid nitrogen, eaten fire and seen the sun come up with smoke on my breath and barbecue sauce in my hair.
"But other than Denver, there are only two or three other cities in the country where the food is interesting enough and the scene vital enough to tempt me into uprooting my entire life just for a chance at getting a taste. Seattle is one of those cities. And I can't wait for the opportunity to start causing trouble in a new time zone."
Sheehan and I are very different writers, but he's one of the few restaurant critics I still read for the pleasure of taking in his turns of phrase. He shares our conviction at the Weekly that reviews are worthless if they merely pass judgment on a restaurant's successes and flaws. A restaurant review should be about the life of a restaurant and the people who eat in it. It is a paean to the city we inhabit, and to good food itself.
Here are three of my favorite Sheehan pieces: