The Top 5 (Mostly Alternative) Sliders in Seattle

When you hear the word slider, do you think of a mini-ground beef burger? That's what we envisioned when we set out to name the Top 5 sliders, but our search became an education in this bar snack's definition. We're not sure if Seattle is going through a slider crisis, or is ahead of the game, successfully expanding the traditional expectation of a slider to include pate, quinoa, pastrami, duck, meatloaf and much more. But when it's all said and done, our definition of a great slider is one we can't wait to eat again. We present to you our Top 5 picks for sliders in Seattle.

Pez gato sliders
5. La Isla (left),

2320 N.W. Market St., 789-0516

There are four different kinds of sliders to choose from on the menu at this Ballard Puerto Rican restaurant, including chicken, roasted pork shoulder and ropa vieja. Our favorite is the pez gato ($5.99). These cornmeal-crusted fried catfish strips are swimming in a spicy cream cheese sauce spiked with lime and orange juices and cradled in a ciabatta bun. Almost too big to be a slider, these sandwiches come two to an order. A side of garlic sauce, should you request it, complements the citrus nicely.

4. Sip., 909 5th Ave. N., 682-2779

The sliders at Sip. are so good, it's not unusual for customers to get an order to go. We're trying to decide if it's the pepper mayo, jack cheese, bacon crumbles or Hawaiian sweet rolls that make these mini-sirloin burgers so craveable, but we do know they're even better when you ask for extra sauce (yes, we like our sauce).

Pate "sandwiches" at Cafe Campagne
3. Café Campagne (right),

1600 Post Alley, 728.2233

"We don't like to call them sliders," executive chef Daisley Gordon responded when we told him how much we loved his country-style pork and chicken-liver-pate sandwiches. With all due respect, these generous slabs of pate on gougere really are sliders. Not only are they the perfect two-bite snack, but they are listed next to the petit lamb burger (aka slider) on the menu. Either way, you might just want to call them "cheap" because they're only a buck during happy hour.

Mini-banh mis.
2. Fresh Bistro (left),

4725 42nd Ave. S.W., 935-3733

We could easily eat these every day. Sadly, these banh mi sliders are only offered during dinner (and happy hour for $5). It's a shame, really, because any slider with crispy pork belly and foie gras mayo should be available 24 hours a day. With delivery available. Pickled carrots and daikon and cucumbers give these mini-mis structure and crunch, while Serrano chili adds an extra kick. If the sliders leave you wanting more, a regular-sized banh mi is also on the menu.

1. Tilth, 1411 N. 45th St., 633-0801

It's no secret. Tilth's mini-duck burgers (2 for $16) have been on the menu since the restaurant opened. The sliders have not only earned their permanent residence on the menu, they've earned the steep price tag. One slider is a snack; two is a meal. Each big and juicy duck patty is adorned with red onion jam, arugula, house-made ketchup and hot mustard. But perhaps the most perfect topping is the bun, which somehow manages to enclose the entire burger like a soft little brioche Tupperware container.

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