Some people might criticize gentrification. I generally agree, because I can sympathize with the hatred people feel when a solidly-constructed Craftsman cottage is torn down to make way for a garish cracker-box condo building that looks like a 1970's refrigerator.
If you try to eat at Marjorie with no reservation, you'll feel as sad as you felt when you got killed playing Super Mario Bros. And that's just no way to live.
However, those aforementioned cracker boxes, if they have any redeeming qualities, usually have on the ground floor some kind of mixed-use shit. Sometimes the commercial space, usually a tiny pre-fab cube, houses a restaurant. And sometimes the restaurant in that cube is good. Marjorie is luckily one of these.
Marjorie recently relocated to Capitol Hill after a successful run in Belltown. Personally I'm glad they moved because hanging out in Belltown makes me vomit with rage and with alcohol consumption. I prefer Capitol Hill because it typically affords me the opportunity to hang out with like-minded sideburn aficionados and people with awesome bicycles.
So I was excited to check out Marjorie's new location on 14th and Union. The place was booked, packed with the kind of people who go out and do things. When I saw how crowded it was inside I became as sad as the minor-key chords that play you off when you get killed playing Super Mario Bros, but luckily we were able to sit at the bar until a table opened up.We started with Marjorie's lauded plantain chips ($10). Ten bucks might seem like a lot for a bowl of fried bananas, but it was an enormous filigreed heap of those crisp yellow starchy curlicues. The chips themselves were mildly sweet, a bit salty, and served with a coarse salsa of avocado, tomato, and grilled pineapple wedges. By "coarse" I actually mean "as coarse as a joke overheard at a NASCAR race"--the chunks of grilled pineapple, avocado, and tomato were HUGE. They could have only made this salsa chunkier if they gave you a whole unpeeled pineapple, tomato, and avocado, right there on the plate, and your own machete to hack the produce apart with. Still, the salsa was cool and sweet and tangy and a bit smoky, and was a great compliment to the plantains.
A rabbit galantine set us back $12 and was pretty tasty. For that price we got a couple slices of galantine. It was very good but a bit gamey, with so many big interlocking pink and white squares of tender meat and creamy fat that it looked like a Mondrian painting. With the galantine came a little cute salad of arugula, a couple big spherical tangy grapes, and a slick sweet smear of arrope syrup.
House made cappellini with bocherones was, for $15, pretty much a ripoff: one small baseball- sized wad of thin pasta with white anchovies. Yeah, the pasta was tasty and delicate and obviously made by hand, but there were only TWO anchovy filets. I thought this dish was overpriced. My wallet was in as much pain as my body was the time I lost a bet to a mall Santa and had to let him stand on my nuts for a half- hour.
Cuttlefish ($18) was delicious. Three slabs of grilled cuttlefish, the outer crust scored with attractive crosshatching, were arranged over a bed of frissee. The cuttlefish was appealingly singed and charred a bit on the outside, and tasted smoky, but when cut into revealed a gleaming ivory slash of tender juicy flesh. Cuttlefish, like its cousin calamari, can have a tendency to become rubbery if overcooked, but Marjorie's preparation was perfect.
Finally, the sea bass ($18) was pan fried, with a crispy skin and flaky flesh, and served atop a pile of blanched sea beans. Sea beans can be too salty when served raw, but I find blanching them robs the beans of that awesome crunchiness. The only thing crunchier than raw sea beans is a lesbian driving a Prius, and in fact I wish the Sea Bean advisory board, or whoever, would rename them "Nature's Cheetos." That's how fucking crunchy sea beans are. The bass swam in a tepid pool of what the menu referred to as "tomato water" but which really just tasted like the plasma that runs out of the ketchup bottle if you forget to shake it first.
We didn't get dessert. Dessert was the fucking sea bass. And a complimentary chocolate cardamom meringue cookie that came with the bill, and which crumbled and melted away when you bit into it as effortlessly as my childhood dream of owning a Lamborghini.
Marjorie is quite tasty, a hidden gem in a dismal condo building. It's pretty packed, and the floor plan is disorganized--the way the desks are arranged in elementary special-ed class. Still, if you don't mind braving all of the crowds to fit into this tiny magical wonderland, then you'll fucking love Marjorie. If you want to wait a couple months, all of the people who love to go to things as soon as they open will have cleared out, and then maybe regular people can get a table.
Rating: 7.5 delicious cubicles out of 10
Marjorie is located at 1412 E Union St
For reservations, and FOR FUCK'S SAKE please get a reservation, call 206-441-9842