Ambaum Boulevard is to Burien as 15th Avenue Notrthwest is to Ballard: a shrunken, sanitized Xerox of nearby Highway 99. The hookers are halved, as is the speed limit. But workaday diners that are frozen in time--and price--abound.
On Ambaum, the three greasiest spoons--Little Pat's Place, Germaine's Country Kitchen, and Huckleberry Square--lie within a mile of one another. Pat's and Germaine's are extraordinarily homey and cheap, sticking to hearty American breakfast standards as the fulcrums of their menus and wholly unconcerned with aesthetic frills. But Huckleberry Square has slightly loftier ambitions.
Huckleberry Square is packed with people. And foliage--enough to make one question why they don't take the Rainforest Cafe to court for trademark infringement. A page of its menu is devoted to extolling the restaurant's commitment to huckleberries, which grow in abundance in the Pacific Northwest, and their Native American cultivation. In so doing, Huckleberry Square has planted its flag as an unintentional pioneer of the locavore movement.
Amid all the plants and berries is a diner which runs with remarkable efficiency--the Princeton offense of hot plates. Perpetually slammed with tables full of extended families, the waitstaff glides through the restaurant's tight corridors with such a cheery disposition that you wonder whether vaporized seratonin isn't pumped through the vents.
While Huckleberry Square prides itself on its fruit, and a waffle served with this signature topping was refreshingly light, it's the chicken-fried steak--something supposedly closer to the center of Germaine's or Pat's culinary radar--that distinguishes the kitchen. In spite of its mythology, Huckleberry Square is a diner at its core, a leader, not an outlier, among the Ambaum three.