The Watering Hole: Hitchcock, 133 Winslow Way E., 201-3789, BAINBRIDGE ISLAND
The Atmosphere: It’s 5:30 on a Saturday evening and Hitchcock is already suspensefully abuzz. The spare, narrow space sinks into itself with tables and booths quickly filled by early diners. Those in the back are treated to a view of the open-kitchen lair of chef/owner Brendan McGill and his crew, busily stuffing, rolling, chopping, and whisking the night’s creations into being.
Those expecting dark thrills may be disappointed in the restaurant’s spare simplicity. For most, the name Hitchcock evokes mind-bending visions of unexpected horrors. For its owners, the restaurant’s name is simply that of some of Bainbridge’s earliest homesteaders, relatives of McGill’s wife, Heidi. Hence, the restaurant reflects little but a modern take on the island’s renowned small-town charm.
The Barkeep: Not whom you’d expect at Bainbridge Island’s hottest spot, Andrew Martino is a quiet, attentive barkeep, keeping a detailed eye on the bar and its patrons. Martino has been bartending about six years, having been raised “in the business” working with his father, a longtime owner of Seattle’s Il Bistro. Martino lives near Green Lake and cites the amazing commute as one of his favorite things about working at Hitchcock. That trip across the water attracts a big Seattle crowd, and Hitchcock has quickly become a destination eatery, with more visitors than locals waiting for their chance to snag a table.
Martino is a fan of his weekly rotating martini list, which features a variety of his own creations. Asked which is his favorite, Martino thinks for a bit and responds simply, “I guess that depends what time of day it is.” Given the choice, though, he would end a long day with a beer and some nice rum.
The Drink: Gin, lemon, lime, sugar, green chartreuse, egg white, and Peychaud’s bitters shaken into a Sour Monk. It’s a mellow, mysterious drink. The sweet of the chartreuse is tempered by the citrus and bitters while the egg white adds unexpected texture.
The Verdict: Martino cites three reasons everyone should come visit Hitchcock: the gorgeous ferry ride, the highest quality of food sourced from local farmers, and . . . cocktails. Don’t be scared of the journey—you’re more likely to go psycho (in a good way!) over Hitchcock than you think.