What people love most about the Seattle restaurant scene is its diversity and openness to new things. As a port city on the Pacific Ocean, Seattle has long been welcoming people from around the world to make this city their home. Not surprisingly, a huge selection of authentic East Asian cuisines, ranging from Cambodian to Thai, have always been Seattle favorites. But now, there are some different styles of food making a splash in the Emerald City. Here are four Seattle catering trends to look out for.
Southern food’s nurturing and homey vibe fits in perfectly with Seattle culture and, these days, restaurant enthusiasts can’t get enough of it. The Seattle catering and restaurant scene is packed with Southern food options. Think fluffy biscuits, pimento cheese, and grits at Honest Biscuits, buttermilk fried chicken and New Orleans-style red beans and rice at Absinthe Brasserie, and plenty of barbecue at Willie’s Taste of Soul Bar-B-Que, Neema’s Comfort, Bitterroot Barbecue, and Cask & Trotter. “Southern food is some of the best comfort food, and Southern folks are great at un-fussy hospitality,” explains Honest Biscuits founder Art Stone. Stone grew up in North Carolina eating the dishes that his grandmothers made from food that came right off of their farms and out of their gardens. He believes the Southern approach, using local and natural ingredients, nestles right into Seattle’s current food trends.
Authentic food with fresh ingredients is a major trend across all cuisine, including Mexican. Long gone are the days when south of the border food was limited to crunchy tacos and giant burritos. Mexico is actually home to several distinct regional cuisines and dishes, and today you’ll find quite a few of them on the Seattle catering and restaurant scene. Chef Jaime Menende makes the famous birria (spicy braised lamb) of Jalisco at Los Agaves in Pike Place Market, while the beloved food truck Taqueria los Chilangos specializes in tacos al pastor from Central Mexico. Meanwhile, and Blue Water Taco Grill caters Southern California-style taquitos and customers can’t get enough of the Baja fish tacos at Taco del Mar.
Fish remains a staple in Seattle thanks to its wealth of fresh seafood (Anthony Bourdain raved about it on a recent episode of his CNN show Parts Unknown), so it’s no surprise that poke has taken the city’s catering by storm. Traditional Hawaiian poke (it rhymes with “okay”) is a refreshingly simple dish made of sliced raw fish layered over rice, topped with vegetables and an umami-based sauce. Teasome and Ichiro Teriyaki in Seattle, Freshy’s on Mercer Island, and Teriyaki Boy! in Bothell all do individual poke bowls. Pokeworks keeps it simple with catering packages to feed a crowd— choose a mix of tuna, salmon, chicken, and tofu and various toppings, and then everyone can assemble their own bowls according to their preferences. “In our store, our diners really enjoy the variety of ingredients and flavor combinations they can pack into a bowl or burrito,” says Managing Director Kevin Hsu. “We’ve made sure to bring that to our catering so that small and large groups of people can all enjoy the same Poke Your Way experience as they do in our restaurants.”
If you really want to please a crowd with fresh ingredients in creative combinations, cater pizza. According to Eater, Seattle has an insatiable appetite for pizza and new pizzerias continue to open all the time. That means practically every style is now available in the Emerald City, including deep dish at Delfino’s Chicago Style Pizza. “Chicago Style Pizza makes any standard business lunch a special event,” says owner Jay Cascio, “because of the flakey buttery crust, tangy red sauce, and tons of gooey and whole milk mozzarella cheese, the five pound pies are very impressive, and totally different from any other pizza you can get in Seattle.” There’s also Neapolitan at Villa Italian Kitchen, Greek-style at Olympia Pizza Catering, wood fired at Villa Verdi, and even gluten-free and vegan at Soprano’s Antico, Stacia’s Gourmet, and Razzis Pizzeria. Give some of Seattle’s newest pies a try.
So go ahead and sample of Seattle’s diversity. You won’t be disappointed.
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