This Ballard oasis of Mediterranean flavors is no illusion.
Order everything and scoop a serving on to your plate. Each dish plays well with the others so go ahead, spoon some onto your neighbor’s plate too. Golden Beetle is all about community and consideration.
The term “Golden Beetle” is rooted in a celebrated 27 ingredient spice mixture from Morocco, ras al-hanout, which includes dried golden beetle, a Spanish fly that is considered an aphrodisiac. Because they banned selling the golden beetle in Moroccan spice markets in the 90’s, these dishes are still vegan but no longer contain aphrodisiacs. Wah-wahhhhh. Not to worry though, James Beard Award-Winning Executive Chef/Owner Maria Hines brings the sexy with Golden Beetle’s detail-oriented cuisine, presentation and décor.
Most vegans should be familiar with how they like their kale. Golden Beetle is trying to jet up to the number one spot with its Sauteed Lacinto Kale (7). It offers a nicely sautéed, not too bitter preparation with subtle olive flavors coming from the black olive halves hidden amongst the leafyheap. This dish gives “Gimme dat green” a whole new meaning.
The Roasted Chili Hummus (3)? Satisfying and creamy with great flavor, but not the thing to rave about. Us vegans hear enough about hummus. What you DO need to try is the Muhammara Dip (3). Sweetened with pomegranate molasses, it’s hummus’ perky cousin with an edge. The terra cotta color makes you feel like an artist when you use the doughy Wood Fired Flatbread (3) as your brush. The flatbread triangles are itty-bitty but because of the inevitable close personal relationship you’ll have with your server, you don’t feel bad asking for more.
The Marinated Mixed Olives (5) should be called Gourmet Orbs, featuring more than just olives. Caperberries, pickled garlic and Serrano peppers join the “mixed olives” party bowl and I ain’t complainin’. A considerate side dish sits close by for your pits. Damn. Maria Hines thinks of everything.
When the Wood Fired Parsnips (7) arrive, you may be a little confused about what they are…unless you’re well-versed in root vegetables. They look like thick sliced potatoes but taste like a sweet, buttery carrot. Golden Beetle cooked these guys to perfection and added some originality to my already eclectic plate. I mean, how many times can you say you’ve enjoyed parsnips?
Good. Ness. Gray. Schus. Savory Chickpea Stew (14). The only large plate that is easily made vegan (just request without the yogurt topping) is full of surprises. Robust, juicy chickpeas give this dish some heartiness so if you choose to only order one thing—and it’s this one—you’ll be pri-tay satisfied. Stew is usually thought of as slow-cooked ingredients resulting in baby food textures but that’s not the case here. Time for secrets. I love croutons. THAT is not a secret buuut this dish has oily and still somehow crunchy croutons underneath the mound of chickpeas. Fried bread cubes woo! Oh, and every couple scoops, you’ll find a whole walnut or two. Boom! Another stupefaction. Sharing the stew? Make sure to get your paws on it quickly because it’s sure to be a favorite.
Not only does this restaurant give you nummy-num noms and help you remember the pleasure of sharing, Golden Beetle is certified organic by Oregon Tilth and is the third restaurant in the country to receive the certification. Put that on your plate and eat it.
Visit Golden Beetle and pass around its gilded and gorged cup of gravy. Let’s all share its wealth.
Golden Beetle | 1744 NW Market St, Seattle | (206) 706-2977