Dinner at Eight Row felt like pulling my chair up to the Nichols’ family table.
You know that feeling when you walk into a restaurant and instantly know you’re going to enjoy the evening ahead? That’s the feeling that overcame me when I walked into Eight Row in Green Lake the other night.
Brothers David and Ian Nichols opened Eight Row as the first brick-and-mortar spot under their new venture, the Dime Food Group. They showcase their roots by centering the menu on local, seasonal ingredients from the family’s orchards in Wenatchee.
The family focus of Eight Row extends into the physical space as well. It’s versatile in that it provides a place for families to gather and enjoy food, while also being the perfect spot for date night, or an evening with friends. As someone who often tires of the loud restaurant scene in Seattle, I must also give a shout out to the balanced acoustics in Eight Row.
We began our meal by inquiring about the apple mole that accompanies the pork chop, which led to Chef Nichols blessing us with a gigantic Honeycrisp apple from his family’s orchard. The incredible size and flavor of this apple was our first introduction to the quality of ingredients we were going to enjoy throughout every dish we shared that night.
We began with the Seared Calamari with chorizo stuffing, spice carrot purée, fried lemon, and mint. The mint leaves were a well-paired pop of flavor, and the chorizo highlighted the squid, rather than overpowering it.
Next we ordered the Fried Eggplant with turnips, cumin crème, and chili de árbol honey. Everyone we spoke to recommended this dish, and as soon as I took my first bite I knew why. I couldn’t even tell the eggplant had any kind of crispy coating by looking at it, it was only when I sunk my teeth into the almost caramelized eggplant that my tongue discovered the delicate fry surrounding it.
The last small plate we ordered was the Black Cod Ceviche with carrot habanero, aguachile, black radish, pickled red onions, and sweet potato. The texture and mixture of flavors made this dish my favorite of the night.
For our main dishes, we ordered the Boneless Pork Chop with smoked Honeycrisp mole, braised cabbage, and cider gastrique, as well as the Duck Breast with duck confit fried wild rice, leeks, parsnips, and pear mostarda. As a Minnesotan, I always feel like I am getting a taste of home when I eat wild rice. I loved the duck for its flavor, but also because the dish felt like a blending of my two homes, Washington and Minnesota.
Chef Nichols surprised us with a small order of the Spaghetti Alla Chittara with dungeness crab, roasted fresno butter, and herb bread crumbs. And what a delightful surprise it was; this spaghetti is a must-order when you visit Eight Row.
All in all, Eight Row serves up memorable dishes in a space that invites you to come back again and again.
Eight Row | 7102 Woodlawn Ave NE, Seattle | (206) 294-3178