Friday, March 25, 2011

Food Fridays: Finding Swine Behind Enemy Lines

I’ve been a little melancholy ever since Vancouver and Portland joined Seattle in Major League Soccer. I really like Seattle and Portland. The people there are as close to Canadians as you’ll find in the USA and each city (and state) offers much to people like me who are looking for great things to eat and drink. But soccer rivalries are bigger than the wants of this kitchen designer. And so even though I’ll continue to visit our Cascadian rivals, I’ll always feel like I’m traveling behind enemy lines.

In fact, we’ve already made our first trip into enemy territory over the first weekend in March. We joined up with a number of Vancouver Whitecaps FC supporters to take in the team’s two matches in the 2011 Cascadia Summit which took place in Tukwilla, just south of Seattle.

The morning before the first match with Portland my wife and I took a stroll through downtown to find some lunch. We had a couple ideas already in mind, but a sign featuring a pig caught our eyes. I believe the pig to be the noblest of animals, and any restaurant that suggests it knows how to respect this animal will likely respect all food. The sign directed us down the Harbour Steps to the door of Lecosho. The sign at the front announced the daily special: “Rabbit & White Bean Soup.” Bunny & beans on a blustery day. Perfect. We were sold.

Lecosho (Chinook slang for “swine” we were to later discover) marks the return to the restaurant business of Matt Janke, former owner of Matt’s in the Market. Matt’s in the Market was one of our favourite spots in Seattle, until our last visit. Something had changed and it seemed to have lost its personality. That “something” it turns out was Matt, who sold the business in order to take some paternity leave.

The menus at Lecosho are tagged with the line “food we like” and it’s that kind of comfortable cooking that I really enjoyed at Matt’s. At Lecosho the cooking is even homier as was suggested by the special. Uncomplicated, hearty and satisfying, the soup immediately took the chill out me.  Nice chunks of rabbit joined with swiss chard and white bean.  I could have just had a bowl of the soup and I would have been happy.

Our mains were similarly straightforward and deliscious: Roast Chicken for J. and a Bacon Cheeseburger for me. Both nicely executed and generous in portion.

Matt was there running the front of house and seemed to appreciate the interest we showed in the new venture. He actually has a bit of room to walk around this time; if you were ever in Matt’s in the Market you know it was tiny. Lecosho is not huge (about 60 seats) but the warm woods and low lustre finishes make it feel like a place you could spend the afternoon in, planning your attack on an unsuspecting soccer team.

89 University St
(1/2 way down Harbour Steps)


shelora sheldan - Cooking with a Broad said...

Great post, Arne. Wasn't aware about Matt's move. This place looks and sounds awesome. Feel a Seattle visit coming on soon.

Arne Salvesen said...

Thanks Shelora! I only wish we had time to do more than lunch at Lecosho. Next time.

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