8.3
SEA

Bramling Cross

Perfect For: Big Groups Dinner with the Parents Drinks & A Light Bite Eating At The Bar First/Early in the Game Dates Guys Night
PHOTOS: Nate Watters

Have you ever stopped to think about croquet? It’s a sport where people in all-white clothing smack around balls with a wooden mallet between their legs. It’s fancy for absolutely no reason. Same goes for crumb scrapers, and $200 jeans that look like your dog ate them, and getting your hands washed for you in an Aesop store. Although that last one is kind of nice.

Bramling Cross is an example of a place that could have ended up being too fancy for its own good - but instead it’s an upscale pub executed very well. They serve excellent versions of classics like pretzels (with everything bagel seasoning and gruyere sauce), a great burger that you won’t be mad about spending $14 on, and addiction-causing french fries with pickle aioli. There’s also perfectly-cooked seared fish, steak, and smoked short ribs. And you can eat all of these things with your elbows on the table, or with your shirt tucked in.

The setting is comfortable enough to make Bramling Cross at the ready for more occasions than an average pub, but not so fancy that it veers towards stuffy. Hanging lights, exposed brick, and bookcases make the space feel like your college library, only fun, with less shushing and a lot more booze. Speaking of booze, the beer selection is what the place is known for, but the wine pours and cocktails are just as excellent, especially the rotating special.

Whether it’s a casual Wednesday dinner or a Saturday night drinks and snacks power hour, Bramling Cross is ideal when you’re looking for some great food with your alcohol. Just like taking a drunken round of bocce over some cucumber sandwich-fueled croquet match, we’ll gladly hit up Bramling Cross over any pinkies-up spot that’s putting foie gras on a burger.

Food Rundown

Housemade Everything Pretzels

Even though these are definitely not bagels, they’re the closest thing you’re going to get to an acceptable one in Seattle. The gruyere sauce and mustard that comes with these garlic/poppy/sesame-topped pretzels is excellent. Our one complaint is that we want more of them.

Dungeness Crab Dip

A creamy crock of shredded crab, chives, lemon, and broiled cheese. It comes with a hunk of olive oil-ed baguette for dipping, but using the serving spoon as a personal utensil is your best course of action.

“Pickle” Fries

These are not fried pickles. These are french fries that are tossed in some kind of incredibly good seasoning blend that makes them taste like a dill gherkin. Abuse the pickle aioli that comes with them.

Caramelized Cauliflower

Not the best dish on the menu but a better-tasting starter than salad if you’re looking for some vegetables: tender roasted cauliflower with a sweet golden raisin puree, yogurt, hazelnuts, and dukkah spices.

Bramling Burger

This delicious creation is the perfect combination of classic and fancy: it has some thickness to it and a great char from the grill, and the potato bun is some kind of artisanal number, but it still has just pickles, lettuce, onion, special sauce, and American cheese on top. Upgrade your fries to the pickle ones to win at dinner.

Smoked Pork Short Ribs

If you come here for a real meal, the pork short ribs are your best entree order. They taste like a barbeque pit and come with a fresh creamy fennel/apple slaw and hushpuppies.

Dynamite Chicken

A thoroughly excellent roundup of fried chicken pieces, but the coating could use more salt - order this with the “TNT” seasoning option (like a spicy Lawry’s situation) to give it the punch it needs. The sides of creamy grits and bacon collard greens are pretty good too, though not mind-blowing. What is mind-blowing are the homemade biscuits with butter and honey, which you can add-on. You will add them on.

Rigatoni

This disappointing rigatoni has boring zucchini, boring pancetta, and boring spicy chile in a pretty boring tomato sauce. Hope for a better pasta option the next time they rotate the menu.

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