You’re going to want to close your browser window right now if you can’t handle television spoilers. Seriously, do it, or live with the consequences. Now that we’ve officially warned you, Dr. Derek Shepherd on Grey’s Anatomy dies. So does Rita Morgan on Dexter, Omar Little on The Wire, Marshall’s dad on How I Met Your Mother, and Charlie Pace (along with literally everybody else) on Lost. It’s a sad truth, but sometimes the best characters on television get killed off.
When restaurants get rid of a dish we love, as if it were someone getting axed in a drama series, we are just as emotionally gutted. This is especially true in the case of Haymaker, an otherwise-great Italian spot in West Seattle. The menu changes so often that the best things we’ve tried here have been whacked, like Christopher Moltisani on The Sopranos.
Haymaker’s menu consists of a bunch of small plates, three or four different pastas, and a few more substantial entrees like fish and pork collar. The pastas at Haymaker, like fusilli with sausage and clams, ziti all’amatriciana with tomato and guanciale, and ricotta agnolotti with mushrooms, really shine. This makes total sense since the same team operates Vendemmia, Raccolto, Le Messe, and G.H. Pasta Co., who all serve some of our favorites bowls of pasta in the city. The only problem is how often their menu changes. Sure, restaurants do that all the time, but when Haymaker’s rich, smoky amatriciana (that we’d call the best in Seattle) pulls a Cousin Oliver from The Brady Bunch and vanishes without a trace, it makes us sadder than when sweet J.T. Yorke was murdered in Degrassi: The Next Generation.
photo credit: Nate Watters
Luckily, there are plenty of delicious supporting characters. There’s peppery tonnarelli cacio e pepe that’s a little overcooked but easy to love anyway, and the best non-pasta dish here: the steak frites. If you want something other than a plate of carbs, we highly advise ordering this steak - it’s aged in butter, served with crispy fries and a sticky red wine sauce, and we hope it remains on the menu longer than The Simpsons have been on air.
We like Haymaker best for a weeknight dinner, especially if you order a steak or a bowl of pasta. As for the small plates and the Happy Hour burger, you should skip those just like you should skip Season 8 of The Office. And who’s to say that the amatriciana won’t come back from the dead? Jon Snow did.
Expect the menu to change often.
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This is a pile of crab, bell pepper, apple, a little bit of aioli, and that’s kind of it. Proceed if you love those ingredients in their pure forms. Otherwise, save yourself the $15.
Come back, roasted Italian street corn - we miss your parmesan and aioli-topped kernels. Its disappearance hit us harder than when ABC canceled Pushing Daisies.
The raw tuna topped with grapefruit and olive oil tastes great, but the slices are too thick for us.
The buttermilk-fried quail is forgettable - it has a nice crunch but isn’t very flavorful, and the polenta on the bottom doesn’t add anything to the dish.
The cacio e pepe sauce here is silky, with a flawless ratio of pecorino to cracked black pepper. If the pasta wasn’t overcooked by a solid minute and a half, we’d even call it perfect.
Knocking our ice cream cone on the ground or picking us last for kickball won’t make us sad. Serving us the best all’amatriciana in the entire city and then taking it off the menu a couple of months later will. If this amazing plate ever returns to Haymaker, you can expect teeny ziti you could play ring toss with, rich tomato sauce, smoky guanciale, and a mountain of grated parmesan.
If it were 35 degrees outside, we’d go to town on this rigatoni with root vegetables and braised beef. Our only complaint is that there isn’t enough brothy sauce to coat the pasta and the meat is a little tough.
This steak is excellent and always on the menu. The cut of beef is aged in butter, cooked medium-rare, and served with delicious fries on top of a sticky red wine reduction. Order this with confidence.
You can only get a burger at the bar during Happy Hour from 5-6pm and 9-10pm. There’s nothing super memorable about this burger - it’s topped with white cheddar and the bun is way too thick.