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SEA

Review

Dorothee Brand

Queen City

$$$$
Written by
Dorothee Brand

Queen City in Belltown has been around for over a century, but probably reached peak cool in the ’80s when it was called Queen City Grill. It acted as a meeting place for Seattleites to come together over steak and martinis while exchanging floppy disks and discussing the Reagan administration. The space went through a few iterations, and then closed for good in early 2018. But now, Queen City has returned once again. It’s in the same building and from the people behind Linda’s Tavern and Oddfellows Cafe - two solid spots that everyone in this town seems to love.

You can almost feel the history in the long and narrow dining room that looks like a cross between a (clean) fraternity house and a jazz club. It’s hard to distinguish between which features are original and which are renovated, like the church pews and taxidermy deer heads. So when it was handed over to the people from Linda’s, there was an obvious opportunity for this spot to be excellent.

Unfortunately, Queen City missed their shot. They improved upon an already great venue, but the food they filled it with is terrible.

At first read, the food menu has plenty of viable options to enjoy while sipping drinks in a cool hangout. But it turns out, you don’t want to eat any of them, from the bland fig and ricotta bruschetta to the squash gnocchi that tastes like the contents of an entire lemon tree. When we cut into the hush puppies, we found raw batter. And we’re still compiling a list of things we’d rather spend $16 on than the skimpy turkey club that comes with a bland clump of slaw. The only silver lining is the burger, which is the best thing here, yet quite possibly the most average burger on the planet.

Dorothee Brand

The cocktails are OK, but not worth going out of your way for. Aperol spritzes with cava and pineapple are decent. The boulevardier is forgettable. And the flashy-sounding nitro-infused mojito only tastes like a regular ol’ mojito. You know, the kind you’d get at a wedding open bar before transitioning to tequila and reciting a self-loathing toast that nobody asked you to make. You’re better off sticking with beer and wine.

That’s really the only reason why you should stop in - to have a couple of drinks and feel a little nostalgic, not even necessarily for a time you lived through. Though, if you never got to play The Oregon Trail on a floppy disk, you missed out.

Food Rundown

Hush Puppies

Eating one of these sad paprika cornbread fritters is like trying to identify the genre of an obscure experimental indie film. Spicy at first, and so very raw towards the middle.

Deviled Eggs

These are extremely standard, textureless deviled eggs. So if you’re a fan of this snack to begin with, they’re fine. Nothing groundbreaking here.

Fig & Ricotta Bruschetta

This is very thick slab of grilled bread topped with unseasoned ricotta, a few massive figs drenched in sickeningly sweet syrup, and a bunch of limp mustard frills. It’s impossible not to make an absolute mess out of the whole thing. And, it’s not even good.

Smith Burger

We’ve never been so happy to eat a perfectly average burger. We’d even call the fries tasty. Get it if you must.

Squash Gnocchi

The dumplings themselves are not offensive at all. What is offensive, though, is the swampy lagoon they swim in: caciocavallo cheese, lemon, a canopy of more unnecessary mustard frills, and huge mushrooms that soak up all the flavor of the sauce. the outcome tastes truly bad, because a tidal wave of lemon juice does not get along with stinky cheese funk. We don’t say this often, but we had to physically stop after a couple bites.

Classic Club

A sparsely-filled turkey sandwich that has no business being $16. It comes with a cabbage slaw that tastes both bland and slightly rotten at the same time.

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