Opening night for Ama Ama

October 19, 2007 at 8:46 pm | In West Seattle restaurants | 58 Comments

If you went to The Junction’s newest restaurant tonight (in the ex-Ovio location), please let us all know what you thought. We did receive a review of last night’s “preview night” in e-mail today:

Here’s what reader Jana had to say about Thursday night at Ama Ama:

We went to the ‘shakedown cruise’ of Ama Ama last night. Just wondering if you heard from anyone else who went? It was good – not over the top, but good with potential. The sliders will probably become a crowd favorite – mini burgers on a yummy bakery nouveau roll – 2 for $8. Some of the best pomme frites included as well. What was missing: a kid menu. That was one of the best things about Ovio. Ovio had a great kids menu and that didn’t turn it into a ‘family’ restaurant, but it made it comfortable for families. There was basically nothing on the menu for my 5 year old – mushroom mac & cheese didn’t work for her. AA is a place that we COULD frequent weekly, as we’re at the adjacent dance studio 3 nights a week, but without some kid friendly fare, it will probably have to remain an infrequent haunt for our infrequent adult only nights out.

The other thing that would have made a difference for us is having the owner come around to each table and introduce himself/welcome etc. Nothing. Just a “how was it” as we left. It wasn’t THAT crowded. A personal touch would have gone a long way.

Some other very early reviews (before tonight’s opening night) are in this post and its ensuing comments.

58 Comments

  1. Kids menu? You have got to be kidding me. Nothing against kids, but I would never go in their and spend my money if they become kid friendly. Go to Pyramid Ale House or the Rocksport please. An oyster bar and lounge with kids running around me while I’m trying to enjoy a rack of oysters and a Martini no thanks!!!

    Comment by Jiggers — 9:49 pm October 19, 2007 #

  2. It was nice, no ovio but thats probably a good thing, I never quite caught on to visiting ovio more than once or twice it always seemed too committal. The lamb sliders were tasty, if a little off on meat to bread ratio. The black cod was delicious. I appreciated the scale of the menu, seeing some acceptable sub ten dollar items is refreshing for a neighborhood joint. The oysters were yummy, if a little pricey… we do live in seattle, its not like they are flown in from france. Maybe I am spoiled from happy hours at the brooklyn downtown. And closing out with Bakery Nouveau dessert was awesome.

    A- would visit again

    ps: I saw what appeared to be an owner, he was kinda meh, he played kissy face with some people, but they seemed familiar to him. The wood accents were nice, but it still smelled like varnish. And the bartender didn’t know what lillet was, even though they had it.

    Comment by Vincent — 10:19 pm October 19, 2007 #

  3. Jiggers, can’t wait to bring my kids there to run around like little monkeys, throw food your way and ruin your dinner. Remember to leave a tip!

    Comment by Bonnie — 12:20 am October 20, 2007 #

  4. I’m glad I can enjoy a pizza at Talarico’s without the rugrats drooling beside me.

    Comment by Jiggers — 2:31 am October 20, 2007 #

  5. Hmmm. Still don’t wanna eat there.

    Comment by Kayleigh — 6:57 am October 20, 2007 #

  6. Went to Ama Ama last night. My husband and I agreed that we would probably stick to the sliders and small plate items in the future-especially at happy hour prices. Happy hour 4-6, slider $2/a piece. Bread to meat ratio a little high I agree, but the bread is such a yummy brioche from nouveau that I was willing to let it go. Nice to have someplace to go for oyster in W.Seattle (.50 cent a piece during happy hour) It would have been nice to have someone stop by our table and see how the meal was,especially on opening night, we were there early 5:30, not too many other people around. For dinner I had the monkfish. It was ok, but I didn’t love it. We’ll be back, but most likely it will be for happy hour or small plates.

    Comment by DR — 8:07 am October 20, 2007 #

  7. Good. They are not looking for you anyways.

    Comment by Jiggers — 8:34 am October 20, 2007 #

  8. They made a smart move keeping the menu focused on smaller almost tapas style dishes (although they do have entrees as well). It was pretty clear when Ovio was there that the kitchen could not support the number of tables. This type of menu should help. Service was great and I loved the fried oyster buttermilk salad.

    Comment by Bill — 8:43 am October 20, 2007 #

  9. Please get a babysitter and leave the kids alone so adults can dine in peace. And while we’re at it, you may have noticed that Bakery Nouveau is a fairly narrow space. So it might be a bit inconsiderate of you to park your massive stroller inside when the place is crammed full of people.

    Comment by Aidan Hadley — 8:54 am October 20, 2007 #

  10. I was in Blue C sushi at U Village the other day and there were a couple of moms dining with a toddler in a high chair. When I walked by I noticed there was rice EVERYWHERE. It looked like two samurai warriors had fought a battle to the death involving a large bowl of white rice. When I checked out I asked the waitress if she had seen it and she rolled her eyes and reminded me how incredibly sticky rice was. Something tells me that these well-dressed moms probably weren’t going to help clean up the mess.

    Comment by Christopher Boffoli — 9:00 am October 20, 2007 #

  11. Don’t have a stroller but do find it rude of people to park the stroller in the middle of a small space.

    The Matador is Kid free.

    Comment by Bonnie — 9:01 am October 20, 2007 #

  12. Exactly Aidan….

    Comment by Jiggers — 9:20 am October 20, 2007 #

  13. right on aidan!!

    Comment by Jiggers — 9:26 am October 20, 2007 #

  14. It never ceases to amaze me how I get jumped for some of the things I say and then someone busts out anti-children comments. When you make comments like leave your kids in strollers at home so that adults can dine in peace, it’s equally offensive as saying leave your retards in wheelchairs at home or leave your old people in carts at home.

    I agree that parents should control and clean up after their kids, but realize that it’s not the childrens fault. It’s crappy parenting.

    I can’t wait to go to Ama Ama and try their oysters. If you see a guy in his seat throwing oyster shells at people sipping martinis, you’ll know that you’ve spotted The House.

    PS. I’m a pretty experienced drinker and didn’t know what a lillet was. Now that I know that it’s a Fru-Fru wine, may I suggest a Zima or a glass of Three Buck Chuck?

    Comment by The House — 9:54 am October 20, 2007 #

  15. At some point, having children meant that the whole world could now become a family room.

    Comment by old timer — 10:21 am October 20, 2007 #

  16. Jiggers, was that needlessly hostile comment directed at me? As a West Seattle resident with discretionary income that I regularly spend eating out, I would guess they *are* looking for me.

    I could care less whether children are there; but I don’t eat oysters, beef, lamb, or weird fish like black cod. I tend to choose restaurants where I can enjoy their “specialty”, and so it appears to not be my kind of place.

    Comment by Kayleigh — 10:49 am October 20, 2007 #

  17. Don’t feed the troll.
    .
    That said, I feel for those with kids who get frustrated by their desire to go to a “nice” restaurant while still providing the kids with burgers or mac ‘n’ cheese, but that’s a tough tightrope for a restaurant to walk. If it’s too popular with families, the romantic/business/guys-or-girls-night-out crowd decreases, and those people eat out a ton more than the average family.

    Comment by Michael — 11:37 am October 20, 2007 #

  18. I just don’t like the idea of drinking alcohol with underage kids around me especially little tarts. I’m not their to be kid friendly. I’m their to get a buzz going, let loose and don’t want to worry about my language or my manners because a kid is watching me.

    Comment by Jiggers — 11:42 am October 20, 2007 #

  19. The thread jacking here is crazy, some people who comment here need a WS mailing list so you can air all your grievances because its pretty obvious your never going to say anything in public. Nice shout out to “retards” *The House* ( nice internets name btw ) it really manages to snag the eye while making no point at all. Its cool people choose to pop out kids, but the general complaint seems to be, no one volunteered to be the village to raise them. If you can’t go out to every restaurant or every french bakery cause your kids aren’t civil enough for it, than it sucks to be someone who decided to have kids. foisting ill behaved kids on other people is self centered to say the least. yes you deserve to go out as well, no we aren’t trying to punish you for having kids. but serious SUV strollers? wailing sugared up mini me’s with designer clothes? its like a bad sitcom. but I digress.

    House, the purpose of mentioning the Lillet was simply part of the review to highlight the fact they still haven’t gotten a feel for the restaurant. If a bar stocks a liqor, or aperitif in this case, I have a minimum expectation that they know what its for. If having a bartender know his/her fares is too frou-frou ( oh look I speelld gooder!) well The ebb tide room is open late for you and yours.

    Comment by Vincent — 11:57 am October 20, 2007 #

  20. This argument about kids in restaurants seems like a big waste of time to me. My wife an I don’t have kids and eat out often. I would say that most experiences we’ve had with children in restaurants has been quite positive. It’s good for parents to take the kids out so they can learn how to act in public and how to be tolerant of others.
    Anyway……
    We went with freinds to Ama Ama on Thursday and thought the food was great. We were big fans of Ovio but I always thought the decor was uncomfortable and a little too industrial. Love the retro feel of Ama Ama.

    Comment by Cinco — 12:18 pm October 20, 2007 #

  21. Vincent — one of these days when we have a little extra time to spend on technical development instead of content-gathering, we’re adding forums where people can spout off on anything they darn well please. That said, “threadjacking” will never end because, well, unless you decide to have an extremely strictly moderated site with a rule “all discussions must stay 100% on topic,” just isn’t going to happen. Kind of like real life. Meetings, conversations with family/friends/etc., it just gets sidetracked sometimes. And we will contribute a little to the sidetracking here because as parents, the subject is close to us. (A) not all kids eat only hot dogs and mac-n-cheese. We started feeding ours “grownup” food early and it’s surprising to see how the palate developed from there. So (B) we don’t go to 21-up-only places because life is so busy, mealtime is one of the few opportunities to actually look each other in the eye and talk, whether we are in a restaurant or at home. For those of you who do enjoy an adults-only atmosphere, we’re glad that Matador and Talarico’s exist, although the junior member(s) of the dining party have read the posted menus while Junction-strolling and are honked off they can’t get a chance to try. Oh well. Our hat’s off to West 5 and Skylark as examples of places with prominent bars and yet the opportunity for people of all ages to enjoy the chow at least part of the time. And we hope to try Ama Ama soon, so the ongoing reviews are quite helpful to us too.

    Comment by WSB — 12:36 pm October 20, 2007 #

  22. Sorry to perpetuate the hijacking here, but if West Seattle had more kid-friendly restaurants in the first place, we wouldn’t attempt to bring our little brats to your “hoity-toity” adults-only restaurants. Believe me, we don’t want our kids in these places just about as much as you don’t want them to be there, but there’s really not much choice around here anymore. Elliot Bay Brewery and the Rocksport aren’t exactly places that I want to take my kids for dinner.

    Comment by bgj — 1:15 pm October 20, 2007 #

  23. bgj…funny you mention that about Elliot Brewpub…it’s very kid friendly. Just about every time I’m there there are multiple families also dining. Yes, they have beer…but they accommodate children well.

    Comment by Jan — 1:46 pm October 20, 2007 #

  24. The Rocksport is an awesome place for kids to eat at in their dining room. Plus, they have good burgers,fries and a kiddie’s menu taboot. Why does a restaraunt feel the need to be kid friendly? Or, need to feel pressure from the public in order to do so?

    Comment by Jiggers — 2:06 pm October 20, 2007 #

  25. omg bgj– to get more kid-friendly than Elliot Bay Brewery, you’d have to go to Chuck E. Cheese.

    Comment by Keith — 3:01 pm October 20, 2007 #

  26. isn’t this supposed to be about Ama Ama?

    Comment by Bill — 3:04 pm October 20, 2007 #

  27. So what I’m reading here is that if I were to go to Ama Ama, I would have on one side a mess of sticky mac and cheese with an over-sized stroller parked at my feet and on the other a drunk, beligerant, pompous Jiggers getting his martini on and “letting loose.” I’m not sure which one I’d rather enjoy a nice romantic meal next to.

    Comment by Ron Burgundy — 3:06 pm October 20, 2007 #

  28. Ron—lmfao!!!

    Comment by Jiggers — 4:17 pm October 20, 2007 #

  29. Anyways, I will try AmaAma soon you bet. I love going to Talarico’s, and sit down with a huge slice of Pepparoni pizza near the door during happy hour( for 3 bucks a slice only!!!) only to watch adults with their kids get turned away at the door. My those kids are missing an awesome pizza.

    Comment by Jiggers — 4:22 pm October 20, 2007 #

  30. wow…as the manager of skylark i do want to welcome families and we do our best to accomodate them, we also self regulate with the liquor board and become 21+ at 9pm so the “singles” can have their time as well. while i am not a parent, i choose to to eat all over the junctions…from spiros and circa to jaks, west5, and talarico’s. i just choose what mood i’m in…family friendly or not and choose my restaurant on that. i am happy that there are 21+ places where i can talk like a sailor, and places i can take my nephews. all that said…i am looking forward to trying ama ama out…i worked at guppys and nver found ovio to be inviting…so i am curious to see the space…anyone wanna go catch a drink there with me? looky loo’s welcome!

    Comment by matthew — 4:54 pm October 20, 2007 #

  31. We just had dinner at Ama-Ama Friday night with our 6-month old(she is still very well behaved). The clams were amazing. The owner, Rob, introduced himself and asked about our baby…which all parents love. I am looking forward to going back soon.

    When our daughter hits an age where she isn’t well behaved in a restaurnat we will still be going out to dinner, it will just be without her or to the Old Spaghetti Factory.

    Comment by Jennifer — 7:08 pm October 20, 2007 #

  32. Jeremiah, you coming on to Matthew? ’cause that’s what it sounds like.
    .
    Not that there’s anything wrong with that.
    .
    In fact, I’m glad there are West Seattle restaurants that are friendly to that, too!

    Comment by Michael — 8:18 pm October 20, 2007 #

  33. Went there tonight. It was pretty good food with great service, and we liked the space. Definitely a plus for West Seattle and we’ll be back. However, they make a point to say the desserts are from Nouveau and they cost $8.00 each. Why not cross the street since you are already done with dinner and get dessert from the source for $3.50?

    Comment by CandrewB — 9:11 pm October 20, 2007 #

  34. Hey Candrew…The $8 includes shipping and handling but don’t give away the secret already..

    Comment by Jiggers — 9:36 pm October 20, 2007 #

  35. Matthew, I’ve never been to Skylark but b/c of your comments I’m going to check the place out for dinner in the next week or so.

    Vincent, my reply to your rant above is simple:

    “Now I understand what you tried to say to me,
    How you suffered for your sanity,
    How you tried to set them free.
    They would not listen, they did not know how.
    Perhaps they’ll listen now.”

    Comment by The House — 10:12 pm October 20, 2007 #

  36. OMGs, that’s the first time anybody’s ever quoted Don McLean here. Going off now to write the date on our WSB milestone whiteboard.

    Comment by WSB — 10:18 pm October 20, 2007 #

  37. WSB….hehehehe…..

    Comment by Jan — 10:52 pm October 20, 2007 #

  38. Jiggers – only been to Talarico’s twice and have to disagree about the pizza. It was WAY overcooked (burnt?) the first time. Second time – didn’t even bother ordering pizza and only met there bc that’s where my friends wanted to go. Completely stupid that kids aren’t allowed in there.

    Comment by A — 11:27 pm October 20, 2007 #

  39. Matthew- I will take you up on the cocktails! :D

    Comment by Jen V. — 3:08 pm October 21, 2007 #

  40. I think of Talarico’s more as a bar that serves pretty good pizza (for a bar) rather than a good pizza place with booze.

    Comment by Keith — 4:26 pm October 21, 2007 #

  41. I love the blog. :)

    matthew..we’ll leave the Trooper and greyhounds at home and come have a drink with ya!!

    talaricos’..uhm..yeah…no thanks.

    I loved dining at Ovio, but PLEASE tell me the new interior addressed the HORRENDOUS sound level issues. The place was SO damn loud, we couldn’t talk across the table. All it needed was a bunch of sound absorption material on the ceiling, and a few BIG decorative rugs up on the wall.

    Comment by grr — 8:47 pm October 21, 2007 #

  42. Just need to chime in here to say that Elliott Bay Brewery is a great place to take kids. It’s loud enough that nobody else has to listen to them.

    I’ve been to Skylark without the kids and it was great.

    Personally, I prefer take out with the kids. Hint: when going out with the kids ask for the bill as soon as your food comes. That way if they cause too much trouble or throw the food around you can have your bill paid and get the heck out of there.

    Comment by Bonnie — 11:00 pm October 21, 2007 #

  43. Remember, the business merchants are just trying to appeal to community members. It’s really up to the parents to control the little darlings. Should they take junior to a nice restaurant? Only if they can handle and remove him if he has a fit.

    Comment by Coffee Gurl — 7:44 am October 22, 2007 #

  44. hey jeremiah…thanks but no thanks dude, i got a boyfriend.
    to jen v. and grr…yay! maybe thursday happy hour?
    anyone else who wants to join is welcome!

    Comment by matthew — 11:33 am October 22, 2007 #

  45. I didn’t go out to higher-end restaurants with my mom when I was a kid more than maybe once or twice a year and I turned out pretty well.

    We did this strange thing at my house – we ate dinner at home at our dinner table. Pretty out there, eh? And this from a single mom with 3 kids.

    It’s nice having places without kids. People with kids, don’t act like you’ve got so few choices. There’s plenty of places to take the tots. Let us people who want to have a kid-free dinner have our 2 or 3 places. Your kid and your family will survive this hardship.

    (Now if only there were airlines that we 21 and over so I didn’t have to sit next to a screaming baby for 8 hours. That would be sweet.)

    Comment by me me — 11:52 am October 22, 2007 #

  46. I’ve often said that as soon as you book a plane ticket, you should be forced to specify CHILD UNDER 12…They you automatically get put at the BACK of the plane with the REST of the screaming children.

    Comment by grr — 4:06 pm October 22, 2007 #

  47. Grr — when you purchase an airline ticket for a child under 12 you do in fact need to indicate the child’s age. I guess the airlines realize that since the kid’s seat was a full price ticket they are entitled to sit anywhere on the plane…not just in the back. In terms of feeling inconvenienced on a flight, do you also think those adults onboard who arrive with horrendous body odor should also be stuck in the back? What about morbidly obese people who can’t fully fit in their seats and are sharing part of their seat with you? Perhaps you and “me me” should spring for first class on your next flight…..

    Comment by misty — 6:57 pm October 22, 2007 #

  48. As a parent who takes her young child out to eat all over West Seattle I have to say that I think that there are LOTS of good options for family dining here. (Though I must say we grieved the loss of Guadalajara Hacienda) I think that if there are a few places that are not kid-friendly, that is fine. I would rather have the cruis-ey pick-up joints be separate from the places with kid menus…

    That said, it is absolutely the parent’s job to monitor the child’s behavior and to help the child to learn how to control their own behavior in public. And if a parent is abdicating their responsibility, and their child is being objectionable, I do gently say something to the parent. Sometimes that pisses people off, but sometimes they are happy to get some supportive help. Whether we like it or not, it does take a village some days.

    I am just saying there are other options to stewing and getting pissed off at the breeders and our spawn.

    Comment by que — 9:55 pm October 22, 2007 #

  49. actually, Misty, I usually do spring for first class (airline miles are my friend)…. especially on anything longer than a flight to LA….that ‘usually’ eliminates the cranky children, but you risk the other side of the coin…as you mentioned in your prior post…

    The lack of common courtesy and personal hygiene by the air-traveling public never ceases to amaze me. I have much empathy for airline workers. And restaurant wait staff.

    Comment by grr — 10:40 pm October 22, 2007 #

  50. Food was enjoyable to say the least. The oysters are great and sharing small plates is a good idea.
    Just make sure to stay away from pork riblets unless you are looking for over cooked pork jerky with sauce.

    Comment by Philbert — 8:01 pm October 24, 2007 #

  51. I think the food it great. And all the people that word there and very passionate about what they do. It a great spot to enjoy some really nice cooking! Clams, Slidders, Scallops, everything is great! What is your favorite?

    Comment by Jennifer — 12:13 am October 28, 2007 #

  52. Since when does not having a kids menu mean that a restaurant is not “family friendly?” When most of us were growing up, there was no such thing as a kids menu. The same is true in most other countries. Children can eat smaller (and perhaps simplified) versions of the regular food on the menu. Perhaps children shouldn’t dine at the most formal of restaurants, but well-behaved children can eat most anywhere.

    Comment by Amber — 10:16 am November 1, 2007 #

  53. The place ALWAYS has its shades pulled down, it looks like they are are closed!
    And whats with the cheap printed “open” signs? They might look “open” if they would pull the shades up…

    Comment by Red — 1:00 pm November 1, 2007 #

  54. We ate at Ama Ama the other night. Oysters were good, but a tad on the expensive side. Wine list not so good. We had the Rhone. I don’t reccomende it. Hopefully the wine list will improve in time. Mahi mahi entree was pretty good. Decor is very cool and I think the noise level has significantly decreased as a result. Service was not so good. They charge extra for bread. Deserts are good. Overall, nicer decor than Ovio, but food and service not as good (Ovio had gread servers and fantastic deserts in particular). As they just opened, I’m optimistic that they will improve.

    Comment by Chris — 10:24 am November 2, 2007 #

  55. I had a really solid experience at ama-ama. I’m siked to see they are doing well. happy hour is killer but their dinner definitely holds its own.

    Comment by jamie — 8:03 pm May 3, 2008 #

  56. Ive been to Ama Ama three times and each time something made me upset. The first time I was there it took over 20 minutes to get six oysters and it took even longer to get an order of clams. The clams are good and I loved dipping bread into the broth, could use more broth though as I didnt use the entire piece of bread. Second trip there I got there when it opened for happy hour. There werent many people there so I have reason to complain again. It took 25 minutes to get two sliders (lamb and po boy) which were not that good. Third time I was there was for late night happy hour, REAL reason to complain this time. I ordered a dozen oysters and they were full of sand or something crunchy. The only reason I would go back is for the broth the clams come in and they dont even give you enough to finish your bread!!! They are always looking for entry level cooks on craigslist which might explain something, they need to pay their cooks more money in order to attract better staff.

    Comment by Jezzy Wally — 2:36 pm June 19, 2008 #

  57. People that have kids shouldn’t expect to dine at upscale (or wanna-be upscale) joints. Sorry, that’s the price you pay. Want an obnoxious kiddie farm atmosphere? Cross the street to Puerto Vallarta.

    Comment by DUKE — 9:35 pm July 14, 2008 #

  58. Actually we, and our child, had a great dinner at Spring Hill a few weeks back. He (a fan of buttondown shirts, ties, and nice slacks) was better-dressed – and quieter! – than 90% of the people in there. He’s 12 now but I could have told the same story five years ago. And since this discussion started last fall, yet another adults-only restaurant has joined the Junction lineup (Shadow Land). They all appear to be doing well, which is great. But they won’t get any $ from us because we don’t dine without our kid. I’m not too wrung-out about it, but the number of with-kids families in West Seattle appears to be growing. Maybe good or bad for the adults-only biz.

    Comment by WSB — 9:52 pm July 14, 2008 #

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