Followup: Westcity Sardine Kitchen finally opening Friday night

July 29, 2013 at 1:01 pm | In West Seattle news, West Seattle restaurants | 55 Comments

West Seattle’s next new restaurant, Westcity Sardine Kitchen, opens Friday at 3405 California SW, and will serve dinner seven nights a week. We’ve been watching this one for a long time; check the backstory:

December 2010The Bohemian abruptly closes.

August 2011The site sells to an “experienced restaurateur” (eventually revealed as the owner of Bick’s Neighborhood Grill in Greenwood).

January 2012 - A liquor-license app spills the name “West City Sardine Kitchen” (the first space has since been removed).

September 2012 – After months of attempts to get more information about the future restaurant and its status, via phone calls, in-person visits, notes on the door, we receive a postal-mailed letter from its proprietors, explaining their plan of a “simple neighborhood dinnerhouse” in the vein of Bick’s and co-owned, nearby Saltoro.

June 2013 - A help-wanted ad for the new restaurant appears on Craigslist.

We’ve gone by almost daily ever since, hoping to find someone to follow up with. And today, we connected with staffers who tell us they’re opening Friday, August 2nd, and will be open 5-10 pm daily thereafter – the “simple neighborhood dinnerhouse” as explained in that September letter.

Read on for photos of the menu, and more info:

The menu has lots of seafood, but they do also have chicken, steak, and burgers. They want to stress that the pricing will offer something for everyone. As for the beverages – full bar, with six beers on tap, and a wine selection.

Here’s the menu, photographed in sections:

And going back to that letter they sent in September – looks like they’ve stuck with the plan:

… We plan a simple neighborhood dinnerhouse, just like Bick’s and Saltoro. Both of those restaurants have a core menu that rarely changes, and a large chalkboard menu that continually changes, depending on seasonality, availability, kitchen interest, and what our guests like! We plan the same for West Seattle, with the menu ultimately determined by what our guests will order. …

So what took so long? The space apparently needed a LOT of work. But they say good things come to those who wait – so go try for yourself, and wish them well, starting Friday night. (Their phone: 206-937-0155.) We’ll be adding a page to the WSB West Seattle Restaurant Guide, too.

55 Comments

  1. You had me at whipped sardine butter.

    Comment by Joe Szilagyi — 1:19 pm July 29, 2013 #

  2. This sounds great. Thanks for sharing the menu. I’ve eaten at Bick’s and they have great food and service. Welcome to the neighborhood!

    Comment by Kim — 1:24 pm July 29, 2013 #

  3. looks great!

    Comment by biankat — 1:32 pm July 29, 2013 #

  4. Yay!!!

    Comment by Dusky — 1:38 pm July 29, 2013 #

  5. Can’t wait to check it out!

    Comment by Tuesday — 2:06 pm July 29, 2013 #

  6. I already know what I’m ordering on my first visit: spicy sardine puttanesca with housemade pappardelle. Also, I wonder if there will be happy hour drink and small plate specials?

    Comment by rw — 2:07 pm July 29, 2013 #

  7. Seriously. If the word “sardine” is in the name of the place, please save a booth for me.

    Comment by Michelle R-R — 2:09 pm July 29, 2013 #

  8. I am going against the grain here. Yuk, the name is very unappetizing and the butter sounds awful.

    Comment by Alkiguy — 2:43 pm July 29, 2013 #

  9. Finally! A place with some unique offerings in our hood. We’ll be there asap.

    Comment by schwaggy — 2:46 pm July 29, 2013 #

  10. Welcome to the hood, menu looks great!

    Comment by WS Neighbor — 2:59 pm July 29, 2013 #

  11. Please get some cushions for those seats! Unless of course you just dont want people to stay long.
    When I’m spending money I prefer to be comfortable.

    Comment by justme — 3:07 pm July 29, 2013 #

  12. Kids Menu? I’d love to have a place to bring the family other than Zeek’s (pizza…again?) and Copper Coin (meh).

    Comment by WS Taxpayer — 3:26 pm July 29, 2013 #

  13. Justme – do note, they still have a few days of work. Might be cushions that haven’t been put in place yet.

    Comment by WSB — 4:23 pm July 29, 2013 #

  14. I can’t wait!

    Comment by Laura — 5:19 pm July 29, 2013 #

  15. You guys never put the addresses of these places.

    Comment by Donna — 5:20 pm July 29, 2013 #

  16. The address is in the very first line of the story.

    Comment by WSB — 5:42 pm July 29, 2013 #

  17. Alkiguy, tell you what, you take my fish allergy, sounds like it would be a much more usefull affliction for you.

    Luck to you folks, this sounds like one of those “oh no, not another pizza/Mexican/mediocre Asian” restaurant that the locals CLAIM they are longing for. The prices are reasonable and the dishes look great.
    The principles have an excellent rep in the industry and a proven track record, I doubt many will come away disappointed.
    Any word on the head chef?

    Comment by dawsonct — 6:45 pm July 29, 2013 #

  18. Can’t wait.

    Comment by Ray West — 7:19 pm July 29, 2013 #

  19. I know where I’m going Friday!

    Comment by NeighborMom — 8:32 pm July 29, 2013 #

  20. Yay! Looks great. Hoping they’ll consider breakfast/ weekend brunch. Also hoping this opening will remind folks to also goto chalkboard bistro – it’s great food but seems to be lacking in business – the location sucks for traffic. Hope they both can hold on until this 160 unit apartment building rises and makes this area BUSY!!

    Comment by NW mama — 10:07 pm July 29, 2013 #

  21. Yay! So happy to have a spot A few blocks from my house. Truffled fries?! Ok! We’re there! I hope they offer happy hour :)

    Comment by lilscoto — 11:24 pm July 29, 2013 #

  22. I was lucky enough to be invited to the soft opening on Sunday and Monday. Everything was really good. So far people seem to be hung up on the name for better or worse, but I’ll have you know that i tried the grilled sardines and they were amazing. They come with this caper-relish that is totally on point with the dish. Nice addition to California Ave.

    Comment by Kai — 1:25 am July 30, 2013 #

  23. Grilled sardines! Hurray!

    Comment by Rodriguez — 4:51 am July 30, 2013 #

  24. Vegetarians get ignored again on the print menu – guess we’ll see what the chalkboard draws…

    Comment by Drm — 7:24 am July 30, 2013 #

  25. Drm – take a closer look at the menu – baked olives, crispy chickpeas and housemade fettuccine – none of them list meats – and you could ask for a pasta without the meat! Also, unless you’re vegan, their salads don’t list meats! I love veggie entrees but also eat meat.

    Comment by Patricia — 8:06 am July 30, 2013 #

  26. Menu looks pretty tasty! Save for the sardines. (Ha!)

    Comment by OP — 9:52 am July 30, 2013 #

  27. NW mama, you mean Blackboard Bistro. One of my favorite places in Seattle, not just WS.

    The Sardine Kitchen looks like a great addition, can’t wait to try it.

    Comment by D — 10:14 am July 30, 2013 #

  28. We loved Saltoro when we lived up North. Excited to have this in the neighborhood! Menu looks amazing.

    Comment by E — 1:54 pm July 30, 2013 #

  29. Can’t wait to try it! The restaurant looks great!

    Comment by wsparent — 2:16 pm July 30, 2013 #

  30. My kiddo and I HEART sardines :)
    Stoked….I’ll even order to go if it’s not kid-friendly enough!

    Comment by BrassyMomma — 2:37 pm July 30, 2013 #

  31. Hope they do well, but too pricey for me. I wish West Seattle had some more affordable restaurants. Even then I’d be willing to fork out a few more bucks, if I was fed. I find Seattle restaurants tend to be stingy with the portions, aside from a few chains that make a point of serving a lot of food.

    Comment by G — 5:05 pm July 30, 2013 #

  32. Not another place serving sardines! ;)

    Comment by AJP — 4:11 pm July 31, 2013 #

  33. Looking forward to this restaurant. My fave restaurants happen to be Bicks and Saltoro, so excited I don’t have to drive an hour anymore! And the seats aren’t too bad there, so should be fine here. Although only downfall to the restaurants up north, are they were pretty noisy!

    Comment by onCalifornia — 6:43 pm July 31, 2013 #

  34. I’m glad that this space is being filled and can’t believe some of the negative comments people make. I’ve been a vegetarian for 25 years and there’s nothing that requires a restaurant to offer veggie options. If they dont serve the food you eat, then go somewhere else. There are PLENTY of places with non-meat options. Also, eating out isnt cheap! Get used to it! If you don’t find the prices reasonable then eat at home. Geez. Good luck to the new business!

    Comment by cheshire — 8:05 pm July 31, 2013 #

  35. When I see the name Jessica Freeman(part owner)attached to any establishment, I know the dining experience will be the highlight of your evening. Everything she puts her hand to comes from a heart of gold and a sincere striving toward perfection for those she serves. Enjoy her and the fine dining!!!!

    Comment by Jody — 11:43 am August 1, 2013 #

  36. Welcome to my neighborhood! We’re two blocks away and will be visiting soon. Have a great opening!

    Comment by ScaryB4Coffee — 2:55 pm August 1, 2013 #

  37. Welcome to the neighborhood. Can’t wait to try your delicious menu and sit in your lovely restaurant. Best wishes to all of you and good luck!

    Comment by Pizzeria 22 — 3:43 pm August 2, 2013 #

  38. I’m so excited. I love Biks. Now I just need to convince them to serve the brick chicken here.

    Comment by Queenie — 7:55 pm August 2, 2013 #

  39. Hooray! I can’t believe we’ve been waiting since 2010 to see this great spot filled with an honest sardine joint. I heart sardines.

    Comment by Jim — 8:00 pm August 2, 2013 #

  40. Wonderful dinner on opening night. Steamed clams, roasted beet salads, & a split order of pasta. You have to try this place! Thank you Jessica.

    Comment by raysbro — 9:01 pm August 2, 2013 #

  41. The interior is nice (also the place was pretty full but not too noisy), the staff is friendly and the service was prompt (which seems to be rare for the first night of a restaurant). We had grilled sardines on a fennel & arugula salad, a beet salad with spinach, halibut, smoke salmon pasta, and the chocolate dolci dessert. All were good, and I’d order them all again. Looking forward to going back and trying other dishes.

    Comment by DaveB — 9:03 am August 3, 2013 #

  42. Any help on a phone number or website? I’ve googled and see nothing on Facebook.

    I’d love to try to make a res for tonight if possible. Thanks!

    Comment by Kate — 2:28 pm August 3, 2013 #

  43. Hi – no website. If you followed our chronicle of trying to keep track of this restaurant in the 2 years since the location was purchased, you would know that the team is apparently resolutely non-electronic. Same for the other restaurants in the family – no websites. After trying months of various ways to reach people for info on this then-impending restaurant, last September, we finally got a nice note … by postal mail. Anyway, that aside, there is a phone number on one of the menu photos. Take a close look. If you don’t see it, I seem to recall coming across one by googling westcity kitchen yellow pages …

    Comment by WSB — 3:09 pm August 3, 2013 #

  44. Do they have a website? I can’t find one. In this day in age that is a detail that can’t be overlooked.

    I really appreciate you menu photos, but without a website that lists the complete menu, I am not wasting my time stopping in to try it.

    I think it’s cool they are focusing on a fresh blackboard, but with the simplicity of websites now, putting that stuff up is easy.

    Comment by Julies — 3:58 pm August 3, 2013 #

  45. Wow, the post from WSB just appeared for my viewing.

    I understand the desire to be non-electronic, but you must can’t run a business that way. Especially in Seattle.

    I hope they prove me wrong and outlast others who have opened in that space.

    Comment by Julies — 4:03 pm August 3, 2013 #

  46. Went tonight with a friend. I wasn’t real hungry, so ordered the baguette with sardine butter for $3.50. I was expecting a large basket of fresh, hot bread, but got a tiny loaf not much bigger than a dinner roll, not heated and was mostly chewy crust. I opted for oil and vinegar rather than the sardine butter, as that sounded unappetizing. I also paid $3.50 for a small glass of diet soda (less than a regular can and no free refills). My friend really liked the stuffed calamari, but it was a small portion and rather pricey ($11.00) for an appetizer. I’m glad to see something other than Asian or Pizza open up in West Seattle, and I’ll probably try them again, but the choices are rather limited for me since I do not like sardines which are in a lot of the dishes. This won’t be a regular eating spot for me.

    Comment by Ray West — 8:13 pm August 3, 2013 #

  47. Ate there tonight. Definitely a class act and will go back again (and again). All the dishes we ordered were very nicely prepared–several small plates and the the pasta puttanesca with sardines plus dessert. Most memorable: the crispy chickpeas and the limoncello sorbet with sugar-coated blueberries. I should also mention that our server was excellent and very attentive. It was pleasant surprise in a newly opened restaurant to see things moving so smoothly!

    Comment by Joe — 10:51 pm August 3, 2013 #

  48. Why would someone that doesn’t like sardines go to a restaurant with “sardine” in the name of the restaurant and then order a dish that has sardines in it and then complain that they don’t like sardines and the dishes sound unappetizing and there are a lot of sardines in the dishes that are served by the sardine restaurant? That’s a little like a vegan doing a restaurant review of Jak’s.

    With that being said, I can’t wait to try this new member of the neighborhood.

    Comment by 2 Much Whine — 7:37 am August 4, 2013 #

  49. Cross posted on yelp

    I am so pleased to see a bistro/wine bar type restaurant in West Seattle. Great wine list and good beer selection. We went opening night and for a first night I was impressed with how well it all went, meals were delivered timely at the right temperature and were great. I order the seasonal veggies and clams – perfection. While my guy had the steak – also perfection, he even ate the green beans which are “not a favorite” of his.

    Some constructive criticism – while I love the menu it seems it should be a little more or have a more comfort/traditional food. While great this isn’t the type of place we’d go every weekend or every other weekend just based on the plates. Play off the the fact that you’re in a neighborhood within walking distance of numerous people looking for a simple night out for a meal and a drink. There are tons of places in Seattle to eat similar and it’s rare that someone will drive here from Cap Hill. Focus on the hood.

    Also great service – our waitress was prompt, knowledgeable and helpful. She was also pouring all our drinks ? We did have to wait for at least 15 minutes after placing our drink order to get them – not her fault since she had tables to attend to. I’m not quite sure why a bartender or the owners who were walking around looking at things didn’t jump behind and pour drinks. Basically we got our wine minutes before our food (food was timed perfectly) so while we would have each probably had a 2nd glass we only got one. Again. Focus on what the hood wants – a drink & an easy bite within walking distance of their home.

    We will be back but not sure when…

    Comment by lvbebe — 1:40 pm August 4, 2013 #

  50. Just had dinner and it was quite good…many choices but we decided on the “sardine” theme and enjoyed everything we had. Pretty good wine by-the-glass selection as well (the Quattro Mani Montepulciano was great with the Pappardelle and Sardine Puttanesca!) Atmosphere is nice but a bit noisy…not too bad though. We used to go to Bick’s when we lived in Greenwood…always enjoyed yjat place too for a casual night out.

    Comment by onceachef — 8:47 pm August 4, 2013 #

  51. We dined at West City Sardine Kitchen on opening night. It was delicious and they were amazingly on-point for Night #1. We tried the sardines (delicious), my husband had a beet salad which he gave the thumbs-up, and for entrees I went with halbut (w/smooth cauliflower puree and carrots) while he went with a seafood pasta which he enjoyed. Dessert was a rich chocolate mousse of sorts with a sprinkle of salt atop and served with ice cream that had a bit of brickle/brittle. Much nicer/brighter setting than the sometimes-dark Bohemian before it, and it’ll be a lovely place in autumn/winter.

    Separately, I was in Frank’s Oyster House over the weekend (I had a good culinary weekend, apparently) and heard from the bartender there that a chef or *the* chef at West City hails from there. Frank’s Oyster House is a class act so that bodes well for us all.

    Comment by Jane — 1:30 pm August 5, 2013 #

  52. Just curious – is one of the terms of service to write Yelp reviews that you have to be smugly passive-aggressive? Because every single “Elite Yelper” writes in exactly that tone, which makes my eyes bleed.

    Comment by Ajax — 2:47 pm August 5, 2013 #

  53. Went last night. Had grilled sardines, beet salad and seasonal veggies. Kiddo (six) had kids pasta (lovely penne, butter, cheese – plain, but just what she wanted). Everything was great, can’t wait to go back and try some of the gorgeous drinks I saw coming out of the bar. It was comfortable, service was perfect, and the food was delicious. I was so impressed by the seasonal veggies. Our server described them as carrots and green beans, but they were whole small carrots, green beans, snap peas, and sliced cherry tomatoes, all perfectly cooked (i.e., slight crunch), and I had to fight the kiddo for the last carrot. I not only totally enjoyed the food, I felt healthier leaving than when I came in.

    Comment by D — 12:13 pm August 6, 2013 #

  54. Had a pretty bad experience… Ordered baked olives which all had pits yet served with bread and tasted like my Costco olives warmed up. I then ordered a sardine pasta dish which had a lot of the noodles stuck together in clumps and was not good to put it nicely. They think they are at the level where they don’t have to provide you with salt and pepper. they are not there. The bartenders need cheat sheets for unimpressive cocktails. I am not a foody person and by no means a critic but I could have made this myself and not been happy. Service was ok if I have something positive I can say. I hope they get it figured out soon because I love where it is located.

    Comment by C — 8:33 pm August 9, 2013 #

  55. Definitely not for vegetarians.

    Comment by russ — 8:17 pm August 13, 2013 #

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