Opening night @ Shadow Land: Open discussion


It’s open. One comment’s already come in on last night’s thread so we wanted to put up this post before anybody else came to the site looking to comment. Did you go? What’s it like? Discuss!

46 Replies to "Opening night @ Shadow Land: Open discussion"

  • meme November 29, 2007 (11:17 pm)

    Nice atmosphere, comfortable chairs in the first-half area, great tvs, but $5 for a well gin and tonic.

  • n November 30, 2007 (12:22 am)

    seems pretty avg how much did you want to spend

  • k November 30, 2007 (9:13 am)

    walked by, took a look at the menu and poked our heads in. can’t figure out what “vibe” they are going for there. it seems a bit disjointed or something. no real focus. curious to hear how the food is.

  • Meg November 30, 2007 (10:06 am)

    I was there last night. Overall the food was pretty good; the only thing i wasnt sold on was the salad it had a bit too much dressing. The things I did sample from our group were the toasted almonds, hummus plate, and mac and cheese. The almonds and hummus plate were amazing! The mac and cheese was good but nothing special. I am excited to go back by there soon to try to more! The vibe almost reminded me of maybe Talaricos??? And nooffense meme the prices werent bad at all..pretty comparable to other bars etc.

  • DAS November 30, 2007 (3:55 pm)

    I was there last night with a friend. The kitchen was a little slow, but that’s to be expected on the first night. The staff was very personable. I found the menu a little funky, but I’d like to go back and try the mac and cheese or fries w/gravy and cheese. The front windows give a great view of junction activity and should be very nice in the summer. I will go there again.

  • Susan November 30, 2007 (7:32 pm)

    Am I reading the red lettering correctly in the photo – is this another new Junction establishment that’s 21 & over?

    I’ve always felt that West Seattle was quite family friendly, but no more. With Matador, then Talarico’s (who’s ever heard of a kid-free pizza joint?), and now Shadowland…I’m finding the atmosphere getting a bit hostile.

  • GenHillOne November 30, 2007 (8:17 pm)

    Okay guys, see the red writing on the door in the picture? “21 & over” – somehow this blew past us during the last few months of hype (I found it mentioned in the archives – March?). We took a chilly walk to check it out and ended up with a pretty discouraged teen. VERY disappointing. Without starting the kids or no-kids restaurant debate, this isn’t what I wanted to see come into the neighborhood and I wasn’t impressed. Especially when the staff went into a song and dance about how hard it is to get a liquor license for an all-ages restaurant…yeah, cuz there aren’t any of those around.

  • GenHillOne November 30, 2007 (8:20 pm)

    LOL – Susan, technical difficulties on my end held up my last post…wish I would have seen your comment earlier tonight. You have better eyes than I do!

  • Bob Loblaw November 30, 2007 (9:15 pm)

    Headed out tonight to try both this place and Ama Ama. The amount of coverage for Shadowland in the WSB led us to believe it was going to be the greatest place ever (not the fault of WSB. Just saying). Could not have been further from the truth.

    Here’s how our evening went down:

    * Enter Shadowland. Hard to tell who is staff vs. patron. They all have the same trendy star tattoos and lip rings. Nobody greeted us. Found our way to the bar. Waited 8 minutes (clocked it, too!) with Mrs. Loblaw doing her best to capture somebody’s attention.
    * Hipster tatooed bar guy spots Mrs. Loblaw. We get a drink menu and a food menu. And that’s when the feeling hits. You don’t know whether to laugh at the owner or cry that perhaps you are out of touch with the world. A Pinot Mr. Loblaw paid $8 a glass for downtown two weeks ago is $14. The menu is not as tough to swallow. But trying to get the price of that pinot out of our minds just doesn’t work.
    * Mr. Loblaw says he’ll stick with the water. Mrs. Loblaw orders lemonade, We take too long ordering and get the, “I’ll give you some more time to look things over” comment (read: i’m too busy to ask if you have questions, and I really don’t know much about our food anyway).
    * The Loblaws then walk out of a restaurant for only the second time in their long lives. We will never go back. Under 30 and wanting to pretend that your MySpace life means something? This is your place.

    Head down the street and:
    * Enter Ama Ama. Greeted right away by a friendly face who explains it will be 20 minutes. Points us to the bar. Checks in often to offer alternative seats to a table. 25 minutes later we have a table. A bit of a wait. But during that time we are asked no fewer than 3 times how we are doing and whether we are being taken care of. All the time we are soaking in the atmospher and the demographic. Yes it feels like we are stranded in a Palm Springs cocktail party circa 1964. But they pull it off right — straight down to Viva Las Vegas playing on the flat screen without the sound (thankfully). And, what’s that? Children! Children welcomed, but plenty of sections to keep the hipsters away from the kids (or vice versa).
    * Seated, drinking $8 pinot that’s worth $14, we’re attended to by a polite server who brings fried oysters, more wine, and (I forget what Mrs. Loblaw had since I’m busy eating oysters and drinking wine).
    * Dessert? Oh yes, my friends. An apple tart from the bakery across the street only marked up by a dollar suits us just fine. In fact we went across the street on the way back to the car and bought some more baked wonders.

    Ama Ama, you made us feel as if West Seattle has arrived. Shadowland, you made us feel as if West Seattle should be ashamed.

  • BB November 30, 2007 (9:41 pm)

    Went for apps and a cocktail. Service was good, room was good, could use a (just) slightly more mainstream menu (wife is convervative). Aside from that, I LOVE the place. WELCOME TO THE NEIGHBORHOOD!

  • LA in the Junction November 30, 2007 (10:00 pm)

    Hmmm..we went there tonight and were underimpressed. The waitstaff was great, very personable, and we were greeted by one of the owners who apologized for the wait. That wasn’t the problem, it’s great to see a good turnout on the second night, and we didn’t mind waiting our turn. But the menu is totally funky. Rabbit, lamb, duck, beef, and only one fish dish as the main entrees? And small plates of random things like almonds, hummous, clams, rabbit again, overpriced scallops and other mix-matched items? They were out of the mac and cheese AND the raviloi, and gravy-covered fries are just plain weird. I miss Ovio Bistro, and unfortunately, this is no substitute. I wish it were.

  • jrd November 30, 2007 (10:28 pm)

    Oh please stop. You need to bring the kids?

    Go to:

    Husky Deli
    Elliott Bay
    Bakery Nouveau
    Coffee to a Tea
    Cupcake Royale
    Great Harvest
    The sushi place
    Buddha Ruska
    Easy Street (well, at least breakfast)
    Garlic Jims
    Pho Than Bros.
    Puerto Vallarta
    Taquiera Guaymas

    Let us people who want to have a night out without screaming kids sitting next to us have our 4 or 5 places.

  • rick diculous November 30, 2007 (10:59 pm)

    jrd, Amen brother, or, uh, sister. I absolutely agree w/ you. Mr Loblaw, I’m thinking that you got really lucky with Ama Ama tonight. Good for you.

  • n November 30, 2007 (11:22 pm)

    I think you are being a little hard Mr Loblaw it is only their 2nd night and like jrd said there is plenty of places to take your kids I have 2 and am not hurt by that I want to go to a place where there isn’t a kid crying and for Ama Ama glad you had a good time

  • Slik Dogggg November 30, 2007 (11:25 pm)

    100% – I will give this place a chance or two just based on the fact that I don’t have to sit next to your child. Love the list JRD…keep it handy because hopefully 21 and over joints will continue to dominate the junction! A wonderful design detail is that your kids can sit on the sidewalk with your dog and watch the Mariners on the big screen above the bar.

  • jrd November 30, 2007 (11:43 pm)

    Sister, and thank you! As you can tell, the whining about kid friendly restaurants annoys me. I had a single mom, yet ate at the dinner table at home most of my life (under 35, and couldn’t imagine eating my dinner, regularly, as a kid at a place with a bar in it).

    I also have to say, Mr Loblaw, that Ama Ama has been open for a couple of weeks, and are getting the kinks worked out. You’re going to be this critical to Shadow Land on their 2nd night open? You can’t compare the two – ever worked in service? I have, in the restaurant field, and 2 weeks vs. 2 days is night and day.

  • k November 30, 2007 (11:56 pm)

    Another Amen for jrd.

  • Jan December 1, 2007 (12:06 am)

    jrd…I’m glad you said that last bit. I haven’t been to Shadowland yet. But I will be going soon to give them a try. Kinks always need to be worked out. Revisit the reviews of Ama Ama on it’s first and second day open on this blog. Mixed reviews back then. Mixed reviews now. What is that saying about not being able to please all of the people all of the time?

    Fries with gravy weird?
    a delicacy in some places :) (I didn’t say a healthy delicacy – lol)

  • willamina c. December 1, 2007 (1:47 am)

    The poutine was bloody awesome.
    The gin and tonic was worth the $5.
    The mac and cheese could have used a bit more salt but was otherwise fine. Sorry, gotta be a little critical. :)

    Service was sterling and quick, and no, i’m not under 30, though i have quite a MySpace presence.

    I’m sorry it’s not working out for some, but i know i can conclude nothing from a visit after two days, and i know that the real test is a weeknight next month.

  • Bob Loblaw December 1, 2007 (6:23 am)

    Like I said, you hipsters who want to put gel in your hair and drive your sportcars and pay twice as much for a glass of wine than it’s worth can have Shadowland. The adults will go elsewhere.

    btw, the Loblaws are childless. the comment was about the demographic, not the need to drag children into a place.

  • Aidan Hadley December 1, 2007 (7:44 am)

    We went over there last night on a whim and couldn’t get in the place. It was actually packed to the gills. We were gobsmacked. I guess the word is out. I’m sure if we go back over on a week night it will be slower.

    Everyone has been too critical of this place. THEY JUST OPENED. Give them a chance. I agree with those here who desire a few places that are not over-run with badly behaved, loud children. But a lot of you need to get out more. I mean, since when are foods like duck and rabbit exotic. Gimme a break.

  • GenHillOne December 1, 2007 (8:43 am)

    Here’s my take on kids in restaurants – it’s all about BEHAVIOR, let’s not condemn the whole lot of ’em. My son is a bigger fan of duck and rabbit than I am and perhaps a better cook! He was taught ‘restaurant manners’ from day one. We have no patience for loud, disruptive, or overly-messy children in restaurants. If the behavior will affect other customers or create additional work for staff (picking up individual grains of rice thrown around the table?), the child should be taken out of the restaurant. Some parents are oblivous or in denial. They need to step up to the plate and I don’t have a problem telling someone if their child is disrupting my dinner. Point being, the new wave of 21+ restaurants feels discriminatory to our little family that eats out several times a week. Atmosphere and expectations inside can go a long way. I wouldn’t expect to have toddlers crawling all over me at a ‘brewery’ but it happens, so we don’t go there. Perhaps if more customers and waitstaff speak up, EVERYONE can have an enjoyable experience.

  • JRW December 1, 2007 (9:01 am)

    Great list JRD! Stop whining about the kids. Who would want to bring kids to a bar? I wish people would stop brining them to Jak’s. It is NOT a kid friendly environment and kids hate it there. Their whining is very annoying to those of us who found a babysitter!
    As for Shadowland, I’ll wait a little while until they settle down, then I’ll go check it out. Sounds promising though.

  • WSB December 1, 2007 (9:03 am)

    FWIW our experience is exactly the same as GenHillOne’s. We drove past SL yet again yesterday and the well-mannered, gourmet-loving offspring (who has never been a fan of “kid food” or much of anything else that’s specifically geared to alleged kid interests) said sadly, “21 and over, so I can’t go in there, huh?”

  • Kayleigh December 1, 2007 (9:30 am)

    Mr. Loblaw, your review was very funny. Every time I walk by Ama Ama I think, “Mary Tyler Moore Show decor.”

    I don’t care whether there are kids or hipsters in the place, personally (never had a meal ruined by either one)…I do care if the food is well-prepared and the kind of food I like, being a very picky semi-vegetarian.

    I guess the jury is still out on Shadowland.

  • CB December 1, 2007 (11:52 am)

    We ate dinner at Shadowland last night. We were confused when we entered. There was no greeter, so we stood there and waited for someone to seat us. After a few minutes of waiting we headed back and flagged down a waitress. She seated us in the back and we ordered the scallops, rabbit stew, and clams. The food was hearty, heavy, and lacked complexity. Nothing we ate was savory or seasoned. It was all a bit dull to be honest.

    I know this is their second day open, so I don’t want to be too tough. The wait staff was very nice and professional. We will visit again in the future, and I hope their menu will evolve. If you are looking for an amazing small plate experience, check out Black Bottle in Belltown.

  • add December 1, 2007 (11:53 am)

    We did the same tour last night – first checked out Ama Ama for cocktails and appetizers. We sat at the bar and had a great time. Nice vibe, friendly service, food good, and prices pretty good. Then walked up the street to Shadow Land – it was pretty crowded (especially considering that it was early – around 7:30) and it took quite some time for a bartender to mosey down to our end of the bar. We each had a drink (no food) – I thought the by-the-glass wine list could have been better and agree that two of the 5 choices being over $12 was pretty steep. It does have potential to be a fun bar – didn’t feel like much of a restaurant. We laughed because 5 of the 6 desserts listed said “Sorry not available tonight” printed right on the menu! Overall, I’m excited to have two more options for going out in West Seattle.

  • Luckie December 1, 2007 (12:33 pm)

    We stopped by Shadowland last night at about 8:30. It was crowded, but we found two seats at the bar and settled in for some after-dinner cocktails. The demographic at that point was, I’d say, folks in their mid-30s to mid-50s. It was like a big friendly party, with many people circulating around chatting. Kyle, the bartender in front of us making our drinks, was working hard and doing an outstanding job. I might go in again sometime and try the food. My only complaint: the big TVs over the bar. That’s just a personal thing; my eyes keep drifting up there, and I don’t have the willpower to stop them. I want to be able to focus on my companion when I’m out, not the Lakers.

  • grr December 2, 2007 (12:00 am)

    we also braved the snow to give SL a shot, KNOWING it was still having teething pains. We were immediatly greeted and apprised of wait time. Two seats at the bar opened quickly, and we were asked if we minded the bar instead of a table. No problemo.

    squash soup and rabbit stew were quite tasty, as was the wine. An ordering snafu kept our main dish from arriving promptly, but, no excuses were made, and the situation was handled appropriately.

    yeah…the TV’s are distracting..but the game was good :) After all…it’s a bar that serves food (more on that in another post..)

    I think the main difference between SL and AmaAma is ‘cohesiveness’. From the decor to the menu, Ama has an identity. SL seems to be more of a hodgepodge of ideas that haven’t quite jelled….yet… Even with the nice light fixtures…it feels ‘dark’,… without a specific style. Maybe that’s what they were going for…..All in all..I give it a 7 out of 10. The food we had was VERY VERY GOOD. I want to try a few more menu items. I’d say just give it time to develop a style of its own.

  • grr December 2, 2007 (12:05 am)

    JRD..thanks for that great list. While I personally do NOT enjoy screaming children running around where I dine out, well behaved ones (especially teenagers/college age adults,) are always fun to hang with. I truly do feel for parents with great kids who can’t enjoy finer food.

    and THEREIN lies the crutch of the issue. All these ‘new’ places in WS….they are BARS that happen to serve food. (ok..maybe not Ama Ama).

    The wife and I were discussing on the way home…what is WS MISSING??? Would a Rovers or Crush style place work in WS? What about Tango, Brassa, etc? Is there a market for a place that is DINING FIRST, bar 2nd? Could a place like that survive with JUST a beer/wine license?

    discuss ;)

  • grr December 2, 2007 (9:22 am)

    oh yeah..Jaks, Mashiko, and others mentioned…..etc…..they don’t count. They’re established, well respected places. I’m curious about a NEW place…if one were to want to open something now…

    what’s missing from WS??? What do YOU people want?

  • bboy December 2, 2007 (9:57 am)

    Hey grr- what about Beato?

  • GenHillOne December 2, 2007 (10:00 am)

    Absolutely, grrr. I like your thinking. I know WA has complicated liquor laws, but I think it still comes down to a choice by the proprietors. WS does have restaurants with (full) bars – areas sometimes only separated by a 3-foot tall railing. Then there are restaurants that don’t have a separate bar area but serve liquor. Both versions are also seen in places with beer/wine only. On top of that you have places that are clearly promoted as bars, but (per WSLCB rules) allow minors until 8:00 or 9:00 p.m. as long as they aren’t sitting AT the bar proper. My restaurant experience is a bit dated now, but I do think there still is a required food-to-alcohol sales ratio that has to be maintained for purposes of a liquor license. Why limit your options, especially in a neighborhood setting? If it were me (ahem, Spring Hill), I would offer a mature menu, in a mature atmosphere, and allow minors until a certain hour. I haven’t seen the entire menu, but with the exception of mac & cheese (which would probably be the default kids’ item), it doesn’t sound like Shadow Land’s menu would be appealing to most of the grade school crowd, (always exceptions of course, but those palates may be our future chefs, bravo). To incorporate grr’s Rovers thought, multiple-course dinner menus could be offered on a regular basis. With RESERVATIONS available (at least for those dinners) – a whole ‘nother topic. And again, there are lots of ways to set the tone and expectations inside too. I know it’s a tough, tough business and financially risky for those with the guts to open an establishment. What I don’t doubt is that those who do take the leap have a particular passion, or it wouldn’t be worth it, and I respect that. If it were my risk, I’d want to be known for consistently great food and service, and reach as many potential customers as possible. Grr, are you doing market research? :)

  • GenHillOne December 2, 2007 (10:19 am)

    Let me add too that there is ALWAYS a place for the spots jrd mentioned (although some a bit misguided for purposes of discussion – seriously, suggesting that parents should bring their little ones to Cupcake Royale for a meal?). We were talking about a particular type of menu here, but if someone’s passion is a great hamburger, enchilada, or omelet, bring it on! There are plenty of stomachs to go around. I don’t think we’ve hit the saturation point for casual dining yet – with consistently great food and service anyway.

  • grr December 2, 2007 (5:22 pm)

    re: Beato. I have not been there. Damn those high carb Italian meals :) It’s on the list, and perhaps soon on a week night I’ll give it a go. I remember dining at that bldg YEARS ago before the original Ovio went in. And a few Ovio meals there. I do remember it being small and intimate…and loud..I hope they’ve doen sound sound deadining/noise abatement treatment.…market research…uhm…er…..


  • grr December 2, 2007 (5:27 pm)

    oh yeah, Gen..the RESERVATIONS thing…let’s call it like it is. I simply won’t go to Jaks anymore because of that. And, I’m THRILLED that Mashiko has gone more and more in that direction (and clamped down HARD on their ‘to-go’ orders. We’ve dined there fore nearly 10 years, and, although the quality and service have always been top-notch..the past few visits felt even MORE special. I simply won’t eat sushi/japanese anywhere else.

  • KJones December 3, 2007 (9:56 am)

    For the sake of returning this comment thread back to topic… Went to Shadown Land last night for the first time. I was impressed by the lovely job they did designing the place. Especially the lighting – which always makes such a big difference when done well. We had great service. Watched a ball game on their great TVs. Did not have to endure screaming children. We did not eat, but many around us at the bar did eat and it all looked and smelled great. Well, okay, I’ll admit we did have the biscotti and vinsanto. Reminded me of the old country. Yes, drinks and beers are cheaper at the Corner Pocket and The Pogie. I don’t mind paying for atmosphere. The place is lovely, the staff was friendly, the beer was cold, and the vinsanto bellisimo. Cheers to a new adults only night spot on the rock!

  • Kathleen December 4, 2007 (1:43 pm)

    Went to Shadowlands on the Friday after they opened. The place was packed! We ordered the olives, the scallops, the clams, the poutine (I’ve been wanting to try it since I saw Anthony Bourdain eat it when visiting Canada on his show), the oysters on a half shell,and the pasta with lamb. We all shared, and everything was wonderful. Yes, there were a few glitches, but give them a week or two to work the kinks out. I really enjoyed it. The clams and scallops were especially good.
    As far as the over 21 rule, I don’t care about that. I raised 3 kids, and I don’t care if I’m sitting next to kids or not. I figure the guy opening the restaurant and taking the risk gets to decide what kind of restaurant he wants. If I like it, great, if I don’t, too bad so sad.
    Loved Shadowlands, will be back!

  • top notch December 5, 2007 (4:19 am)

    went to shadowland, ate drank and sociallized. had a great time. west seattle needed a place like this. warm, cool, and comfortable with great food!!! my new favorite!!

  • mro December 5, 2007 (10:40 am)

    though it’s evident they are still getting settled in their space, i have had 2 lovely experiences with shadowland. the vibe was great. it was quiet, clean and had excellent service. although i agree that the salad is a bit heavy on the dressing, it is delicious. the almonds are wonderful, but the ribeye is amazing. i found that the larger portions are perfect for sharing make the experience perfect for an intimate date or an evening out with the ladies. i highly recommend.

  • Monsignor December 5, 2007 (2:16 pm)

    First of all I think it is rather unique that the LOBLAW’s refer to themselves that way, reminds me of Bob Dole. Any how my wife and I went on Friday (without the kids), it was slammed. They need a front end host/hostess, that was the only thing that was off, and it was very OFF! We waited for 10 minutes before any one acknowledged us. After a gin and tonic (avg. price), it was the clams, scallops, fries and rabbit stew. All of the food was wonderful, we recommend it, and will go back.

  • Katie McA December 6, 2007 (4:49 pm)

    We tested it out their first Friday as an afterthought to Jak’s happy hour- not bad, though maybe a little overpriced on the vino. The creme brulee was phenomenal, though it was the only dessert they were serving that night. We didn’t try any other food (stuffed from Jaks), and the atmosphere was only ok. It seemed like they were trying a little hard for the hipster feel for a place with massive TVs over the bar. Overall it felt a little self-conscious, but they haven’t been open long. We’ll be back to try entrees.

    Please let me say thank you for the list above for places where people can take their kids. I ate steak and shrimp in many restaurants as a kid, but I can guarantee my parents would NOT have stood for me banging on plates, eating under the table, running around a restaurant (if you care enough about the kid to bring them, for God’s sake keep them out of the wait staff’s way so they don’t get hot coffee spilled on them!), screaming, kicking, or any other behavior that too many parents I see out dining with their children seem to think that the rest of the world should call “cute” or overlook altogether.

  • Red December 8, 2007 (8:51 am)

    We tried SL on Wednesday night and it was exactly what everyone is saying, no one to greet you, the bartenders and wait staff just looked away. Finally we had to ask a waitperson if we just seat ourselves. We ordered two cocktails, and then went to wine, yes, the wine is expensive and there is no description of what the wine is like. It would be nice to know, not all of us are familiar with French wines. The food was ok, the mac and cheese was very salty, the marinated mushrooms…were they supposed to be hot or cold? Ours were both. The clams were good, but no bread to sop up the nice juice.
    Service was very good. We were seated in the back of the restaurant…by the bright and very loud kitchen…they need to do something about that. I wonder if the owners ever read these blogs, they might learn something and make corrections to keep us all coming back. We will give it another try in a while, hopfully they will get it together.

  • Stephanie December 11, 2007 (2:37 pm)

    I’ve been into Shadowland 3 times now, and every time have enjoyed it! Their drinks are good, their staff are easy-going and friendly, the owner is a really nice guy, and the food that I’ve had was really good! It is a little weird that each time I go in, their menu is different… I’m not sure if this is because they are still trying things out or working the kinks out, or if it is just their “thing”… Either way, I highly recommend their macaroni and cheese… Amazing!

  • Barb December 19, 2007 (9:55 am)

    I went to SL on their 2nd Friday night, fairly early – maybe 7pm. Sat at the bar, chatted with the bartender (who mentioned WSB so they must be reading), had a bowl of very good celery root soup, and had a great conversation with the guy who sat next to me. My friend arrived about 30 minutes after I did and we barely spoke amongst ourselves because the people on either side of us were so friendly and social. It was a great first experience.

  • motofunroad December 22, 2007 (1:18 pm)

    good & bad. 7p last night. ordered a wine & a G&T at the bar while waiting for a table. table came up right away, we got the G&T & the bartender sd the wine would be right over. the wine took about 10 min to come over. they comped 6. of the 8. glass. agree: need a wider range of wines & descriptions. had clams-quite good, mac & cheese, agree, salty but good, tomato soup-soup good but leaned on heavy amt of cream. oysters were good but the server couldnt deliver the origin w/confidence. inconsistent rock music blared, sports on the screen – for that kind of atmosphere might as well be at Elliott Bay instead of paying 28. and up entree prices. seats in the booths hard as a rock – how bout some cushions? in spite of it all, will give them some time to work out the bugs & will try again.

Sorry, comment time is over.