Bulletin for food fans: Spring Hill Restaurant opens tonight

(video no longer available due to blip.tv shutdown)

(Updated 12:51 pm with that short video peek inside the new restaurant) We dropped in quickly a short time ago to verify a tip that Spring Hill in The Junction is about to open, and indeed, they tell us tonight is opening night, open for dinner 7 nights a week, 5:45 pm-midnight. (Previous WSB coverage: January Q&A with owner here, sneak peek inside last month is here, and just for the historical record, our very first mention it was coming was November 9, 2006.) EARLY SATURDAY P.S.: Note the comment just posted from a self-identified insider, including menu excerpts.

56 Replies to "Bulletin for food fans: Spring Hill Restaurant opens tonight"

  • Sue May 23, 2008 (11:18 am)

    Did they ever give any idea of what the menu is like, and the price-point? Their website doesn’t have this info, and one of your previous links simply said it wasn’t ready to reveal yet. It’s hard to get excited about a restaurant when I don’t even know what the cuisine is. :)

  • JanS May 23, 2008 (11:35 am)

    I agree Sue…how else are ya gonna get anyone in there?

    (I hear it’s supposed to “give a new meaning to the words French Bistro)

  • deb May 23, 2008 (11:50 am)

    I’m happy that there’s a new restaurant and bar opening within walking distance of our house. But I agree that it’s hard to get too excited about it when there’s zero information available about the menu or prices. (I hope they’ll have at least one or two inspired vegetarian options.) Maybe this is a “soft open” and they just haven’t finalized their official offerings yet.

    Another thing that is perplexing is the opening time of 5:45. Not that we’re early-bird-special types or anything, but sometimes it’s nice to hit a place right after work. Even 5:30 would make more sense. 5:45 just feels so random.

    But I’m still looking forward to checking it out first-hand and reading other people’s reviews on WSB.

  • OP May 23, 2008 (12:43 pm)

    I’ve said it before to friends, W. Seattle is becoming a culinary hotbed, from Admiral Junction to Alaska Junction and even to Morgan Junction. I’d even go so far as to say that W. Seattle contains some of Seattle’s best kept food secrets. :-) But hopefully not for long! ;-) (I just hope they get the traffic at places like Beato, Spring Hill, etc, to keep that vibe going.)

  • RobertSeattle May 23, 2008 (2:29 pm)

    I’ll chime in for a 5:00 start for us early risers…

  • jiggers May 23, 2008 (2:31 pm)

    Look, you guys don’t have a clue in how a restaarant operates. Tonight’s opening is for close friends and family I’m pretty sure. They are booked solid already for tonight. The Chef doesn’t need to have a full menu ready, but just somthing that they can work with that can be easily improvised on. If something doesn’t work, they can change it right away. Its a delicate process in the very beginning until they get customer feedback in what’s good and not good. It takes time to develope a profitable menu. It takes money to create a website as well. You just can’t throw money away into something that’s not gauranteed. I used to work in the industry and know about this. Word of mouth is the best advertisement and cheapest. If your to lazy to check it out in person, that’s not there problem. I’m sure when they have a better idea of what will be on the menu permanentley, they’ll create the website, but Its a huge money risk if you don’t take the right steps and get it down the first time around. Your overhead like labor or food cost can ruin you very quickly in this type of business.

  • WSB May 23, 2008 (3:35 pm)

    Jiggers obviously knows the restaurant business – but just to clarify one point, my co-publisher did personally go in today (twice, so he could get the video visuals the second time) and at no point did they say that tonight is for invitees only. Whether they’re booked solid or not, guess a call for reservations would settle that, for anyone interested in going on Night 1. If you do go, come back and let us all know what you tried! — TR

  • matthew darling May 23, 2008 (3:39 pm)

    wow jiggers…you sound angry. i’ve been in the industry for over 20 years and while word of mouth is awesome and integral, letting people know the cuisine is even more important to get people excited. also, if they say they are open, then this is not a family and friends night…you do that quietly a week or two before u open. i am by no means criticising spring hill, i was just taken aback by the rant. congrats to those involved in the opening!

  • Sue May 23, 2008 (3:51 pm)

    Jiggers, as TR clarified, nowhere did it say that it was a private opening, so as far as I was concerned, anybody could show up if they had room to serve me. And while I don’t work in the restaurant industry and no, I don’t know all that goes into it, I don’t think it’s unreasonable at this point to have *some* idea what kind of food it is. Are we talking appetizers and drinks like Shadowland? A pizza place? Ethnic food? Basic “american” food? Family friendly? Romantic dinner for couples? I don’t need to know their entire menu right now, but to know whether I can get a snack or a meal there, or whether it will cost me $10 or $40 will make a difference in my decision to patronize them. And yes, it *is* their problem if we are too “lazy” (as you say) to go find out what it is, because it will make the difference on whether they have business or not, now and in the future. I have a lot of choices on what to eat in WS if I’m inclined to go out tonight – it’s really not unreasonable to ask why this place deserves my business more than another.

  • Sue May 23, 2008 (3:56 pm)

    Found this googling: http://seattle.craigslist.org/see/fbh/655863662.html
    We are looking for hard-working cooks who have a positive attitude, integrity and a passion for food and dining.

    Spring Hill, chef Mark Fuller’s new restaurant will seat 66 in the dining room and 8 at the bar. The pacific northwest inspired restaurant will place a premium on local, natural and sustainable farms (and foragers) from Washington, Oregon and Vancouver B.C. to provide our foods. Our casual bistro-style menu will maintain a sophisticated characteristic dependent on well executed technique.

  • WSB May 23, 2008 (4:09 pm)

    That was all reported here (and then some) in the January 31 Q&A which I linked above:
    very first A to very first Q.

  • Jiggers May 23, 2008 (4:12 pm)

    Angry?…lol C’mon Matty boy, they are open to everyone after tonight, so no matter what, I guess we’ll hear the critics come out swinging, and then again, I’m sure that’s what they want is feedback so they can improve on the quality their dishes that they will serve. It was the same way with Shadowland. Maybe they could have given WSB a small type of “what to expect” menu to post here. Did WSB ask them for a sample menu to post? But I agree that thay they should have had a soft opening a week ago for friends and family only. They probably wern’t ready to open last week due to numerous glitches that needed to be ironed out still yet. And we’re not the owners, so its their call when to open and what to do. But its not rare for restaurants to do this on their first night.

  • thatgirl May 23, 2008 (5:07 pm)

    i just called & it is only for friends & family. they have a few open seating tonight, but their opening day is actually sunday.

  • Jiggers May 23, 2008 (6:21 pm)

    Maybe the WSB spy team can get a nice 2-3 minute video shot of some dishes coming off the line for people here who want to see first before they waste their time and money.

  • pigeonmom May 23, 2008 (6:22 pm)

    I can’t resist……
    spell check
    spell check
    spell check

  • Linda May 23, 2008 (8:32 pm)

    We have reservations for tomorrow night so I think it is indeed open to the public, at least by tomorrow.

  • WSB May 23, 2008 (8:33 pm)

    No “spy team” here. We go everyplace fully identifying ourselves. That said, we’ve reported it’s open, it’s up to prospective customers to report back … there are several other relatively new West Seattle restaurants we haven’t even been to personally yet, before we get to this one! As for the “not really open till Sunday,” just don’t know what to tell ya there, the proprietors, with whom we’ve been in contact several times over the past year, told us it’s tonight, and we know of at least one person who’s not “friends/family” who has a reservation for tomorrow night (besides the previous commenter). Still waiting for that first review — Bueller?

  • grr May 23, 2008 (10:43 pm)

    as long as there’s no freakin’ plasma TV’s on the wall, I’ll check it out. Imagine…a real adult dining establishment. (ok..Beato counts as well).

  • Joanna May 23, 2008 (11:03 pm)

    Full disclosure upfront – I’m the chef’s sister, so won’t be able to provide your first unbiased review – I of course think everything about Spring Hill is fabulous. But here’s the scoop on tonight: it was indeed for friends & family, and we all made our reservations early this week. It was a ‘soft opening’ but instead of keeping it completely closed, they decided to accommodate other reservations and walk-ins as they could (not too many as we sort of took up the place). Mark and Marjorie have been working fast and furious to get everything ready for tonight…they would have definitely liked to have already gone live with their Web site and menu, etc. but the food and the build-out has been their main priority. They’re working on the site and http://www.springhillnorthwest.com should have full details in the next few weeks or so. But here’s a sneak peak in the meantime. Though the menu will change frequently, this is the sort of fare you can look forward to (not the full menu, just a few items from each section):
    small dishes
    o butter lettuce – tender herbs, breakfast radish, parmesan, citronette – 6
    o hen, beef & ham broth – mushroom dumplings, spring onions – 10
    o beef steak hot & cold – wood grilled rib eye cap steak & raw steak tartare, potato chips – 12
    o roasted mussels (totten inlet, wa.) – in their own juice, parsley, grilled bread with white bean & basil – 10
    o razor clam crepinette & three lightly pickled oysters – 9
    o creamy grits & side-stripped prawns – poached egg, morels, shrimp gravy – 14
    -ice cold-
    o dungeness crab – melted butter – half 14 whole 28
    o kumamoto oysters (willapa, wa.) – 1.50 ea. briny
    o kusshi oysters (deep bay, b.c.) – 1.50 ea. mild
    -oysters are served with cascade hops mignonette-
    main courses
    o sautéed halibut (ak.) – olive oil sauce with parsley, smoked clam panzanella, pean vines – 24
    o wood roasted pork rack (carlton, or.) – garlic sausage, white beans with tarragon, green apple, ramps – 24
    o roasted duck – glazed thumb carrots with peas, quinoa, orange mustard – 21
    o ½ pound beef burger (strawberry mtn, or.) – house bacon, beecher’s cheddar, special sauce, beef fat fries – 15
    o handmade tagliatelli – fava beans, hen of the woods, cherry tomatoes, green garlic, parmesan – 16
    I won’t type in the dessert menu here, but it includes artisan cheeses and ice cream made on-site.
    As eight-year residents of West Seattle, Mark and Marjorie are really excited to finally be open in the neighborhood. I definitely recommend a visit; regardless of my bias, I don’t think you’ll be disappointed….

  • JanS May 24, 2008 (1:33 am)

    Joanna …thank you…hoping to visit soon :)

  • jiggers May 24, 2008 (2:39 am)

    Congrats on your first night and may you be open for many more to come.

  • austin May 24, 2008 (8:39 am)

    Oh. My. I think I could get cozy with some mussels followed up with halibut. The menu looks awesome, l’m looking forward to coming by for some first hand experience.

  • Aidan Hadley May 24, 2008 (9:19 am)

    OMG! A West Seattle restaurant is doing a shrimp and grits dish?! That just warms my black Southern heart. Definitely going to have to try that one.

  • rj May 24, 2008 (10:02 am)

    I went to the opening last night. They definitely just dove right in! Food was great (I tried the pork and steak) drinks were great (get the gold and brown!) Service was a little slow, but friendly and competent. I’m sure it will tighten up as the opening night kinks are worked out. I loved the feeling of the place–the clean wood slats folded above the benches and the green wine cabinet as a focal point upon entry. This place is here to stay!

  • jiggers May 24, 2008 (11:52 am)

    Chef Fuller a student of Tom Douglas? What else do you guys expect? He’s going to raise the bar in West Seattle that’s for sure.

  • Joe May 24, 2008 (2:57 pm)

    Welcome to West Seattle. The menu looks great and I will definitely be in soon. Good luck!!

  • GenHillOne May 24, 2008 (6:52 pm)

    Welcome – and menu looks GREAT! Just to be really sure we don’t get any hopes up at our house…this IS an all-age establishment, yes? Can anyone confirm?

  • WSB May 24, 2008 (7:05 pm)

    Yes, it’s in one of our previous articles linked above, they told us definitely NOT another “21-up” restaurant. Not to open that can (or plate) of worms again – for those who want to dine in an adults-only atmosphere, it’s great you have several options here in WS – but when we go to restaurants, we go en famille — and the Junior Member of the Team has always had a rather adult palate, so we’ve never “needed” to stick to the typical type of cuisine offered to families with kids – so we’re glad we’ll get to try this one.

  • GenHillOne May 24, 2008 (7:44 pm)

    Thanks, WSB – you never know, sometimes things change in the process :)

  • grr May 24, 2008 (11:12 pm)

    as long as ‘all ages’ does NOT mean your 4 year old running up and down the aisles, or a two year old sitting in a high chair crying or throwing food on the floor, I’m fine.

    and yes…cheezy grits…I’m SO there.

  • Jiggers May 25, 2008 (9:33 am)

    Keep the kids over at Elliott Brewery please.

  • JW May 25, 2008 (11:51 am)

    Went last night – YUM. Sending out a big dose of appreciation to Chef & Co.

  • funnygirl28 May 25, 2008 (1:08 pm)

    I agree with Deb’s comment above. While the sample menu sounds lovely, I do hope that there will be at least a few vegetarian options and/or a kitchen that will happily accomodate vegetarian adaptations of meat-based menu items. There are a lot of us vegetarians in West Seattle and we like fine dining, too! Regardless, best of luck, Spring Hill!

  • grr May 25, 2008 (4:00 pm)

    it’s not ‘fine dining’ unless there’s some sort of meat substance.

    want some bacon flavored celery?


  • steveed May 25, 2008 (4:44 pm)

    “want some bacon flavored celery?”

    …why yes. Yes, I do.

  • d May 25, 2008 (5:08 pm)

    funnygirl28 –

    I’m not a vegetarian, but I’ve always thought WS would be able to support a nice small vegetarian restaurant. Something like Cafe Flora, perhaps?

    Ok. Vegetarian foodies….Please, open a cozy little place in the Delridge Valley for us.

    But good luck to Spring Hill too. Anyone who dares and cares to do something fabulous with razor clams has my respect.

  • grr May 25, 2008 (6:28 pm)

    my apologies..I should have used ‘proper’ foodie terminology and requested ‘rendered pork infused organic greens’.

    :) I’m fine with great vegetarian food, btw… LOVE Cafe Flora. But…it’s such an easy target..one must take the shot when presented…


  • Van May 25, 2008 (8:32 pm)

    Congratulations to Mark and Marjorie (and the family)! I know they have poured their heart and treasure into this. Great to read the posts and vicariously sample from afar (NorCal). Looking forward to our future stroll through the flavor fields of SpringHillNorthwest.

  • Jiggers May 25, 2008 (8:53 pm)

    West Seattle needs a huge salad bar eatery because get too many sugary places that makes your waste line look like the liberty bell.

  • Sarah M. May 26, 2008 (11:05 am)

    I am friends with Marjorie and we went to the restaurant on Saturday night. Everything we tried was delicious. I am not a vegetarian but I had the tagliatelli, which is a vegetarian dish (hen of the woods is a type of mushroom – I didn’t know this and had to ask the waitress). I am a big fan of homemade pasta and I loved this dish! The rolls and beets were excellent as small plate starters too. I am excited to go back again soon!

  • Jana May 26, 2008 (12:06 pm)

    Amen Jiggers! Why not a juice bar as well!

  • THD May 27, 2008 (10:23 pm)

    One word – YUM
    Had a great date night tonight with my husband at Spring Hill. Loved it. Sat at the bar – had a fresh roasted beet salad and then split the cheeseburger with house made roasted tomato ketschup and beef fat cooked fries – wowsa. Great Northwest wine selection and a decadent chocolate cake with home made coffee ice cream and crushed salted peanuts. Will literally steal my kids allowance to go back to Spring HIll as soon as possible. Lucky West Seattle. It’s just the place we were looking for. Not as stuffy as Beato and not as casual as basically every other place on the California. Precise and well cooked. You wont go wrong. Run do not walk to Spring Hill NOW

  • WSB May 27, 2008 (10:36 pm)

    Question for those of you who have been: Will we feel completely out of place with the cuisine-appreciating, well-behaved, well-dressed (he prefers buttondown shirts and ties at all times) 12-year-old? Did anyone actually see anyone with a young person? Just curious. Dining without him is not an option. — TR

  • THD May 28, 2008 (5:36 am)

    WSB – Definitely bring your 12 year old – he will enjoy it. Cant picture babies/toddlers hanging here as they do at Elliott Bay though

  • Jen May 28, 2008 (10:14 am)

    I must’ve been sitting next to THD & husband last night… I started with a house cocktail, the Smith, a delightful apple-flavored champagne cocktail perfect for a warm spring evening. Next was the roast beet salad, followed by the grits & prawns, a foray into true comfort food territory. I had the chocolate cake, too, which was good and definitely not cake-like at all in texture – not a bad thing whatsoever. The menu advertised it with salted-peanut ice cream, though, so the coffee-flavored scoop, while good, was a little bit of a letdown (since I’m one of probably three people in Seattle who don’t drink coffee). Service was friendly and capable – the only letdown was when my wine glass was removed at the end of the meal and promptly dumped when there was still wine in the glass. Regardless, Spring Hill is a GREAT addition to the West Seattle dining scene. Go now before it gets super busy.

    And yep, WSB, your 12-year-old (who sounds awesome, BTW) will feel right at home. Have fun!

  • deb May 28, 2008 (10:34 am)

    I second THD’s one-word review of “YUM.”

    I had dinner at Spring Hill last night. My sister let me have a few bites of her butter-lettuce salad–OMG, it was DELISH. But the highlight of the meal for me was the tagliatelli. It was insanely delicious. The pasta was perfectly cooked, and the flavors were just spot-on. Way to make the vegetarians happy!

    My only disappointment (besides the borderline-skimpy wine pour) was that, after we ordered dessert, our waiter (who was terrific, BTW) came back to the table and apologetically told us that the ice cream hadn’t set up yet. I was so disappointed because the Ovaltine ice cream was calling my name.

    I’ll definitely be visiting Spring Hill again soon, if for no other reason than to taste the Ovaltine ice cream. Nice work, Spring Hill!

    (WSB, your 12-year-old will be right at home there. There were no kids there last night during our meal, but it certainly seemed like a great place for older, well-behaved kids.)

  • Lulu May 28, 2008 (4:12 pm)

    We took my 12 year old niece on opening night and she has begging to go back. (Literally.) She had the steak and those decadent fries and fell in love. We had the beet salad, salmon spread (which I don’t see up above) and mushroom ravioli as starters. The salmon spread in particular I adored. Other small dishes were good, too. I had the trout with artichoke and green garlic spaetzle, as I was branching out and it was FABULOUS! I don’t eat trout a lot, my early experiences with it being very fishy, but this was great. Very simply done and a tasty piece of fish. The spaetzle was unusual and so nice. Halibut was a hit with co-diners and the niece had a taste and also deemed that yummy. We intend to go back and work our way through the menu! Yay!

  • coffee geek May 31, 2008 (9:43 am)

    Had a chance to dine there last night. Not bad, not great. I give the entire experience a 6/10. The staff we dealt with seemed a bit bewildered. Apps were good: sweetbreads and salmon spread. The chunk of salmon spread came with 3 paper thin slices of baguette for our 4-person party….when asked, they brought 3 more slices. All dinners were good, but about 2/3 through the time plates were to land on our tables the manager(?) told us they were out of trout. Not a huge deal, but we waited maybe an hour for the entrees. I liked the interior, another in our party thought it looked like Ikea. Georgetown brews on tap which is never a bad thing. I ended up with ribeye instead of trout. It was good. Not as good as Jak’s. They did voluntarily take an app off the bill, and charged for trout instead of steak. I think it’s a great addition to the jxn. We will be back in 4 to 6 weeks, maybe sooner. I’d like to see the bugs worked out and the staff more confident. I’d also like to see the apps match the number at the table…or at least a warning from the server. It can’t be easy opening/running a restaurant. I wish them the best, and with improvement will continue to support them.

  • bill June 1, 2008 (2:02 pm)

    We too just ate there last night with another couple and had a great time! It was pretty much what I expected from a new restaurant…a bit loud, fun, new & exciting and although a very few minor flaws(again, to be very expected with a new place as they are trying get the rhythm and synergy down between them all) it was very fun. Tasty dishes, good portions, not too big or too small, a step above places like Shadowland, Ama Ama etc. yet, still with a great neighborhood casual feel. Flavors were real, and natural. Dessert offerings perhaps a bit minimalistic for my taste, but what they had, it was tasty. I will be back and spread the word for sure. I encourage everyone to give them a try and some slack as they iron out any querks that they may possess. This is most surely the best place of this caliber in West Seattle thus far.

  • Jane June 4, 2008 (7:35 am)

    Ate at Spring Hill last night. Pros: Good wine list (K Vintners, Novelty Hill, nice to see ya!), nice menu, incredible dessert. Cons: Waitstaff couldn’t seem to time bringing drinks/food and were still learning the menu, and, possibly their table zones. Also, it was unbelievably noisy in there — they need sound-proofing, curtains, carpet, something. I could barely hear my dining companion across our table for two. Another issue: Their food is good, the menu great. But time and again, I kept thinking each dish we tried could be had better somewhere else and also for less. I know they’re early on, but at $21 for a meatless pasta, I kept thinking — Beato or Volterra would make it home-made and at least put meat in here, and charge about $16. The $16 burger? It was good but the bun was the non-firm kind (wonder-bread style) and I’ve had better burgers at Palace Kitchen or even at Circa, which also uses organic beef and charges about $10. The fact that they charge for bread and butter is a crime. Dessert — fudge with a nutty/salty ice cream — was great, even if the dessert drink my co-diner ordered came, well, after dessert. We’ll be back, of course, to see if things synch up once they’ve got more time under their belts. But thus far, for the prices and the conceit they’re after, I feel it doesn’t deliver enough right now given what it asks guests to pay… not yet, anyway. Jury’s out.

  • Chantal June 20, 2008 (6:41 pm)

    I recently dined w/ my sis at Spring Hill. The chefs use high quality market fresh ingredients, and they clearly cook w/ passion. The atmosphere is perfect– understated contemporary neighbood feeling. Loved it!

  • T-BONE June 21, 2008 (10:50 am)

    I just had a wonderful dining experience at Spring Hill. First of all the service was impeccable. The butter leaf salad was simple with outstanding flavor, the tagliatelle pasta dish was awesome with fresh seasonal ingredients, and the fudge cake with salted peanut butter ice cream was FAB, I think it was the best ice cream I’ve ever had!! I would pass on the duck however, but overall, I thought the food, atmosphere, and service was great. I will be back for sure. It’s nice to have a positive dining experience for a change!

  • Jack Loblaw June 22, 2008 (10:07 am)

    The Loblaws just tried Spring Hill. The restaurant is beautiful inside ( I still remember renting VHS tapes in the building when it was Ch 3 video ) The service is spot on. The food was excellent and the dessert ( fudge cake with salted peanut butter ice cream ) was great. The menu is heavy on seafood entrees, which I am not a big fan of having grown up in West Seattle smelling Puget Sound every day of my life, but there were several choices for non seafood lovers. The prices are high compared to other West Seattle restaurants but this place is worth the cost. Great food – great service. We will be back.

  • Elise June 25, 2008 (9:54 pm)

    Just went tonight. The food rocks! AND it is so nice to not have to leave West Seattle for great, unique food. It is worth the price and I recommend this restaurant to West Seattle foodies.

  • Amy August 18, 2008 (10:32 am)

    We were so extremely excited to try Spring Hill last night. We adore all the Tom Douglas and other great Seattle restaurants especially when it comes to duck eggs, bone marrow (Quinns, Cremant), lamb neck soup which I still remember eating at Dahlia years ago, etc. We couldn’t believe we were finally about to have this experience in our own WS. Unfortunately, when we arrived before the 5:45 opening (we didn’t realize it wasn’t open yet), the hostess, appearing shy and inexperienced, mumbled that they were not open yet and kind of giggled. We then went for walk and came back only to find out that without a reservation, a table would not be available — we would have expected the hostess to have said something of the like when we were first there. So we then bellied up to the bar to eat which is usually a fun thing to do — only to have the bartender quip a very cold hello as if our presence were an irritant — this put a complete damper on the rest of the experience. As for the food, the duck egg ravioli appetizer was fabulous but the halibut and trout dishes too sweet. Lastly, the restaurant is so beautiful but the front part is too cold with the windows viewing parked cars — the windows need something to make that part of the space as warm as the rest of the space.

  • Christine November 14, 2008 (12:41 am)

    I went there with a friend on 10/3. Overall experience was a 6 out of 10. Entrees were great (trout) after waiting for over an hour. We asked if there was a problem and our waiter was a little distracted and told us “no, no problem – that is just how long it takes”. Food was great. Restaurant design is a little icy and not as cozy and romantic as hoped, but definitely a good addition for West Seattle. Hopefully they can work on service.

Sorry, comment time is over.