Big honkin' burgers and girlie-girl drinks
Special to The Seattle Times
One theory of restaurant design dictates that restaurants designed according to a "feminine" aesthetic attract more customers, since women choose restaurants more than men do.
Bosh, says Collins Pub.
The pub — it's a bar, really — on Second Avenue right next to the Smith Tower is manly right down to its studs, with burnished leather and dark plaid banquettes, plenty of hard liquor and not one but three TVs beaming out a steady schedule of ritualized testosterone management drills (aka professional sports). This makes a certain kind of sense in its neighborhood, that male citadel that is downtown, perhaps the only place in the greater Seattle area where men still make most of the dining decisions.
But don't go crossing the place off your list just yet, sisters. It's manly, yes, but in the civilized manner of a men's club, not a brawly beer garden. The decor is new (it opened in April) and polished. And despite service that may have its head more in the game on TV than on the details in the room — once our affable waiter brought us the wrong food; another guy forgot our food altogether — the place delivers a refinement one may not immediately expect of it.
The cocktail list, for instance, emphasizes the jewel-bright, martini-glass class of concoctions made popular by those girlie girls on "Sex and the City." And the menu — a nice tight list of apps, soups, salads and entrees — features delicate ditties like a cheese plate and Boursin chicken.
Of course, these appear right next to the Jamaican wings with house-made jerk sauce and the Collins burger, a mammoth hand-formed beast that you can order with black pepper bacon if you choose. Hoo-ya.
I may be a woman, but for burgers like that I'll go just about anywhere and eat like a man.
Collins burger: In an age of pre-formed fast-food burgers, happening upon a big boy like this, formed by hand of fresh-ground chuck and cooked (oh joy!) to our specifications — "Rare, please!" my husband practically shouted — can coax a tear from the manliest eye. Notwithstanding the user-unfriendly fact that the delicate bun couldn't quite hold itself together around the copious contents, this beast was an unequivocal success, with its delectable beef, extra-sharp Tillamook cheddar, and fresh lettuce, tomato and onion. And special sauce. And two kinds of mayo on the side. (Black-pepper bacon cost an extra two bucks.) Nice crunchy fries, too.
Collins house salad: This I had to order after hearing the woman at the next table going nuts over hers, and indeed it was a winner. A plate-filler, this salad featured wild greens, lots and lots of candied pecans and blue cheese and spicy red onion, a fruity balsamic dressing, and a pretty fanned pear on top. A classic, well done.
Smoked salmon chowder: A (small) cup of this with the salad made a plentiful supper, and its flavors were properly smoky, if over-salted. Lots of cubed vegetables made a nice textural counterpoint to what added up to be a slightly gluey chowder, but not ruinously so.
Pumpkin cheesecake: Made by Paris Gourmet, a local dessert wholesaler, this slice was as lush and wanton as its name suggested, though topped too primly with a miniature daub of whipping cream. We particularly liked the nut-textured crust.
Itemized bill, meal for two
Collins burger $8.50
Collins house salad $8
Smoked salmon chowder (cup) $4
Pumpkin cheesecake $5
Kathryn Robinson: firstname.lastname@example.org
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