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mamster

[SEA] Baguette Box

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C'mon, people, we are supposed to be the culinary avant-garde here. Is it possible I'm the only one who's been to Baguette Box?

First of all, let's clear up some misinformation. Both the Times and the P-I got the address totally wrong. It's 1203 Pine, NOT 1201 E. Pine. The latter is a furniture store. Baguette Box is located just across the freeway from the Paramount, on the same block as Machiavelli.

It's a great space, with soaring ceilings. When I got there around noon on opening day, they were busy fielding calls ("Where the hell are you guys?") and Eric Banh was there shaking hands. Here's the menu in its entirety:

Baguettes:

Crispy drunken chicken $6.50

Hoisin ground pork $5.90

Salmon gravlax $7.50

Salumi's cured meat $6.90

Roast leg of lamb $7.90

Veal and beef meatball $6.90

Soup $3.50

I got the crispy drunken chicken (the word "crispy" gets me every time). This is the same as the crispy chicken at Monsoon, but on a crusty baguette with lettuce and sauteed onions. All of the parts were good, but it was impossible to eat as a sandwich--chunks of chicken kept falling out. This did stop me from eating the whole thing. (If you haven't had the crispy chicken at Monsoon, it's basically really good General Tso's chicken.) I thought baguette (I didn't ask whose) was also a little too rustic and would like something slightly less crusty, more toward the banh mi end of the axis.

Someone near me was oohing and ahhing over the meatball. I can't wait to try the other fillings; they need to fine-tune the food a bit, but this place is practically on fire with potential.

Hours:

Sun-Thu 11am-9pm

Fri-Sat: 11am-3am

Now, let's get going--I want to hear about the salmon, the salumi, hell, I want to hear about all of them.


Matthew Amster-Burton, aka "mamster"

Author, Hungry Monkey, coming in May

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mamster - thanks for the clarification on address...i would have gone to 12th and pine. i think the article in the times (if it can be trusted) said the breads were supposed to be from macrina.

it also mentioned a vegetable sandwich - eggplant? or did i make that up?


from overheard in new york:

Kid #1: Paper beats rock. BAM! Your rock is blowed up!

Kid #2: "Bam" doesn't blow up, "bam" makes it spicy. Now I got a SPICY ROCK! You can't defeat that!

--6 Train

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But banh mi are supposed to be under $3.00.

I had a Dahlia sandwich on half baguette - serrano ham, manchego cheese, quince mayo and greens for less. And I didn't have to walk up the hill.

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These aren't banh mi by any stretch, and there is no vegetable sandwich. I thought it might be Macrina bread; I know they make a less crusty loaf (the giuseppe). Maybe they could be cajoled into trying that.


Matthew Amster-Burton, aka "mamster"

Author, Hungry Monkey, coming in May

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Now, let's get going--I want to hear about the salmon, the salumi, hell, I want to hear about all of them.

I'd love to check out this place for lunch, but in a few weeks. Anyone care to join me on Wed. June 16 or Thurs. June 17 for lunch? I'd do something sooner, but I've got too many food things going the next few weeks.

I'm all about the salmon gravlax! Oh yeah.

Matthew, how big is the restaurant? Are there tables sufficient to hold four or more? Or is it absolutely hole-in-wall status?


A palate, like a mind, works better with exposure and education and is a product of its environment.

-- Frank Bruni

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"Box" is not just a clever name. There's a long stand-up counter and, when I was there, three tables, including one four-top. It seemed like there was room for a couple more, though. And lunch on the 16th or 17th is a possibility.


Matthew Amster-Burton, aka "mamster"

Author, Hungry Monkey, coming in May

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I'd happily roll down the hill on the 17th or 18th for lunch. If the weather is decent, we could always cop a bench in the micro-park across the street.


Most women don't seem to know how much flour to use so it gets so thick you have to chop it off the plate with a knife and it tastes like wallpaper paste....Just why cream sauce is bitched up so often is an all-time mytery to me, because it's so easy to make and can be used as the basis for such a variety of really delicious food.

- Victor Bergeron, Trader Vic's Book of Food & Drink, 1946

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I had lunch there today. We tried the leg of lamb, hoisin pork, and drunken chicken sandwich. The chicken was the weakest of the three but the lamb and pork were definitely worth going back for.

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Katie and I dropped by for a quick dinner before we left Seattle for the Weekend. I had the leg of lamb and katie had the Salumi. Both were very good. The lamb was tender and flavorful and was really nice with the carmelized onions and red bell peppers. Katie's Salumi was also done really well and is a good choice.

Overall the place is great so far and has even more potential.

Another nice thing is the late hours (3 am) on the weekend. Good touch.

Ben


Gimme what cha got for a pork chop!

-Freakmaster

I have two words for America... Meat Crust.

-Mario

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I had lunch there yesterday too! I had the meatball sandwich- pork and beef. Very tastey but very messy! The soup looked sooooo good.... morels with something...can't remember now! They are definatley still working out some kinks. Normal stuff though. I'll be back to try more of the sandwiches. Hasn't anyone had the salmon???

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Back to the Box today, where the menu has expanded to include:

grilled pork loin baguette ($5.90) (this looked really good)

grilled yellow squash + eggplant baguette ($5.50)

sides:

grilled WA asparagus ($3.50)

toasted green onion baguette ($1)

Salad coming thursday

I had the meatball today, and it is a marvelous meatball sandwich. You get a couple of strips of marinated red pepper along with the meatballs and sauce and grilled onions. The key to a great meatball sub is meatballs that start to fall apart as you eat the sandwich, and bread that holds together even as it starts to sog up. lmf is right: this was even messier than the drunken chicken, but boy was it good.


Matthew Amster-Burton, aka "mamster"

Author, Hungry Monkey, coming in May

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Today I made the pilgrimage. The space is nice and airy, with three marble tables and only nine chairs. The counter along the wall is begging for stools (perhaps they’re on backorder) and the front window needs both stools and a counter.

The pork loin beckoned, but I went for salmon gravlax. Upon seeing the pile of mouth-cutting crusty baguettes atop the food prep station, I thought they couldn’t possibly make a gravlax sandwich out of that. But they did, and as with Mamster’s Drunken Chicken, this was a sandwich more in concept than execution. The bread was simply too crusty and tough.

OK, enough about the bread. On to the glorious filling: gravlax topped with shaved red onion, radish coins, lettuce, and the genius of thin tarragon-lemon mayonnaise. Balanced flavor, perfect texture. Really, really good.

Beware: Armandino’s groupies are slowly discovering the place. Two well-dressed women squealed in delight when they saw the Salumi cured meat baguette.

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BBox sounds great, but I'm a little hesitant to try it. When I was at Monsoon recently, the service was painful. There was only 1 waitress serving the entire restaurant for lunch, 3 cooks were in the kitchen, but the orders came out oh so painfully slow. The entire restaurant was waiting forever to get the lunch, we were all were looking at each other in disbelief of the slow service.

We were all getting mildly upset as well. I hope Eric reads this board because the food did not justify the painful period of waiting. Maybe he did not notice what was happening at Monsoon because he was so busy opening up BBox? His sister was busy telling someone how to unload the vegetables from her car up front. I will not return for a long, long time, and hesitant to try another one of Eric's restaurants.

-hungry_moose

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BBox sounds great, but I'm a little hesitant to try it. When I was at Monsoon recently, the service was painful. There was only 1 waitress serving the entire restaurant for lunch, 3 cooks were in the kitchen, but the orders came out oh so painfully slow. The entire restaurant was waiting forever to get the lunch, we were all were looking at each other in disbelief of the slow service.

We were all getting mildly upset as well. I hope Eric reads this board because the food did not justify the painful period of waiting. Maybe he did not notice what was happening at Monsoon because he was so busy opening up BBox? His sister was busy telling someone how to unload the vegetables from her car up front. I will not return for a long, long time, and hesitant to try another one of Eric's restaurants.

-hungry_moose

Ew, that's bad. I hope this isn't another instance of "chef torpedoes a venerable Cap Hill favorite while launching his newest venture."


Anita Crotty travel writer & mexican-food addictwww.marriedwithdinner.com

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Last time at the Box, the special was Vietnamese beef stew. I had to try it, and it was a good move. It was spicy, salty, and loaded with beef, carrots, and flavor. The broth was red, probably from achiote oil. My only complaint was that some of the beef had silverskin on, which was unpleasant to look at, though not to eat. Definitely give this a try. I think it was $7.


Matthew Amster-Burton, aka "mamster"

Author, Hungry Monkey, coming in May

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My turn!

The pork loin sandwich was worth the 12 minute hike. Decent portion of pork, some cooked onion, sauce, fresh cilantro, and lettuce spilling out of a crusty baguette. I actually liked the bread - it was crusty and hard to eat as a sandwich, but the crust didn't tear up the insides of my mouth - and it had a nice crunch and flavor.

The prices are already creeping - it was $6.50 plus tax (versus starting price of $5.90.) It was pretty quiet when I got there - but it took 15 minutes to get the sandwich - don't expect a quick dash if that is typical.

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My turn!

The pork loin sandwich was worth the 12 minute hike. Decent portion of pork, some cooked onion, sauce, fresh cilantro, and lettuce spilling out of a crusty baguette. I actually liked the bread - it was crusty and hard to eat as a sandwich, but the crust didn't tear up the insides of my mouth - and it had a nice crunch and flavor.

The prices are already creeping - it was $6.50 plus tax (versus starting price of $5.90.) It was pretty quiet when I got there - but it took 15 minutes to get the sandwich - don't expect a quick dash if that is typical.

I can't wait to try this place. I live less than a mile away so I have no real excuse for not having given it a shot so far. If I may ask, what time were you there? I'd like to go at an offbeat time if it's packed during conventional lunch hours... and I'd like to go before I start a job on the eastside in a week and a half.

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I can't wait to try this place. I live less than a mile away so I have no real excuse for not having given it a shot so far. If I may ask, what time were you there? I'd like to go at an offbeat time if it's packed during conventional lunch hours... and I'd like to go before I start a job on the eastside in a week and a half.

I was there from 2:00-2:45 (kind of a late lunch.) When I left, the place was almost full!

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GF & I stopped in for a late lunch a couple Sundays ago. We ordered the pork loin and a Salumi. Two observations: 1) The sandwich preparation was painfully slow considering there was just another couple ahead of us. The construction of each sandwich seemed tedious. I'm all for "slow food" and lazy Sundays, but this just didn't seem right. Perhaps it was a new crew behind the counter. I have 7 years of experience in sandwich/ deli shops, and I can't imagine how they would be able to meet the demands of a busy weekday lunch crowd at the pace we were served. 2) I feel funny complaining about a nice piece of bread, but we both felt that it wasn't the best choice for these sandwiches. I come from Philly, so I know all about how important a good roll is to a sandwich. It was very difficult to bite into the sandwich (I can't even imagine dealing with meatballs!), and the flavor of the bread competed with the fillings. We liked the flavors of the sandwich components, but wished it had been served on a softer roll. As my GF explained it, with the French style name she expected a nice French baguette, but instead we got a chewy,crusty Italian roll.

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dang! I am so pitifully behind! hell, I still haven't been to Monsoon. Maybe I shouldn't admit that on eG. crap.

Love it that this is late night. I might be able to hit it then.


Born Free, Now Expensive

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Despite my recent *poor* experience at Monsoon, I decided to give box a try. I'm in the neighborhood for accupuncture every week anyways, what the heck.

Service was good and fast. I had the salumi. It was pretty good, the bread - I agree was too crusty and tough. Some spicy peppers would be a nice addition. They should reconsider the baguette. They gave me a big piece of drunken chicken to try, it was delicious! One RANT is that they don't use gloves when making the sandwiches....isn't that a health code violation? Or do all *good* restaurants not use glove when making ready-to-eat food????

hungry_moose

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One RANT is that they don't use gloves when making the sandwiches....isn't that a health code violation? Or do all *good* restaurants not use glove when making ready-to-eat food????

Bare-hand contact with the food is a violation. If they used tongs or something, that's okay.


"Save Donald Duck and Fuck Wolfgang Puck."

-- State Senator John Burton, joking about

how the bill to ban production of foie gras in

California was summarized for signing by

Gov. Schwarzenegger.

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