good eats: sawyer

andy and i have been wanting to try sawyer since it opened but, for some reason or another, hadn’t made it there. we were reminded of it earlier this week through a seattle times’ article on their james beard nomination for best new restaurant, and finally made it out there tonight!

Sawyer’s menu is inspired by food that people crave, with a focus on technique, whimsy, and comfort. Ballard was a prominent hub of early Seattle’s lumber industry and the name “Sawyer” alludes to the building’s history as a sawmill. It conveys an approachable and homey style evident in our food and service.

first of all, i am completely obsessed with the ambiance and decor inside. minus the dining room tables, it’s kind of how i imagined my adult apartment would look like. is that weird?

sawyer is a predominantly small plate (tapas style) restaurant. i love these types of setups because it allows me to try a whole bunch of different things without looking like I ordered food for a small village. they do offer a few large plate items though, which i think we’ll plan on trying next time.

tonight, andy and i ordered:


  • shiso pretty silver rum, pressed shiso, suze, lime, soda

    i haven’t had rum in so long! well mixed drink. it was sweet and refreshing.

  • hornet’s sting gin, doug fir brandy, lemon, honey, ginger, soda

    i got a second drink because i missed this one on my first pass at the menu and it’s definitely much more up my alley. i love gin.

  • blood orange soda

    andy thought it was sweet and tasty, but notes he didn’t feel like it was carbonated at all.


pretzel pain d’epi with caraway mustard

on point. it’s hard to find a well made pretzel that’s not the butter bomb from auntie annes. this was one of the better pretzels i’ve had in my life. the mustard is a nice compliment, but i could’ve eaten it plain too.

cheesy bread with ‘ndjua pimento cheese

wow. just wow. this was an unexpected but delightful surprise. it was the most unique take on cheese bread i’ve ever had. it was almost like a thin crust, thin stuffed pizza? it was absolutely delicious. though i will caution that it was on the heavy side. i was pretty stuffed after we finished it.

pork belly steam buns | sweet pickles, gochujang, hoisin, taiwanese peanuts

i’ve eaten a lot of buns in my life. i mean A LOT. i love buns of all shapes and sizes, and this was fantastic. i loved how soft and fluffy the bun was — hard to find. the filling reminded me of banh mi, andy said it felt thai-inspired to him. i would definitely order this again!

bone marrow matzo ball | pho broth, shaved sirloin, vietnamese herbs

the seattle times writer noted this as one of his favorites from the menu, so we had to try it. it was the perfect compliment on a cool, breezy evening. the broth was very pho forward and extremely flavorful. my favorite bite was a little matzo ball and lots of herbs. i think there was watercress in it, which is my absolute favorite veggie.

oxtail nachos | salsa roja, pickled onions, cotija cheese, radish

this came last and unfortunately i was pretty full at this point. i liked the crisp texture of the chips and how each was packed with sauce. there’s not a ton of meat, if that’s what you’re looking for. i loved the nice compliments of fresh cilantro, radish, and pickled onions. it really tied the whole thing together.

andy and i would definitely throw this on the list of our neighborhood staples and recommendations. it’s great food, wonderful ambiance, and a perfect place for a friday night date. check it out!