Looking for a new restaurant to try? For date night? For girl’s night? For literally any excuse to eat food? Go to Sawyer in Ballard. I don’t remember the last time I had such a delicious meal in Seattle.
Sawyer is Ballard’s new restaurant spot that’s been gaining buzz among press and food bloggers, and for good reason. The brainchild of Chef Mitch Mayers (formerly of Lark), Sawyer sits in the old Kickin’ Boot space, located in the heart of Ballard on 22nd just off Ballard Ave.
Once a saw mill in what was the hub of the Seattle lumber industry, the name Sawyer pays homage to Ballard’s past with a beautiful interior space that’s both rustic and modern at the same time. The renovated 1920s sawmill, totaling 4,700 square feet, features floor-to-ceiling windows, exposed beams and custom booths in the main dining room, plus a full bar and all-seasons patio (with heated floors!). Sawyer also features eight rotisserie spits in the open kitchen and a six-foot wood-fired grill. Swoon.
Sawyer’s family-style sharing menu is inspired by food that people crave, with a focus on technique, whimsy, and comfort. I’m happy to report that they knocked it out of the park.
Dish after dish was better than the last, which is a difficult feat for any restaurant, but especially at a restaurant that just opened, still trying to get its kinks out. Towards the end of the meal, I declared that I was disappointed in myself that I couldn’t keep eating because I wanted more of everything.
I’m already looking forward to eating at Sawyer again. and again. and again.
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Address: 5309 22nd Ave NW Seattle, WA
Sawyer Menu (September 2, 2018)
What To Order at Sawyer
Everything at Sawyer is plated in family style, so be prepared to share with the table. You’ll start at the top of the menu and order a few small plates. Between four people, we ordered four small plates and three of us split an entree. Our third diner order the burger to have himself and fried jojo’s. By the time we got to our entree, we were too stuffed to keep eating (it was worth it).
Pork Belly Steam Buns
A bite-sized kick-in-the-pants of flavor to get your meal at Sawyer started. These two-bite pork belly buns are glazed in a slightly sweet, slightly spicy Korean sauce called Gochujang and sweet pickles.
Two beautiful words. So simple, but so special. House pimento cheese and ‘Nduja (a spicy, spreadable, pork salumi) are melted together between flatbread to create a delightful version of a quesadilla that’s unlike anything I’ve ever had in my mouth. If you like cheese at all, you will love this. Please order it. Immediately.
Look, I’m the kind of girl that’s never met a nacho she didn’t like, but lemme tell you, these are next level nachos. I LOVED this dish. They were more like Chilaquiles than nachos, but ya know, call it whatever you want as long as it tastes good. Fresh house-made chips are slathered in salsa roja braised oxtail and covered in cotija cheese, pickled onions, and cilantro. I’d say this makes a good appetizer. Would definitely order again.
This is it. This life-changing porchetta is crisped around the edges but moist and decadent inside. Paired with a flat bread, pickles and two sauces, this dish is one thing you need to order at Sawyer. Porchetta is usually heavily seasoned, rolled, rested, and then roasted; here, they’ve done it on a rotisserie so the combo of a high heat and rendering fat in a continuous motion creates something other-worldly. It’s one of the best things I’ve eaten in years. PLUS THE FLAT BREAD, it’s buttery, airy and light. And. WOW. I want more.
And for dessert (we unlocked our extra dessert stomach for these—thank god I wasn’t wearing real pants)…
S’more Chaco Taco with peanut butter ice cream + Ricotta and Stone Fruit with honey, pistachio, and basil.
The entire meal was memorable and felt exciting to eat. If you’re in the Seattle area, you should eat here.