Sunday, October 10, 2010

A Love Song for Marjorie

Let me be very clear about something. I'm not a food critic, don't pretend to be one and really, REALLY don't want to be one. I also have a VERY strong dislike for the term "foodie." To me, that term implies a person who judges food, thinks of themselves as an authority on food and who only eats in fancy restaurants. Of course, I fully understand that there are thousands of people out there (most of them with food blogs) who embrace the term and don't fit any of my ill conceived stereotypes. Many of them appreciate a meal from a food truck and a Michelin rated restaurant with equal enthusiasm. As for me, I just love great food and I love great company. When you get the combination of the two just right, the resulting experience is memorable and filling in multiple ways.  
B and I have been fortunate enough to eat in some very nice, sometimes very well known restaurants. Frequently (though not always), these are some of the most disappointing experiences, even when the food is fantastic. So often in places considered "fine dining," the restaurant goes to extremes to deliver impeccable service while maintaining a very deliberate distance between the staff and the patrons. This doesn't work for me. I appreciate great service as much as the next person and I have the utmost respect for the hard working people who make a career of perfecting the art of food service (especially since I've seen how some people act in public), but I'm uncomfortable with the idea of being "served." What makes a perfect food experience for me is eating great food in an environment where the staff and patrons alike are happy to be there, excited about the food, approachable and genuine. When I think about the places that have become our favorites over the past 4 years, they all have those qualities in common. Marjorie in Capitol Hill epitomizes this.

We first started visiting Marjorie while they were still in Belltown. It quickly became a favorite and our go-to special occasion place. Then, in September of 2008, owner, Donna Moodie, lost her lease and they were forced to close while looking for a new location. We began visiting much more frequently once we heard Marjorie Belltown was on borrowed time. One night, we dropped in for dessert and learned they weren't open for regular business due to a special dinner on this, their last night. As always, they were kind and gracious enough to offer us a seat at the bar for dessert and a drink. I cried. I sat there, feeling absurdly foolish (and garnering some stares in the process), crying.
Marjorie's old location on their last night

A year and a half (and a hundred visits to their website by me) later, Marjorie opened in their new home in Capitol Hill. The new space is awesome! It's still as beautiful and charming as ever, but it's somehow even cozier and more inviting than the old space.
One of the best things about Marjorie is that their menu is constantly changing. They are dedicated to using what is local and seasonal in their food, and that means that it's always changing, always fresh, always unique and always wonderful. Last night's meal was no exception. 
 Beef Shortrib Ravioli
Cheese Plate 
Chocolate Peanut Butter Tart
Last night was also special because we had a chance to spend some time with their owner, Donna. We'd had brief conversations with her in the past and she's always been wonderful and kind, but last night she sat for awhile with us at the bar (our favorite seat in the house) and we actually got to spend time getting to know her. She truly is every bit as lovely as everything I've read and heard about her.The quality of the food at Marjorie rivals that of any great restaurant in the city. There's no question about that, but it's the people at Marjorie and the atmosphere they create that truly make it magical.

Marjorie on Urbanspoon


  1. Um, that chocolate peanut butter tart just made my 10 Most Wanted. :)

    I totally agree about the combination of great food and friendly atmosphere. It's completely unrefined, but one of the best dining experiences I've had was at the Outback Steakhouse. Our "server" was super down to earth, hung out in our booth for a few minutes and it was really cool.

  2. i normally don't comment on blogs that are about us, but i wanted you to know that your photos are beautiful, as is your writing style. i am anxious to read about your other "date night" dinners. also, i ate at the book bindery on monday, and i am still dreaming about their hamachi crudo!

  3. Donna,

    Thank you for the kind words. I am so happy that you enjoyed Book Bindery! We're looking forward to seeing you and your beautiful Marjorie family again soon!