Sunday, January 23, 2011

Special Occasion Meals and Video Games {Metropolitan Grill}

A couple months after I moved to Seattle, I decided to take B out for a nice dinner. I still worked retail then and had a midweek day off. Those were different days. We hardly ever had a day off together and both worked weird hours. We lacked predictability in life. On this particular day, I spent some time looking for a good restaurant online and stumbled upon the Metropolitan Grill. That night, we had our first truly great dinner in Seattle.

Our favorite restaurant in Vancouver, B.C. is Joe Fortes. The next time we make a trip to Vancouver, you will surely hear about Joe Fortes. It's amazing. They write personal thank you notes that arrive in the mail a couple weeks after your meal. We first ate there on my last visit to the NW to see B before moving and had a truly outstanding dinner. That first meal at the Met was very similar.

The Met feels much like Joe Fortes. It's a classic steakhouse in the most sincere sense of the description. Stepping into the Met is stepping into a different time. It's always busy, always lively. Their servers, in both demeanor and attire, are reminiscent of the days when dining out was always an experience.

Of course, it hasn't always been roses and sunshine for us at the Met. We once had a terrible experience. The details aren't important now. What is important is how they handled it. They were apologetic and responsive. I only mention it now because they made it right. I don't complain often, but I know a lot of people do with the aim of receiving something free. They had no way of knowing how real my concerns were yet their response addressed them directly. Customer service is quickly becoming a thing of the past in far too many establishments. I was quite pleased to discover the Met isn't one of those places.

Over the last four and a half years, the Met has become a part of many special occasions and celebrations. We've celebrated three of B's birthdays there along with a handful of other special occasions, particularly when they have to do with B since it's really one of his favorites. Two years ago (almost to the day), we had a great meal there before the Video Games Live concert. Tonight we paid a visit for the very same reason.

We were a little overbooked yesterday. There was a UK game on at 3:00pm and we needed to be at the restaurant by 5:30 to make it in time for the show at 7:30. Dinner at the Met isn't exactly an in-and-out dining experience. A quick bite isn't why people visit (at least not for dinner). Since we normally spend over two hours on dinner there, we decided to try the bar experience. The game ran late. We rushed out the door just in time to get a cab and to the restaurant by 5:40.

The bar was already buzzing, but we were lucky to find two seats open. It's a good thing we arrived when we did. Any longer and we would have joined the ranks of people stalking back and forth waiting for something to open up. For me, the big challenge of sitting at the bar was choosing not to have a traditional steak dinner. The bar menu looked great, though, so I knew we wouldn't have much trouble choosing.

We each had a cup of clam chowder (one of our agreed upon two favorite clam chowders in the city). We also shared the Calamari, Bacon Wrapped Tenderloin skewers and the Coconut Prawns. It was way too much food, but all very good. Had it been all up to me, I probably would have chosen the oysters, Prawn Martini and the Bacon Wrapped Tenderloin skewers, but shared bar meals are all about compromise, right? I had my much smaller camera in tow last night since The Paramount doesn't allow photography. I didn't want to run into issues at the concert. This combined with normal low restaurant lighting (and my continued, though waning, disdain for flashes in restaurants) made for pretty terrible photos.

Everything was fantastic. I'm sometimes not a fan of Coconut Prawns because I often taste a slight freezer burn flavor on them. I don't know if this is actually freezer burn or if it's just a side effect of the cooking method, but I'm usually pretty ambivalent on them at best. They're a favorite of B's, though, and I've tried more than my fair share. These were quite a pleasant surprise. There was no trace of the odd flavor I often associate with Coconut Prawns. They were definitely my favorite yet.

We finished dinner with an Irish Coffee in lieu of dessert and had just enough time to grab a towncar in front of the restaurant and make it to the theater with a few minutes to spare. Video Games Live is an interesting experience. Remember what I said about no photographs in the theater?  Yeah, well...

The touring show uses a local orchestra and plays a variety of music inspired by or directly from video games. Video games, and especially video game scores, are definitely much more B's interest than mine, but this is the second time we've seen the show and it's really good. You get an interesting diversity of people as well. After the show we waited in line for autographs at the meet and greet and enjoyed some very animated people watching. We arrived home tired and glad to have nothing on the schedule today. It was a memorable day on all counts.
Metropolitan Grill on Urbanspoon

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