An evening at the 35th St Bistro in the funky Fremont neighborhood of Seattle

So much about tripping over adventures revolves around a willingness to change plans mid-stream, say, when a wrong turn steers you to a new neighborhood, or your boyfriend suddenly decides that he’s no longer in the mood for a full-fledged Moroccan feast in Ballard. Both of these things happily conspired in my favor last night.

I’d been to Fremont before, but only during the daytime, for the famed Fremont Street Festival, to see the Fremont Troll, and to explore some of the vintage shops and a pub or two. There was something about wandering the streets of this funky neighborhood on an early Saturday evening in January that made everything seem brand new. I’ve always been a sucker for white lights spiraling and glowing through tree-lined streets, and these remnants of the holidays seemed to accentuate the magical atmosphere of this Brooklyn-like enclave. Well, Brooklyn-like for this gal, who has been craving a BK fix for quite a while now. Enter Fremont.

After zig-zagging through the general main drag, we ended up being drawn back to the 35th Street Bistro in the Fremont neighborhood of Seattle. I’ve been having a recent love affair with Parisian and Italian bistros, so this one caught my eye. The menu looked simple and appealing, and seemed like just what we were looking for. We were there early for a Saturday night, about 6 pm, and there were a just a few tables seated in the dreamy pale blue dining room. The atmosphere was cozy without being fussy, subtlety romantic, and was very welcoming. The young hostess asked if we had a reservation, (and after eating here I can see why you would want to make one on a Saturday night) and seated us under a beautiful tall Ficus. 

A wall sized chalkboard listed the specials: daily artisinal cheeses and charcuterie (both dishes offered at $3.50 per selection or a plate of five for $15), a pasta special (potato and mushroom ravioli with a chanterelle sauce), soup du jour ($6) and a daily mac and cheese special($7).

Insert “record screeching to a halt’ sound effects: Did someone say cheese selections?? I literally swooned as the waitress set down one of the most sensual cheese platters I’ve ever seen; slices of cow and goat cheeses, each one better than the next, laid out enticingly on marble, accompanied by paper thin crisps of buttered toasted raisin bread and accompanied by small dishes of honey, pickled cabbage, and grainy mustard. We ordered a fabulous bottle of 2008 Bordeaux, while checking out the menu.

Since i would often rather sample small plates than a heavy main course, I was thrilled to find that the menu has lovely appetizers and salads, including my selections, a Tarte Flambé, which is a small round “pizza” with caramelized onions, bacon and creamy Gruyere ($7), and an Arugula salad with apricots and Manchego cheese ($10). Fan’s of Trader Joe’s Onion, Gruyere and Ham Tart will flip for this genuine article, as I did, which was a perfect combination of crispy thin crust, rich and creamy Gruyere cheese which melts in your mouth, offset perfectly with the salty ham. The Arugula salad was a very generous serving of peppery leaves, Manchego cheese shavings, and bits of Turkish apricots dressed in a light vinaigrette. This is a girl who was in bliss.

My hunky dinner companion ordered a tasty and beautifully presented Trout Amandine ($18); herb crusted pan-roasted trout with haricots verts, roasted tomato quinoa, toasted almonds with beurre noisette (butter cooked until it gets brown and has a nutty aroma). His only complaint was that the fish was a bit dry.

As we sat and sipped our wine, we noted how well the restaurant is designed. One of the striking features of 35th Street Bistro in Seattle is the charming small bar/lounge area, which is completely walled on one side by smoky glass, at once shielding patrons from the draft of the front door, while cleverly providing the illusion of an entire separate room. Several small tables, as well as some comfy leather furniture provided an intimate space for drinking and dining. Tucked away slightly towards the back of the main room was a lovely dining alcove, painted a Mediterranean orangey/pink, which could provide a semi-private experience, or accommodate an extra large party.

The bistro had filled up completely by the time we were eating our dinners, and we watched, envious of the bowls of Baked Onion Soup with a puffed crust ($8) that were whisked to tables nearby. Service was attentive and excellent, without being intrusive. Dinner was spendy as a result of the wine splurge, but minus the wine, would have been a very reasonable tab.

Trippingdelightfantastic rating? An enthusiastic 4 thumbs up!
The 35th Street Bistro in Fremont is located on 709 N 35th St, (between N Fremont Pl & N Aurora Ave) in Seattle, WA. Phone is: (206) 547-9850. Closed Mondays.

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