Since there is still not much to write about baseball for a non-analysis person during the month of December, I will just talk about the fun missed out on if you were not at Mollusk for last night’s Lookout Landing Christmas party. I dragged Tom to go hang out at the new joint owned by the same guys who brought us Gastropod in SoDo, as we were curious about trying it anyway; so this will be part baseball party, and part restaurant review, because if it’s anything I like as much as baseball, it’s food.
I need to say, I’m not really an upscale restaurant person. I can clean up and go out to a place like El Gaucho or Wild Ginger, but I generally prefer a pub atmosphere, or your average kaiten sushi room, something a little more dress casual and comfortable. Better yet if it allows dogs and features a host of mismatched furniture and strong Belgian beers. Mollusk is like a cross between these two atmospheres; fancy food that is well plated (seriously, the food is absolutely gorgeous!) with unusual ingredients, but not so stuffy that there isn’t room for a flat screen TV showing ESPN that hangs over a fully-stocked bar with taps from which brewmaster Cody Morris’s amazing beers flow. A member of the Lookout Landing group, Cody has offered up his restaurant spaces for us multiple times, and always seems happy to do so. I mean, we are paying for food and beer, but there are a lot of us, and we have the tendency to take over a place and can be a bit rowdy; last night was no exception.
The Mariners themselves were kind enough to donate a bunch of presents for a raffle that was held. Everyone got a baseball card (mine was JJ Putz, my friend Su grabbed it for me because she is awesome), and prizes were called out for per player name by LL writer Nathan Bishop with help from a guy I have met several times but whose name always escapes me (sorry!) Prizes ranged from smaller promotional items like a Felix Hernandez cape (which is technically sized for children, but that didn’t stop the guy who won it), to bobbleheads, signed balls, and photos, and the final two prizes, a Mariners Christmas sweater, and the mounted and framed lineup card from Felix’s perfect game (given to a very happy Leonard Su, who had been waving his hand around in jest for everything called out and finally got maybe the best prize in the bunch – though I would have loved that sweater). The noise we made likely put a few nearby diners off, but it didn’t last long, and we were done with the raffle in time for people to enjoy their drinks and food while socializing.
I myself won nothing, but I did get to keep my JJ card, and then a pretty nice looking Kenji Johjima card, left by Eric Sanford, who had to leave the party early due to a small family emergency (nothing serious, and he kindly gave it to me). Raffle and duty to pay attention to things over, Tom and I could focus on chatting with our tablemates and eating the food we ordered which last night consisted of some marvelous curried chicken croquettes, an Indonesian oxtail poutine (with a curry dipping sauce that was good enough to make you slap someone), and a charcuterie plate with some very unusual items on it (pork belly pate’, a smoked char salad, and duck prosciutto among them). The food was small but filling and absolutely delicious; head chef Travis Kukull is a brilliant maker of food, and if you ever went to Gastropod, you have to think he is just loving having an actual for-real kitchen to practice his craft in.
Mollusk’s building is much larger than Gastropod’s, and much more comfortable; individual tables and family-style seating abound, with a nice long bar if you only have time for a few beers and/or appetizers (the happy hour menu is extremely affordable). I cannot remember what the darker beer I had was called, but it was brewed with corn and molasses, neither of which stuck out, but both of which gave it a nice porter-y flavor. Tom had a Belgian beer of some sort.
The only downside to a place like Mollusk for someone like me, is the pricing; the ingredients Travis uses are very fresh, and probably not cheap to make or purchase, and I simply don’t make the kind of money necessary to be a frequent flier there. But the fact is, it’s worth it once in a while. Mollusk has an excellent, friendly and knowledgeable wait staff who are paid a competitive wage, so it’s a local business you can feel positively about supporting. And all told, our bill for four beers, the two happy hour dishes, and the charcuterie plate came to around $60. That’s really not awful for a night out for two people. If you find yourself in the area, I would highly recommend you go.
All in all, a great night out, a great idea by the Lookout Landing crew to do something for the holiday, and a big thanks to the Mariners for contributing gifts; we really do have the best baseball team, you guys.