Reading the reviews of this restaurant, I was unsure what to expect. It sounded like it was decorated like an antique store. The food decent, but not amazing; uneven and over-priced.
I have to say I was very pleasantly surprised. The atmosphere was indeed distinctive and unusual, but not overbearing. The dining room was open, light and inviting, the bar cozy and dark. There were certainly some antique touches and lots of big plants, but it felt more like the Palm Court at the Plaza in New York or the Laurel Court at the Fairmont in San Francisco rather than your great grandma’s dining room.
The food was also better than expected. My seafood fritter appetizer had been allowed to go cold in the pass-through and was not impressive, but my dining companions’ fried oysters were hot and quite good. However, my halibut main course was cooked perfectly; the inside tender and the outside with a nice thin crust. The others had the Salmon and also enjoyed their meals. For desert, I had a coconut pudding that was a bit sweet but which I had no problem finishing.
The service was good, attentive, but not overbearing. The staff friendly, but not obsequious. The prices were a bit high, but not unreasonable.
I think that this would be a good restaurant to try when looking for something a little different, something unique.
I’ve tried a few different sandwiches at Homegrown since they opened. I like their concept and I want to like their food, but every time I’ve been underwhelmed and felt a bit ripped off.
This week, I tried their Po’Boy. For over $10, I got two tiny pieces of fried fish with a little spicy mayo on a roll and a tiny bit of over-spiced slaw in a cup. The fish seemed fresh, but was relatively tasteless and the tiny swipe of spicy mayo didn’t help much. The fish portions were small enough that there was an ocean of bread left over on the small roll it was served on.
Yesterday’s experience has been fairly representative of the food there. I’ll add that I usually take out rather than eat there. At lunch time the place can be quite busy and it is organized rather poorly since there isn’t a place to wait and not be in the way. So you often get a gaggle of people standing in the areas around the tables or where you order and pick up the food getting in each others way.
Homegrown seems to be succeeding, but I’m not sure it is because of their food or their concept. If they cut their prices by 20-30% and reconfigured their space a bit, I might like this place a lot better. You can certainly eat better for the same amount of money without having to look too far and that is what I will continue to do.
For years we’ve stood waiting at Matt’s In The Market and pondering what was behind the door at Chez Shea. We knew that it was supposed to be nice, but we never got around to eating there until recently. We were pleasantly surprised at the size (it is quite small and cozy), the environment (similar to Matt’s old vibe when it was smaller, but more romantic) and the staff (friendly, but not to the point of being annoying). I was very happy that I didn’t feel out of place wearing a suit, the other diners (for the most part) were dressed for special occasion meals as opposed to the shorts and t-shirts you sadly see too often in high-end restaurants around here.
The food was good with some touches of excellence, but not enough to be a draw on its own at this price range. If you are into “Big Flavors”, you can skip Chez Shea. The food was fairly subtle but solid; tasty, but not overpowering. Two elements of what I ate remained with me (admittedly these were the biggest flavors in my meal): I had a Hamachi Crudo which came with some sliced Jalapeno that added an interesting kick to an otherwise bland dish; and a Muscovy duck that was prepared two ways, one of which was a Confit Crepinette that was simply amazing.
The menu is fairly standard high-end northwest cuisine: seasonal, fresh ingredients, featuring seafood and northwest game. The menu itself was a little small, but it was ample enough that we were able to find good choices for four courses each. As with many higher end restaurants, the portions are smaller, but we didn’t leave feeling hungry. If we’d skipped a course, we might have left seeking some extra food though. The wine list was good as well, but not extensive.
Overall, we liked Chez Shea, but probably more for the atmosphere than the food. The food was good enough that we’d definitely consider it again for a special romantic dinner, but not so good that we’re already planning our next visit. I would definitely like to come back and try the Bistro some other night. It is even smaller than the restaurant and may be a great “date night” destination.