Damn the Weather

116 1st Ave S
Pioneer Square
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I love Pioneer Square. The history, the buildings, the crammed storefronts, the brick, the faded paint… I could go on.

Unfortunately I feel like my fascination with this part of Seattle is somewhat uncommon. When I suggest grabbing a meal here, most people give me a look and mention how “sketchy” and unsafe it is. Sadly, I don’t find it much worse than any other part of downtown Seattle.

When I heard about the upcoming opening of Damn the Weather, an elevated small bites and Americana-inspired restaurant on 1st Ave in my beloved Pioneer Square, I knew I wanted to check it out as soon as possible.

The weekend prior to the restaurant’s opening, I had given my dad a Father’s Day card inviting him to our monthly Daddy-Daughter dinner, but this time it would be paid by me. My dad is one of the few people I know who is game to try almost anything food related. He immediately agreed and we met up at the restaurant the next day.
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Damn the Weather’s exterior is so unassuming that you almost walk by without realizing. Inside, in typical (and wonderful) Pioneer Square fashion, brick-laden walls outline a small and narrow space.

The raised bar-esque table at the entry is donned with a simple chandelier which makes you feel classy and as though you’ve travelled back in time (well, at least I did).

For the place being open only four days, my dad and I were surprised by the number of guests that arrived while we sat, drank, and dined.

The atmosphere is perfect for after work happy hours; the menu is filled with small bites, creative drinks, and plenty of options.

Dad and I started with drinks. He ordered the Agricultural Punch (a light, lime and ruhm drink the menu calls a “farmer’s rum and coke”), while I tried The Woodwork (with rye, orange flavors, and Walnut Liqueur among other things). Upon trying mine, I feared it would put hair on my chest. Luckily, my dad liked my choice better than his own, so we switched. Thank god.

The food we picked was varied: French fries, chicken skins, sweet potato dumplings, the duck hot dog, and their pastrami burger.
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For sharing, their fries are the best choice. They were salty, golden, neatly wrapped in paper, and served with a curry dipping sauce (which I didn’t care for, but my dad couldn’t get enough).

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The chicken skins were decent, but like many of the items on their menu, the portion size was a bit lacking. My dad enjoyed this plate, making note of the crunchiness and kick from the peppers.

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I loved the sweet potato dumplings with sage and brown butter. They were rich, soft, and covered in Pecorino cheese. I’m not sure how they weren’t gnocci, but they were tasty all the same. They were a tad on the oily side (hello brown butter), but that was probably what helped in making the dish so delicious.

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Both my dad and I were a bit disappointed with the duck hot dog. The “dog” was slathered with a coarse pesto (which they called “Salsa Verde” though it had no hint of heat or tang of lemon) and laid on a lightly buttered roll. Before I go into its faults, I must say that it wasn’t a bad dish, but it definitely fell short in comparison to the other items we ordered. First, the name is misleading. It’s more of a half hoagie than an actual hot dog. Second, the fact that you were eating duck was easy to overlook, which might be positive for some people, but for my dad and I, if you’re going to try something interesting or different, you want to taste it – otherwise, what’s the point?? And finally, the casing of the dog was thick, which made it difficult to eat. (Let it be known that I’ve eaten a lot of hot dogs in my day – and for $9 I want it to not only be full-sized, but also to be easy to bite through.)

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Ahh, finally: the pastrami slider. Dad and I were so glad we didn’t end our meal with the duck hot dog; this last dish was our favorite. The juicy patty was topped with a delicious aioli, sandwiched between soft potato-style bread buns, and served with pickled veg. When I go back to Damn the Weather, I will definitely order this again. This type of burger is different – and tasted so!

While on the pricey side, I truly enjoyed my first experience here. The girl who served us was knowledgable (yet not overbearing), gracious, and attentive amidst the full house. I look forward to returning and trying any new options they offer since I believe the chefs are still working on perfecting the menu.

I’d love to hear of any other places in the Pioneer Square area that are worth a visit. Let me know of your suggestions!

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