(CBS Seattle) — There isn’t much that pairs better than a burger and a beer and the conventional wisdom is that any brew paired with any beef patty on a bun will do. But a new restaurant in Seattle is elevating the burger-beer pairing to something more like pairing Syrah with a pan-seared steak. Beer snobs welcome.
Immerse yourself in craft culture at Eureka!, the newest addition to the University Village shopping center, which boasts 40 beers on tap, all from nano- and microbreweries. Don’t expect to order a Bud Light or Corona, warns the restaurant’s general manager Danny Wasserman. At Eureka!, they’re focused on highlighting what’s local and seasonal. The taps include everything from double and single IPAs to stouts, even nitros.
“We’re passionate about the beer drinking community and Seattle has one of the best in the country,” said Wasserman. “It’s been exciting getting to know Hales, Hilliard’s, Pike and Pyramid.” In addition to those, you’ll also find offerings like Colorado’s Left Hand Milk Stout, Deschutes’ Mirror Pond Ale and Terminal Gravity’s Breakfast Porter. Half of the taps rotate, so there’s always something new.
You don’t have to be an expert, or even a beer snob. The waitstaff is trained to make recommendations and help you decide. The goal is not to exclude, but to encourage. “We want things that are recognizeable, friendly and approachable to a really wide audience,” said Wasserman.
So what about the burgers?
Eureka! has a core menu of about ten burgers with about a million ways to customize.
Back in the kitchen, the beginnings of the Fig Marmalade Burger sizzled enticingly on the grill. It’s one of Eureka!’s signature burgers- a mouthwatering meld of bacon, melted goat cheese, arugula and of course, the fig spread which is homemade in the restaurant. I am typically not a fan of goat cheese, but I must admit that on this burger, the creamy bite is a perfect foil to the tangy sweetness of the fig marmalade. And who can argue with bacon? It sounds like a pretty heavy burger, but surprisingly the arugula and tomato salad lightens it up quite a bit. The beef patty is 7 ounces, so come hungry.
Curious about the staff favorites, I asked one of the bartenders, Kris, for her recommendation. Without hesitation she said the Napa burger, which is made with an olive oil and vinegar marinated Roma tomato, Havarti cheese, pesto aioli and fried pancetta. She’d pair it with White Rascal from Avery Brewing in Boulder, Colo. “It’s really great,” she said.
The burger menu also includes a Cowboy burger with shoestring onions and beer barbecue sauce and for the more calorie conscious, a bison burger with peppers, smoked mozzarella and bacon-infused jalapeno jam among many other delicious options. There’s also a veggie and turkey patties and chicken breast if beef isn’t your thing.
The atmosphere inside Eureka! is very cozy; dark, distressed wood is featured prominently and Wasserman is proud to explain that it’s part of Eureka!’s focus on all things local. The tables are made from reclaimed wood from shipping mills in Tacoma and the wood on the walls comes from California as a tribute to the restaurant’s roots. The lighting is low, more like a lounge than the typical bright, flourescent and loud atmosphere of a stereotypical family-oriented burger joint. It feels like a cool bar that happens to serve really good burgers, instead of a place where the beer is a watery afterthought.
Even the happy hours at Eureka! focus more on introducing you to local brewers instead of just throwing cheap drinks at you. Wednesday is ‘Steal the Glass’ night. If a customer orders the selected beer on a Wednesday, they get to keep a special glass from the brewery. A representative from the brewery is at the restaurant talking to people about the beer and answering questions.
So far, this is Eureka!’s first location outside California. And like many other transplants who have found a home in Seattle’s eclectic neighborhoods, Eureka! should fit in just fine here. Especially since we all love a great burger and a craft beer.
-Rachel Ayres, CBS Seattle
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