Go Eat: Moxie

Go Eat: Moxie
Food with nerve.

That's the motto of Moxie - a cozy restaurant snuggled between KeyArena and McCaw Hall on lower Queen Anne.

"We're so centrally located to the Seattle Center, the ballet, the rep; all these wonderful events that go on around us," says chef Lauri Carter.

She and Peter Morrison teamed up to open Moxie in 2005 after working together at the now defunct Avenue One. Peter had just finished up a five-year stint as chef of Chez Shea. Lauri was looking for a place to call her own.

"When the business plan came together, I realized that I needed a strong partner and (Laurie's) who I went after," says Peter.

Lauri adds, "Both of us really were high-end chefs and I think that was in our hopes and dreams -- that we would open kind of a high-end restaurant in a neighborhood that maybe needed that."

Moxie is like two restaurants in one: a sexy, hoppin' bar saddle up next to a romantic, private dining room.

"We are a different Moxie, I think, to different people. If (our customers) are going to the opera, they're having a great two-course meal and getting out on time. If they're coming for the bar, they know they're going to have cutting-edge cocktails with a great little bar menu -- and we're not trying to do any more than that," says Peter.

For Lauri, the best part about Moxie is that she can play with her food.

"I get to not have any rules here, and that's really fun because I can have a steak frites but I could also do something like seared scallops and maque choux which definitely has Louisiana roots."

Five bucks will buy you anything on the bar menu - including Moxie's best seller, which Lauri says is hands-down their lamb burger.

"It was kind of our signature dish when we opened. It was a full-sized burger, half a pound on a brioche bun, kind of Greek style with olive tapenade and feta cheese. It has morphed into lamb burger sliders which have been hugely popular in the bar."

But whatever type of fancy comfort food they order, Lauri says her customers have come to trust her.

"I think they know if I put a dish together and it's got, it may sound strange, halibut with North Carolina barbecue sauce and cheesy grits, dandelion greens -- they know not to take that dish, tear it apart and put something else together."

It's the customers that keep Peter motivated.

"When you see the smile on the face of someone who's had a rough day being put there because of some Scotch eggs on a bar menu, it's a pretty good feeling."

Places Lauri likes to Go Eat!: Txori, La Carta de Oaxaca Places Peter likes to Go Eat!: Union, Nishino

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