Go Eat! More to do than Sip

Go Eat! More to do than Sip
ISSAQUAH, Wash. -- There's a lot more to do at Sip in the Issaquah Highlands than drink.

Besides a global wine list that encompasses more than 250 wines, there's a top-notch menu to sample, featuring things like:

"Stikine River salmon, new potato and smoked bacon salad served warm with sweet white corn and tarragon butter and crisp pancetta chips," says chef Cody Reaves.

"We're doing a fresh herb salad of Thai basil, pea shoots and curried cous cous with Alaskan halibut -- that's just pan-seared. I keep things pretty simple because people up here like light food,"

The 30-year-old chef says he gets bored easily, which makes for an ever-changing menu, and some disappointed customers.

"Case in point, we had a really good croissant bread pudding about six months ago and my pastry chef Erin Powell changed it to an apple fritter bread pudding -- not that much different but people flipped out for a little while."

Chef Reaves, previously of El Gaucho and The Pacific Grill in Tacoma, opened Sip in July 2006 with owner Lane Scelzi, who also owns the Melting Pot restaurants in Seattle, Bellevue and Tacoma.

"He wanted to open up a wine bar in this area because he lives very close and wanted to have a place where he can come and eat because he knew that people up here wanted this type of an atmosphere."

Chef Reaves says 50 percent of his clientele are regulars.

"Our demographic has a lot of money; they're very affluent. They know a lot about food and wine and they appreciate having a place here that caters to their tastes."

The 138-seat restaurant is dominated by a kidney-shaped bar punctuated with a large wine rack, tables made from 100-year-old pine and several TV monitors in a common washroom.

"It's a way to spy on your husband or spouse while you're in the bathroom," Reaves says.

The Issaquah Highlands may be a long way for you to drive for a meal, but Cody says if you make the trek, you won't be disappointed.

"Dining is an experience and it's not only about how much you pay for a meal or how good the food was or if the service was good or bad, it's about the big picture and if we hit all three together -- we don't overwhelm their pocket books, (we provide) really good service and really good food -- they're going to come back. That's what we have to shoot for every time."

Places Chef Cody likes to Go Eat!: Harvest Vine, Sitka & Spruce, Quinn's, Tavolata,


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