While the menu has a few items like the Hawaiian Ahi Tuna Poke, and shrimp from the Gulf Of Mexico (both sustainably fished) that adorn the Fried Green Tomatoes, most everything is local. With his need for the freshest locally sourced ingredients Chef Birk has moved away from BOKA's rigidly organic menu to focus on sustainable and responsible farming.
He says, "Some of my farmers can't afford to get official organic certifications, but grow their produce with organic methods and some sell at local farmers markets. This high quality is what I use.” To that end Chef has created a menu with diverse appeal including vegetarian options, and he is flexible with ingredients on his semi- fixed menu using what is fresh. “With stone fruits just coming in we do apricots or peaches instead of pears” he says.
He has also been busy adjusting to the rhythm of a hotel kitchen. In contrast to a non-hotel restaurant which may serve two or three meal services a day, Chef Birk's kitchen does three meals a day at BOKA and hotel room service, an employee cafeteria, special room amenities and event catering department. We love a guy that can adapt.
We started with Crispy Kale Chips ($6), dove into the Northwest Halibut in Smoked Bacon Celery Cream ($29), savored Alaskan Weathervane Scallops on Swiss Chard ($30) and loved the southern comfort of the Fried Chicken on Russet Potato Puree ($24) from a secret recipe Chef used to prepare at his family's restaurant. Of course we had a glass of Northwest wine to pair.
We soldiered on and finished with a velvety Vanilla Malt Pot de Creme ($9) and a spectacular Berry Cobbler ($9), figuring that we had to fortify ourselves for the long walk back. But stepping outside in five inch heels, we hailed a cab. Hey Benchmark, we love BOKA's re-vamp. Call for reservations 206-357-9000, there is free valet parking while dining.
Disclaimer: Michelle was at BOKA to review the restaurant for another publication and devoured a complimentary meal.