An Open Kitchen is the Heart of Seattle’s Bar Sajor

Staff Writer
Pioneer Square lights up with chef Matt Dillon’s wonderful, wood-fired eatery
Credit: flickr/ Jeff Wilcox

Dining at Bar Sajor is a lesson in culinary vernacular.

Seattle’s historical center, Pioneer Square, has transformed from dodgy to delicious thanks to a slew of restaurant openings. Leading the pack of palate-pleasers is Bar Sajor. Chef Matt Dillon’s latest gem fuses wood-fired cooking with culinary finesse. The result is rustic, yet refined—an epicurean cornerstone for the neighborhood’s renaissance. 

Set on a sycamore tree-lined, cobblestoned street, Bar Sajor charms even before you set foot inside. Upon entry, the soaring space dazzles with floor-to-ceiling windows, a spacious zinc bar, and pendulum lamps. These stylish digs bring a welcome wallop of cosmopolitan to a town that prefers Merrills to Manolos.

Bar Sajor’s centerpiece is the open kitchen, featuring a wood-burning oven, rotisserie, and wood-fire grill.  It is in these glowing embers that Dillon’s ingredient-focused cooking shines. Lamb’s neck licked by flames, octopus charred a la plancha, and a Flinestonian rib eye: Chuleton de Buey. Even yogurt, which is deliciously smoked, benefits from the fire. Don’t miss the fresh-baked sourdough, which Dillon perfected at the Corson Building, served piping hot with ample butter and salt.

The 2012 James Beard Award Best Chef: Northwest winner put Seattle on the gastronomic map with his celebration of the foraged, fished, and farmed bounty of the Pacific Northwest. Consequently, the menu evolves with the whims of the season. One week, Blackmouth salmon is served, while the next follows with gooseneck barnacles. Discover lobster mushrooms, those delectable fungi that share the hue and succulence of their oceanic crustacean counterpart.

Bar Sajor offers a lovely list of wines, beers, cocktails, and housemade sodas. To keep in tune with the Mediterranean menu, opt for one of the wonderfully funky Basque ciders like the earthy Sarasola Sargoda. With a wink to the sidra’s origin, servers pour with a flourish by holding the bottle high above their heads. This Spanish tradition—throwing the cider—aerates and enhances the complex drink.

The mixed crowd – canoodling dates, fans in Seahawks blue and green, a gaggle of girls out on the town together—makes for a convivial ambiance. Dillon created Bar Sajor as both a place to pop in for a drink and a bite or to savor a long, lingering meal.

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