West 5 in West Seattle | An Inconsistent Experience
Let’s talk about West 5 in West Seattle, a lounge and restaurant located in West Seattle. The joint’s claim to fame is tasty cocktails and delicious bites. I discovered the place about a month ago and have ventured back three times since then. To be clear, West 5 is not worth three visits in a month. In fact, I recommend not going if you have other options. While my first two visits to West 5 were fine, the third trip was a dud.
My mom and I were running errands around West Seattle about a month ago when a woman recommended West 5 in Seattle for lunch. She said the ‘Mac ‘n’ Cheese’ is out of this world and it is a must-check-out spot in the neighborhood. I’m a lover of macaroni and cheese (who isn’t?), so I was instantly hooked. Since it was a Monday, West 5 was pretty quiet. There were only a few other patrons. My mom and I took a seat at the bar. She ordered the award-winning ‘Astral Mac ‘n’ Cheese’ (made with five different cheeses), while I ordered the pulled pork sandwich. The ‘Mac ‘n’ Cheese’ lived up to the hype. It was the perfect mix of cheesy goodness on the inside, breadcrumb crunch on the top and it was hot out of the oven. The pulled pork was just okay. The pork had a nice kick to it but they put so much on the bun that I couldn’t eat it as a sandwich. I was forced to use a fork. Subsequently, the bread that was covered with pulled pork was soggy and not very appetizing.
I gave West 5 a second try a few weeks later with my brother Charlie. It was a Sunday afternoon, and not very busy again. Charlie ordered the ‘Mac ‘n’ Cheese’ and I ordered the nachos. The ‘Mac ‘n’ Cheese was amazing (again), and I think the nachos were even better. They were killer!! The bartender let me in on a little secret. She told me they make their own beans every three days at West 5, and the beans taste the best on the third day because the spices have had time to marinate. On top of the tasty beans, the cheese on the nachos was gooey and warm. The chips were crunchy and salty. It was the perfect amount of guacamole, sour cream and salsa. I had never tasted better nachos. I craved them every day for the next week.
The following Friday, I told Tim we had to go to West 5 so I could order the nachos again. Being a Friday night, the place was packed. We didn’t have to wait for a table, but it was still bananas. I didn’t even look at the menu and ordered the nachos, while Tim went for the Cajun red beans and rice. I was so disappointed when the nachos arrived. The beans sucked. They weren’t nearly as tasty as the Sunday before. They lacked flavor and almost tasted like they came out of a can. The cheese was gross. It tasted like they melted the cheese and then let it sit and get hard before they served it. Tim wasn’t really satisfied with his dinner either. The rice and beans were bland and lacked a kick. It was definitely an underwhelming experience.
This is my theory. The first two times I visited West 5 the place was slow. There weren’t a whole lot of people ordering so the kitchen was able to focus on my food. The third time I visited, the place was buzzing with people. I’m sure the kitchen was slammed and they rushed through our order. I also think they may have made the beans the day of my third visit, so they lacked excitement. As I mentioned, they keep their beans around for three days to allow them to marinate and bring out all the great flavor.
The key at West 5 is ordering the ‘Mac ‘n’ Cheese’ or visiting on the third day of the bean marination process (for lack of a better description). The problem is figuring out when that third day happens. That’s one of the reasons I won’t be going back to West 5 anytime soon. I like restaurants to be consistent with their food.
I do have to say the wait staff during all three of my visits to West 5 in Seattle were fabulous. They were attentive, personable and very friendly. With that said, I’d rather check out other restaurants in the area than keep trying out West 5 with the hopes they’ll make my food as good as it tasted the first two times I visited.
Have you ever eaten at West 5 in Seattle? What did you think? Did you enjoy your food? We’d love to hear from you! Please leave a comment below or connect with us on Twitter, Facebook and Google+. Don’t forget to also check out Seattle Bloggers for more on great things to do in the city!