Twice a year a bunch of restaurants in the area participate in a promotion called Dine around Seattle, where you can get a fixed-price dinner for $30 and lunch for $15. While it's more than we would usually spend for a meal, the restaurants which are involved are normally much more expensive. We've found it's a great way to try places we normally wouldn't; we try to take advantage for at least one lunch during the promotion. Today we had lunch at Shea's Lounge at the Pike Place Market.
The promotion used to be called 25 for $25 and kept that name for several years. There is always a long list of restaurants waiting to be included, because for the most part once a restaurant becomes part of the promotion they don't leave. One exception was Canlis which only participated once (we were able to get an excellent dinner there during that one time, though). Apparently it didn't fit very well with their restaurant, especially since they participated in November and their staff had an extremely busy month only to have to handle December right afterwards.
Some of my favorite places we've been to are Barolo, Serafina, and Szmania's, but no matter where we've gone, we've never had a bad meal. In fact, at most places there has been at least one thing which was a standout (carrot soup at the now-closed Cascadia comes to mind). We order different items on the menus so we can switch halfway through, giving us a wider variety.
Lunch today was no different than our other experiences - everything was great and the staff was very nice. The one odd thing was they forgot to put mussels in our Bouillabaisse, and apologized profusely as our mussels were brought out on a separate plate. We had to reassure them that it was fine with us, and that the meal was still very enjoyable. The standout item was the salad. I know that sounds boring, but the combination of the really fresh greens, gorgonzola, vinaigrette, and the sprinkling of candied walnuts and roasted grapes came together really well.
It's amazing to see how many people who were there just because of the promotion as we were. I didn't see anyone who ordered off the regular menu, and at other restaurants it's common to see well over half of the tables ordering off the Dine around Seattle menu. No wonder it's so competitive to get on the list!