There’s a new kid on the culinary block in Seattle and foodies should take notice.
Pineapple Hospitality, the people who built and operate the über-cool Maxwell Hotel, have refurbished a tired old Ramada Inn in the Belltown district into the sleek, hip Hotel 5 and have opened Max’s Café, a surprisingly sophisticated eatery located on the hotel’s first floor. Now, most travelers know that hotel restaurants can be a forgettable after-thought for hotel management, but not so with Max’s Café.
In February, Hotel 5 smartly hired Chef Tom Rhyneer as Food and Beverage Director. Rhyneer has cooked at Sorrento and several five-star properties in Miami, Florida, and brings considerable culinary skill and a creative touch that’s made this little café worth a stop.
While the café’s physical space is still waiting a remodel, Chef Rhyneer has completely revamped the menu. It offers some delicious breakfast and lunch surprises such as a spicy huevos ranchero; a Caprese omlette that’s redolent with super fresh basil pesto; and a truffle croquet madame (a traditional grilled ham and cheese, topped with a fresh egg and creamy, cheesy Mornay sauce), among many others.
One my favorite lunch choices is the salmon “BLT” that pairs a thick filet of deliciously moist Alaska salmon with smoky bacon, lettuce, tomato, and caper aioli all on a satisfyingly chewy bun. Other interesting options include a thick and complex fire-roasted tomato soup served with a sweet, succulent baby lobster grilled cheese (now that’s decadent); light-as-air halibut and chips; and tiny Kobe sliders, cooked medium rare and served with Boursin cheese and caramelized onions.
Plans are to expand the restaurant and serve dinner in the near future (I plan to be one of the first dinner guests!). When that happens, I predict Chef Tom’s creative and talented touch will start attracting a wider range of diners in addition to Hotel 5 guests and his food will make some serious waves in Seattle’s already rich and wonderful culinary scene. – Reviewed by Bobbie Hasselbring, RFT Editor
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