Agate Pass Café: It’s all in the details

SUQUAMISH — From artistic kitchen whisk lights to an eclectic handcrafted mosaic bar top, Suquamish’s new Agate Pass Café holds secrets in details.

Located by Bella Luna Pizzaria, with a view of the beach and Bainbridge Island, the restaurant gives off a big city flair in a warm, inviting setting.

Owners Marty Bracken and Stacy Grega are the masterminds behind the intimate restaurant, which seats about 38 people, and bring their expertise from combined years of restaurant experience and catering to urbanites.

“I’ve worked in big cities all my life and that’s what was missing here, something a little more urban, a little more hip,” Bracken said.

And hip it is.

The mosaic bar, completely finished by the help of friends and recycled materials, presents a cool place to have a glass of wine or schooner of beer.

The bar is also a story in itself.

Made out of completely recycled materials, the mosaic piece holds little treasures — a broken up tiki-man cup and time pieces set to the birthdays of the owners, for instance — and was completed with the help of friends at 11:14 p.m. the night before they opened, Grega said.

“We feel really lucky to have so many people support us and donate their time,” she said. “We have friends in Seattle who built our boxes out of the extra flooring to hold our cups and menus.”

From the recycled bar top to the cork flooring, the owners said they chose to stay ethically and locally minded to support sustainability.

“Even our menu uses all local produce and our wine (and beer) list is completely from the Northwest.”

Like the intimate seating, the menu showcases limited items.

“It’s not so broad that we can’t do it well. This is the first time ever we have had so many people raving about the sides, especially our lentil salad,” Bracken said.

The women describe their dishes as Pacific Northwest seasonal with a French and sometimes Spanish influence but are quick to say they have a good, solid meatloaf and just introduced a hearty burger to the menu.

“The thing that has been a surprise is the meatloaf,” Bracken said, adding that it continues to be the one of the most ordered items on the menu.

“I wanted something that would appeal to every man, and woman and kid so I tweaked it to where I thought it was just great. It’s got a Italian sweet and sour basalmic reduction on top.”

“Oh and she makes a killer polenta,” Grega added. “It’s a creamy mushroom polenta that is just delicious.”

Bracken, who was the director of operations for TASTE restaurant at the Seattle Art Museum, said she fashioned the menu after what she likes best.

“I remembered what I loved and what I like to see on a plate,” Bracken said. “And I know what I like.”

For first timers to the restaurant, Bracken said she suggests starting with the proscuitto-wrapped, pan seared dates stuffed with blue cheese and the smoked salmon blini, made with Lummi Island smoked salmon.

Bracken suggests following the starters with the beet salad topped with ricotta salata, hazelnuts and a meyer lemon vinaigrette, which is “just phenomenal,” Grega said.

For the main entree, the women suggest the wild salmon with the famous mushroom polenta or the meatloaf. Vegetarians can enjoy the asparagus pasta made with fresh linguine, made in-house daily.

“It is all very good. It is a solid menu that is surprisingly simple,” Bracken said. “If you use good items you’d be surprised at how good the food tastes without having to work so hard at it.”

The Agate Pass Café is open for dinner from 5:30-9 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday.

Dinner is served until 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday and a brunch is served between 9:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

Lunch is scheduled to start in June.

The restaurant is closed Mondays and Tuesdays.

“We need to have time to dig clams and catch fish to serve to the customers,” Grega said with a laugh. “We do it all around here.”

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