Hunger has the kind of space I like in a bar. The tables aren’t incredibly close together, and from my seat I could see the entire bar and the kitchen space. (There’s something about watching the action in the kitchen that I find tantalizing.) There’s a single TV screen for sports, but it took several scans of the room before I noticed it. Pop music, with some synthesizer, played in the background, but nothing distracting. The wood floors and open metal lighting hinted at industrial roots, but the round focal lights in the front looked more like modern design.
I ordered the Baby Dragon ($5; +$4 if you want to make it boozy) of their tiny-but-awesome mocktail menu. It’s like a cucumber mojito had a run-in with some fresh ginger, and the ginger slowly builds. And the drinks menu runs okay on the wallet, with most options under $10, and barely anything at $11 or $12.
From the happy hour menu I ordered some gnocchi ($7), and a trio of sausage sliders ($5). The gnocchi had this gorgeous nuttiness from the manchego cheese which, combined with the soft savory chew from the braised greens and the harissa finish, meant that the second I turned my back my dining partner ate the whole plate. I’d personally liked it to have had more manchego, as the best way to eat the gnocchi was to get all three tastes in one bite. The sliders were also lovely, with curry mayo, pickles, and dijon stacked in an optimal ratio for eating.
The burger ($14) is a thing of carnivorous beauty. With the smokiness from the Mt. Townsend Creamery Campfire cheese, slices of chewy smoked pork belly, and a pretzel bun I could barely fit into my mouth, it was messy but lovely. (And inspired a future post on burger dining.) There’s again a hint of harissa spice, and it meshes with the smokiness of the pork belly and cheese.
Brussels sprouts ($8) with house made pancetta, honey, and butter, were next, and chewy, spicy bites of love. I don’t think they’ll win over any sprouts haters, but I’m always a fan of adding pork fattiness to sprouts.
The Chocolate 2.0 ($8) is probably something I could have shared with two or three people. (And I did try.) It’s a thin rectangle of a plate topped with hunks of pomegranate chocolate mousse cake and fluffy clouds of whipped salted caramel. And if that doesn’t make you happy enough, then you probably aren’t addicted to chocolate.
Overall, Hunger loves its pork, and it loves large portions of food involving pork – with maybe some chocolate and fresh fruit. After dinner, I joined the co-owners at their new sister bar The Augustus, and a staff member walked by with what at first glance looked like huge, craggly loaves of bread and turned out to be the largest tray of pork belly I’ve seen in ages. When I commented on it, Brian Brooks beamed.
Just go get the gnocchi and a burger, and we’ll call it good.
3601 Fremont Ave N
Seattle, WA 98103