Home > Restaurants > Hattie’s Hat-2/18/2011

Hattie’s Hat-2/18/2011

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Location: 5231 Ballard Ave NW


Mon-Fri: 3-2

Sat-Sun: 9-2

Happy Hour:

Daily: 3-7

If you’ve ever seen a show in Ballard or gone bar hopping or been in Ballard late night, you’ve probably gone to Hattie’s Hat. Hattie’s is a 100 year old institution in Ballard. Small. Dark. A bit seedy around the edges. It was the place to go before Ballard Ave began overflowing with restaurants. Now it’s just one bar/diner that is really only special for its history, not the food so much.

We wanted to get burgers at King’s Hardware but, alas, it was full of hipsters so we decided to go next door to Hattie’s Hat instead. We walked in to find the front part taking up the overflow from King’s so we headed to the back room, which was completely empty.

I have to admit, I miss the fish tank that used to be back there. It gave me a reason to go to Hattie’s as well as giving some extra lighting in the back room that tends to be a little dark.

The Service:

It took the server a little while to realize we were in the back room. As seems to be our habit lately, we showed up just before a shift change and when there was only one server for the entire place. Once she did see us, her service was polite, friendly and very quick.

The Drinks:

I ordered a Manny’s Pale Ale, which was … well, Manny’s. Perfectly acceptable beer and at a happy hour price of $2.00. J ordered what he deemed a “really good” Long Island Iced Tea.

The Food:


I ordered the Happy Hour Sweet Potato Fries, hoping they would be a smaller version of their regular sweet potato fry appetizer, which has the sweet potatoes tossed with crumbled blue cheese and Serrano chilies. Alas, it was merely a plate of plain sweet potatoes sliced in medallions. The potatoes were crispy on the outside with just a bit of salt but were in sore need of a dipping sauce of some sort. It felt like it was a half finished concept.


J chose the Beer Batter Dipped Fish & Chips with tartar sauce, fries and spicy coleslaw. The fish was the star of this plate. Wasn’t too greasy, the batter covering stayed crispy and kept the flavorful cod hot the entire time. The fries were … fries. Not amazing but not horrible.

The spicy coleslaw was the misstep of the plate. J likes coleslaw so he was interested in trying something different than the usual. J’s problem with this version was it didn’t taste like coleslaw. It tasted like spicy cabbage that had been drenched in vinegar. He took two bites and set it aside.

My choice was the Blue Cheese & Bacon Burger with a mixed green salad with blue cheese dressing. I usually order the green salad at Hattie’s because it’s pretty good. A large pile of mixed greens with a good handful of shredded carrots and bean sprouts thrown on top. Their blue cheese dressing is one of the better examples I’ve had in Seattle. Not too heavy with a good helping of blue cheese.

My burger was okay. The toppings were amazing. The thick peppery bacon was cooked to crispy perfection. I kind of want to go back for breakfast just so I can order the bacon. The blue cheese was a complete surprise. Most places seem to use bland, mass market blue cheese chunks that don’t seem to related to the sharp, stinky stuff I love. I would not have been surprised to find this blue cheese on a cheese plate at a high-end restaurant. It tasted like Spanish Valdeon, a cheese with a great, blue cheese flavor with a nice creamy finish. It melted on the burger perfectly.

However, the burger patty was a major disappointment. First off, it was very small and thin. The bun, which was actually quite good, completely overwhelmed it. The texture was dry without any of the juiciness I expect from a good burger. Its uniform size made me sure it was a premade, if not frozen, patty. This could’ve been an amazing burger with those toppings but instead it was merely okay.

The Price:

Long Island Iced Tea: $7.00

Manny’s Pale Ale: $4.00 (Happy Hour price, $2.00)

Sweet Potato Fries: $3.00 (Happy Hour price)

Blue Cheese & Bacon Burger: $9.00 ($11.00 with a side salad)

Beer Battered Fish & Chips: $10.25

The Verdict:

Hattie’s Hat sits on the edge of being really good. Some ingredients are surprisingly good for what is essentially a diner. But those are overshadowed by the mediocre … either mediocre ingredients or a failure to take offerings beyond just okay. If they could get some consistency to the menu, I think Hattie’s would be one of our go to places but as it is, we’ll probably only go back if someone else invites us to go there.

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  1. November 30, 2011 at 5:12 pm

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