There are some good places to go in Seattle if you’re looking for butchery, charcuterie, smoked meats, sandwiches, sausages and the like. There are also some good places to go in Seattle if you’re looking for an excellent selection of craft beers or some top notch craft cocktails. Of course, trying to find all of these things under one roof has been a bit of a challenge, until now that is. Set to open this coming Saturday, January 20th in Seattle’s Maple Leaf neighborhood is The Shambles, Seattle’s new North end destination where deli • meats • bar.
Founded by Matthew Brady (a former retail manager for Fremont Brewing Company and an alum of Salt Blade) and Joel Klemenhagen (who spent a whopping 16 years at Whole Foods first as their charcuterie buyer and then as their beer buyer), The Shambles features 32 craft taps, top shelf cocktails with a well-curated back bar, a full kitchen including butchery, steaks, house-made charcuterie, smoked meats, sandwiches, sausages, salads, kimchi, kombucha and much more. If you’ve been following The Shambles’ Facebook page you may have seen some of the mouth-watering photos they’ve been posting of their work in preparation for this weekend’s soft opening. At the helm in the kitchen for Matthew and Joel will be Chef Seamus Platt. You may know his work from a few of the other places he’s worked, including Mollusk, Salish Lodge and Girin.
Perhaps you’re wondering where the name The Shambles comes from? No, it’s not from the band by the same name. It refers to an old row in York, England that, at one time, had an open-air slaughterhouse and meat market, where butchers would kill, dress and display their wares for sale and consumption. A fitting name for a place specializing in smoked and cured meats.
Last night I was fortunate to attend a special preview event at The Shambles to get a first hand look and taste of what they have to offer. The space is most impressive. Matthew and Joel spent several months transforming the former daycare space on 15th Ave NE into a World class pub, with beautiful woodwork everywhere you look. With woodworking help from friend Josh Randall, the entire back bar was built by hand, using the lumber from an old 1930’s era barn in Chehalis. The beautiful bar itself and all the tables were milled from a single, 1,080 year old tree.
The menu at The Shambles is extensive and features charcuterie and cheese boards, smoked meats, steaks, sausages, sandwiches, salads and even some great vegetarian/vegan options like marinated Castelvetrano olives, gnocchi, crispy-skin salmon, seasonal soups and tasty side dishes like crispy Brussels sprouts, smoked and braised kale and more. Everything is sourced locally and made in-house and menu selections will rotate regularly. The Shambles even has a meat/deli case near the front of the shop, which they’re still working on stocking. From this case, you’ll be able to purchase cured meats, sausages, pickles, olives and more to go.
I started things off with the chickpea stew (vegan) which, quite frankly, blew my expectations away. There was a real depth of flavor and just a touch of spiciness from the savory romanesco sauce, enhanced with the use of roasted peppers. I’m not vegan myself, but you don’t have to be to enjoy such a tasty starter. It also paired quite well with my Cloudburst Would You Rather IPA.
Next I just had to try one of my all time favorites: Steak tartare. Like it fresh? You’re in luck. Each order of The Shambles’ steak tartare is ground in-house, after you order it. Served with grilled toast, an arugula puree and olive-brined egg yolk, which gave the yolk a custard-like texture, I can honestly say it was one of the best steak tartares I’ve ever had. I paired it with a refreshing Dragon’s Toe cocktail, made with bourbon, cucumber, ginger water and ginger beer – just one of several great options from the cocktail and wine list.
I also had the opportunity to sample the bone broth soup, which was amazing and is served in two parts at your table (see video above), their excellent house-made jerky, and the delicious and quite filling sausage on a roll, with pepper jam, IPA mustard and kraut. There were still so many other things I wanted to try, like the 10 oz New York Strip Steak (cooked to order and served a la carte), the smoked chicken sandwich, the 25 day dry aged pork chop and more. I guess I’ll just have to visit The Shambles again soon.
As if all this wasn’t enough already, Joel next brought out the desert menu which had lots of great choices like Milk and Cookies (including chocolate chip cookies made with smoked chocolate), in-house made sorbets, a cheese board, some after dinner drink selections and more. I had the opportunity to sample both the Campfire Chocolate Stout Cake, which was quite moist and decadent, and the Pear Almond Tart.
Matthew and Joel really know what they’re doing and it definitely shows. My first experience at The Shambles went above and beyond all of my expectations. They really put thought into every detail of the beautifully made space. The extensive and varied menu has something for everyone, the tap selections are well rounded and encompass several different craft styles, the cocktail and wine choices are well thought out, and the to go options from the deli case are shaping up nicely. I can’t wait to return for another visit.
The Shambles is a 21 and over establishment and will be open to the public starting at noon this Saturday, January 20th. Their hours will be noon to 9 pm Sunday through Wednesday and noon to 11 pm Thursday through Saturday. Swing by and check them out and be sure to follow them on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. To view more photos from my visit, including the draft list, cocktail and wine menu and desert menu, look HERE on my Facebook page.
Drink responsibly and stay safe out there.