Bringing something different to the table

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

The tiny town of Edison, tucked away behind Chuckanut Drive in Skagit County, already has more than its fair share of good restaurants and watering holes. From the venerable Rhody Café and Longhorn Tavern to Tweets and Slough Food, there’s no lack of places to go. But the latest addition, BowEdison, brings something a little different to the table.

Located in a nondescript building right by the Rhody Café at the intersection of Chuckanut Drive and Bow Hill Road, BowEdison has a striking modern interior with plenty of steel, bright yellow accents, trendy lighting fixtures made out of pallets, and an open kitchen. Service is not always knowledgeable, but always prompt and friendly.

The restaurant, open since last September, offers happy hour and dinner, with brunch on the weekends. First-time visitors may experience some sticker shock, because BowEdison has adopted a no-tipping policy, which essentially means the gratuity has been rolled into the cost of everything on the menu. It can feel strange not leaving a tip, but it does help explain why the burger costs $18.

The menu is eclectic, with unusual fusion elements. The aforementioned burger is very good, and my dining companions enjoyed the pasta tossed with Polynesian braised pork and spicy pesto ($24) and the fish curry ($25). I’m not a fried chicken connoisseur, but I enjoyed the plate of what appeared to be batter-coated chicken (choice of white or dark meat) accompanied by whipped potatoes, sausage gravy, roasted broccoli, and a very excellent biscuit with jalapeño honey ($25). I took one piece of chicken home and was pleased to find it was even better eaten cold the next day.

Appetizers are often where a restaurant shows its stuff, and BowEdison delivers with at least some of their menu. I liked the pulpo, a colorful plate of grilled octopus with chickpeas and paprika aioli ($13), and the cornmeal blini with smoked salmon and chevre ($14) were fabulous. I have also heard raves about the fried pickles with ranch dressing, although I have yet to try them myself. The saganaki ($13), however, was a disappointment—surprising given that you’d think it would be hard to go wrong with a pan of flaming Asiago cheese doused in tequila and lime juice, but apart from the table-side show the dish was strangely bland, and the plain corn tortillas that came with it added nothing.

I found the brunch menu wildly appealing, and it was hard to choose. As it turned out, though, portions were so small that it was actually necessary to order multiple dishes to try. After getting biscuits and gravy ($15) and avocado tartine ($13 for a single piece of topped toast, plus $2 to add an egg), my brunch partner and I needed to order a plate of bacon to fill in the empty spaces, and the table next to us polished off a full round of mains and then followed it up with several stacks of pancakes. Leaving hungry is not a typical brunch experience, and I think the restaurant would do better to either increase portion size or present the menu as “small plates to share.”

For both brunch and dinner the full bar is available, which always helps. They have a nicely thought-out wine list, beer and cider on tap, and a short list of cocktails (most $12) that includes some good twists on classics. The house martini is made with my favorite gin, Martin Miller, cut with vodka to mellow the flavor. We particularly liked the Hornet’s Elbow (a play on the Bee’s Knees, with jalapeño syrup), and if you like mimosas a nice alternative is the Bubbles & Brawn, a tasty mix of Ramazotti Amaro with dry Cava.

There aren’t many places in Skagit County to get complex, well-executed dishes and cocktails. With its great location and beautiful space, BowEdison is a fantastic addition to the local culinary scene. I hope they will continue to grow and thrive with the Skagit food community.

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