Walking through Gilt's gold-curtained doors into the brick-red dining room—an intimate space comprising lush, high-backed booths, glamorous chandeliers and gorgeous servers on bustling Northwest Broadway—and you'll think you've entered Frank Sinatra's secret hideout for lovely ladies and laid-back gents. However, there's more to this place than its surface appeal. Owner Jamie Dunn's touches of modern sophistication are subtle and enhancing—like the dramatic drum lighting and the bar's concise list of cocktails highlighting their house-infused vodkas. Classic drinks like the Moscow mule are served in the traditional copper cup. The bloody martini is a pleasant take on the original with serrano-chile vodka and horseradish salt, as is the pisco sidecar, made with South American brandy. Here Northwest flavors are added to the lamb chops drizzled in huckleberry jus , and the bacon burger is animal fat at its finest—dripping with tartufo cheese and smothered in garlic aioli. Gilt is also the best joint in town to enjoy gourmet food until the wee hours of the morn. Where else are you going to get foie gras over ginger snaps or salmon tartare at 2 am? (JM)
Signature Dish: Brined Kurobuta pork tenderloin with grilled balsamic-soaked peaches.
Standouts: Gorgeous bartenders and servers make you feel welcome and unimposing even during their lively and inexpensive weekday happy hour ($2 smoked-salmon mousse wontons, $5 baby octopus and garbonzo-bean salad).
Regrets: On one visit the seared halibut was a bit overcooked.