Dining: Altstadt Honors Tradition with a Lighter Touch

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“People want to know if we’re one of those ‘fancy’ places that’s coming into the square or if we’re a bar,” says Brendan McGill, co-owner of Altstadt in Pioneer Square, “and we really are both.” Altstadt is an obvious bridge between the seasoned bars in the neighborhood and the “new” Pioneer Square of Bar Sajor, Il Corvo and E. Smith Mercantile. Similarly, the menu executed by chef de cuisine James Pech is a link between traditionally heavy German food and what Pech and his crew are actually creating. One result: a leaner sausage that still bursts with the same meaty essence you’ve come to expect from a German link. Four kinds are offered and served as part of a lumberjack-sized meal that includes a tangy, house-fermented sauerkraut, house-made mustard, fries (some of the best in Seattle) and traditional rye bread piled high on a platter. It’s a bargain at $12. For something lighter, get the black kale salad ($7) with Belgian endive and pumpernickel croutons. The soft pretzel with sea salt and hot mustard ($6) is a nice snack on its own and the perfect pairing with one of the 14 mostly German brews on tap.

Lunch and dinner daily, 11 a.m.–midnight. 209 First Ave. S, Seattle; 206.602.6442; altstadtseattle.com.