I was never a big fan of the Torrefazione coffee shop chain, though I did frequent the one on the corner of NW Everett and 12th, where it rested snugly in a well-lit apex beside Utrecht Art Supply. I would stop by there for a hot cup of ambience, enjoying the atmosphere, but also wishing cooler tenants were running it. Then, to my surprise, Starbucks bought out Torrefazione, and, as Eminem once wrote, "shut the shit down." From there, the owners of Everett Street Bistro stepped in, and our collective dining-out lives were forever improved. For once, thank you Starbucks!

Walking in, the first thing one notices at Everett Street is a decadent display of pastries from La Provence—so lovely are those glorious piles of beignets, breads, and marionberry croissants, you could almost believe the place was just a bakery; a simple turn of the head finds a full bar, an espresso bar, a meat 'n' cheese case, and a fully functioning dining area that starts serving at 6 am during the week, and doesn't close shop until 9:30 pm or later. During those generous hours of operation, the Everett Street romps through three menus, one for each meal of the day, all impressive in both the sheer number of dishes available, and in the quality of those dishes. If you can't find something to your liking at the Everett Street, you're not looking hard enough.

My first visit there, I had dinner, kicking things off with crispy-soft oven-roasted artichoke smothered in lemon aioli. If artichokes aren't your thing, you can also choose from beer-braised peel-and-eat shrimp, baked steamer clams, a charcuterie plate (naturally), duck carpaccio, and a dozen more "shared plates." Dinner entrees are slightly less expansive, but no less intriguing. I got a pulled pork sandwich, a dish I love because of the savory/sweet special sauce most kitchens roast into it. Everett Street leans toward the savory side, with shredded avocado, a black bean spread, and chipotle aioli tossed in for good measure. It's tasty, but extremely garlicky; I could taste it for days afterward. Even tastier were the crispy accompanying pomme frites, coated with rosemary and other seasonings. My friend, Mike, got a slice of one of Everett Street's quiches, which are the real deal: an artful heap of fresh egg, cheese, and in Mike's case, mushroom and spinach, quivering atop a bed of puffy crust. It was proclaimed the best quiche he'd ever had.

None of these items were too expensive ($8-15), but if you're broke, just drop by for a drink and an appetizer. The environment is romantic and cozy, yet laidback, and the shared plates are perfect for, uh, sharing. Or hit up breakfast, at which I snagged an $8 stack of lemon ricotta pancakes with marionberry compote—yum! My dining companion had one of the aforementioned croissants, along with a boudin blanc: a rich, milk-based French sausage that tasted kind of like a pastry itself, except meat-flavored. The Everett Street is a fun place to mix and match like that; to get a caramelized grapefruit, a ham breakfast panini, or sift through one of the many scrambles. Making your decision will not be easy, and that's a very good thing.