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Crush, Union or Mistral

marc949 Sep 27, 2006 07:36 PM

I'm going to be visiting from LA and have one dinner slot left to choose. Its between Crush, Union and Mistral and have read mixed reviews from previous posts. Quality of food is more important than price and I'm looking for the best Northwest experience. Any pros and cons of these restaurants would be appreciated.

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    itsonlyfood RE: marc949 Sep 27, 2006 09:02 PM

    I'd place Mistral first---the set menu (there is no ala carte ordering) is wonderful and the dishes are truly finessed. Mistral is a long, slow evening that should satisfy any food lover.
    Union isexcellent as well and would also be a good choice. Crush is overbooked, the tables too close together and overrated in my opinion.

    1. c
      chococat RE: marc949 Sep 27, 2006 09:07 PM

      I liked Union slightly more the Mistral; with Mistral, if you don't like the menu, you're SOL for the evening. Not good if you have some picky eaters amongst your group. Crush is okay but is a little overrated in my book

      Have you considered Sitka and Spruce? Big yum for not alot of money.

      1. barleywino RE: marc949 Sep 27, 2006 09:48 PM

        Mistral will usually try to accomodate if you tell them your preferences at the time that you order (or better yet, when you make your reservation)

        Veil also has a great seafood tasting menu (must specify in advance)

        1. babette feasts RE: marc949 Sep 27, 2006 11:15 PM


          1. t
            tstrum RE: marc949 Sep 28, 2006 02:59 PM

            Crush is overrated and has bad service. Union over salts their food. Mistral is the premier foodie experience. Enough said.

            1. l
              Lauren RE: marc949 Sep 28, 2006 03:45 PM

              Union or Crush would be my choices. I'm not a fan of the dining room at Mistral (too stark and sedate) and the food disappointed me last time I was there.

              1. s
                samiam RE: marc949 Sep 28, 2006 11:54 PM

                This is an easy decision. MISTRAL

                Don't even bother with Crush. Union is fine if you find yourself standing on 1st and Union and want a bite to eat. I would never go out of my way to eat there.

                1. c
                  charmedgirl RE: marc949 Sep 29, 2006 12:21 AM

                  Wow, how quickly the masses turn. I'm not sure where the negativity about Crush and Union comes from, but both are quite fine restaurants. Within the past few months I've had lovely meals at each. That said, Mistral is the clear choice of the three if money is not a consideration. It offers a dining experience that is in a different league from the others.

                  1. k
                    karen2006 RE: marc949 Sep 29, 2006 04:43 AM

                    Mistral. Food is always perfectly executed. I like Crush but it was loud and cramped the last time I was there. The one and only time I went to Union was when they first opened. My meal there was just alright..so I need to go back and give it another chance.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: karen2006
                      marc949 RE: karen2006 Sep 29, 2006 03:05 PM

                      Thank you everyone for your responses. I made a reservation at Mistral for next Saturday. I'm looking forward to a weekend of food gluttony. Also on the itinerary are Matt's in the Market, Happy Hour for oysters at Elliott's, Cafe Juanita, Red Mill Bugers, Top Pot and the 5 Spot for breakfast.

                    2. c
                      ccqueen RE: marc949 Sep 30, 2006 04:46 PM

                      wow. wish i had seen this earlier. i love crush. the atmosphere is much more boisterous than most seattle restaurants but the seafood is amazingly fresh and the flavors are excellent. a lot of local stuff. i have not returned to mistral after a dinner we had in which the maitre'd (maybe the owner?) came to our 4-top and offered an after-dinner cognac for the gentlemen. one of the guys said we'd rather all have drinks, but the maitre-d just walked away. as for french & northwest, my money is on rover's for an out-of-this-world experience & a friendly chef.
                      have fun! it sounds like you're hitting all the great spots. i second sitka and spruce. maria hines new place, tilth, is wonderful as well.

                      1. ssusu RE: marc949 Sep 30, 2006 09:03 PM

                        I too love Crush, love its menu, and have never had a bad experience there. The service, also, has been nothing short of stellar.

                        It has been a couple of years since I have been to Mistral, and it was excellent, although spendy (about $300 for 2 persons). I still recommend Mistral, but did hear a horror story from a friend who recently went there. He and his three companions attempted to order a second bottle of wine but the waiter inquired whether they would rather try a glass of something new on the wine menu. The waiter did not inform them of the price. When they got their bill, they were charged $30/PER GLASS of the "something new" -- i.e., an additional $120 on their tab. Not cool.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: ssusu
                          prcentauri RE: ssusu Nov 26, 2007 02:45 AM

                          while i cannot say anything about crush or union having never been to either place i did just recently have one of the most incredible meals of my life at mistral and i have eaten at numerous great restaurants including french laundry, bouley, le bernadin, aureole, jean georges and so on. granted the meal at mistral is a long process and you dont have much to choose yourself unless you let them know in advance and the room is a bit subdued for my tastes, the meal was extraordinary. each course was so delicate and detailed. i was truly impressed. in less than one week in seattle i ate dinners at lampreia, mistral, lark, cafe juanita, and harvest vine. mistral was the standout best meal particularly in terms of execution, finesse and flavor. every one of these places was great but the most memorable dishes came from mistral.

                        2. s
                          staffstuff RE: marc949 Nov 26, 2007 07:08 AM

                          MISTRAL...by a LONG shot..it's a unique and fabulous dining experience in Seattle..... Crush is overrated in every way from atmosphere, comfort and the food is not as great as been said in my trips there.... and Union seems overhyped on these foodie sites. Why Red Mill? is my last '2 cents'.

                          1. landguy RE: marc949 Nov 26, 2007 08:50 AM

                            If those are your choices, Mistral without question. Is Cafe Juanita on your list already?

                            3 Replies
                            1. re: landguy
                              SeaGal RE: landguy Nov 26, 2007 10:20 AM

                              Considering that the OP asked this question in Sept 2006, I imagine the venue was selected long ago.

                              1. re: SeaGal
                                hhlodesign RE: SeaGal Nov 26, 2007 10:32 AM

                                Some people REALLY like to plan ahead!

                              2. re: landguy
                                jimnak RE: landguy Jun 7, 2008 03:23 PM

                                Cafe Juanita over Crush to be sure. Had an ok but not impressive meal at Crush just last week (http://wineandfoodxp.blogspot.com/200...)

                              3. p
                                prcentauri RE: marc949 Jan 22, 2008 05:02 PM

                                I want to revive this thread... some friends are travelling to Seattle and have asked that I recommend meals... As per my previous post on this thread, on my trip in early November "in less than one week in Seattle I ate dinners at Lampreia, Mistral, Lark, Cafe Juanita, and Harvest Vine. Mistral was the standout best meal particularly in terms of execution, finesse and flavor. Every one of these places was great but the most memorable dishes came from Mistral." That being said what are the other places I can send these people to that will have the best chance at providing as memorable a meal as the one I had. I haven't been to the following places but I was thinking of these to add to the list: The Herbfarm, Rover's, Nishino and Canlis. So far I definately thought Mistral and Cafe Juanita were the best of the places I've been to in Seattle. What are the other top flight restaurants I should recommend?

                                6 Replies
                                1. re: prcentauri
                                  landguy RE: prcentauri Jan 22, 2008 06:17 PM

                                  Looks like you have great taste since you hit up the 5 ultimate restaurants in town IMO. I would stick with them. I have to say tho Lampreia which used to be my favorite has let me down the last few times we've eaten there. I would maybe include Sitka and Spruce to your list of other restaurants to try out. It's a no frills version of Lark.

                                  I have a question for you. It appears you live in Park Slope? What's your favorite restaurant? I will probably be back for a visit in March and no clue where to eat. I haven't been back there for a dinner in years.

                                  1. re: landguy
                                    prcentauri RE: landguy Jan 22, 2008 06:27 PM

                                    sadly i think i might have to agree with you about Lampreia if you take my experience in combo with expectations i would imagine were based on how ppl used to think of the place...my meal was good but not extraordinary and one of the dishes i actually didnt like much at all.

                                    1. re: prcentauri
                                      barleywino RE: prcentauri Jan 22, 2008 07:19 PM

                                      all but one of the above reviews of Crush were written more than a year ago (at that time i was not a particular fan of Crush, either). The menu and cooking have gone significantly uphill since then imo (possibly a result of the influx of new blood in the kitchen) and I would put it back onto your list, certainly ahead of Lark and Canlis and probably ahead of Cafe Juanita and Rovers (just my opinion, i like all of these places, just some more than others)

                                      1. re: barleywino
                                        mmmFood RE: barleywino Jan 22, 2008 10:55 PM

                                        Just had an outstanding meal at Crush. I have liked it much more than I have liked Lark.

                                        1. re: mmmFood
                                          prcentauri RE: mmmFood Jan 23, 2008 04:11 AM

                                          That night I ate at Lark I thought the meal was very good but every so slightly inconsistent. Between myself and my dad we had Bluebird Grain Farms farro with chanterelles and caramelized parsnips (tasty), sauteed wild mushrooms with olive oil and garlic (good, but boring. then again its just mushrooms), seared scallops over parsnip puree with sauteed leeks and a lobster and brown butter sauce (outstanding dish), mussels with bacon, apple cider, calvados, thyme and cream (aka moules normande according to Bourdain, another outstanding dish), Sunleaf Farms squab breast with shaved Bartlett pear and frisée salad (very good but quite tiny), venison chop with rye spatzle, braised red cabbage and black truffles (good flavor but the meat was kinda tough and harvest vine's venison was better), cheese plate of truffle Tremor goat milk cheese, La Tur goat sheep and cow milk cheese, and some other one (very good cheese plate), Shaw Island quince tarte tatin with calvados caramel and honey ice cream (delish!). All in all a very good meal with a few super dishes, a couple very good dishes and a couple good-but-could-be-improved dishes.

                                          1. re: prcentauri
                                            barleywino RE: prcentauri Jan 23, 2008 05:26 AM

                                            yeah, i find Lark's dishes often tend to sound better on paper than they actually taste. but that's just my experience, ymmv.

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