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NY-PDX hounds looking for Seattle's best for NYE

t
tron Nov 28, 2006 09:18 PM

Big-time foodie family looking for the best Seattle has to offer. very familiar with the dining scene in New York and Portland, not so much in Seattle.

Looking for a memorable New Year's Eve at a fun, new restaurant featuring northwest cuisine. price not an issue. good wine, whiskey, and raw bar a plus.

restaurants we like:

in Portland:
clarklewis
Gino's
Higgin's
Wildwood

in New York:
Wallse
Babbo
Balthazar
Blue Ribbon

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  1. w
    Willy3000 RE: tron Nov 28, 2006 09:25 PM

    The following is an answer to the generic question, "Where can I eat well in Seattle?" I’ve lived here for about six years, and really like good food. Here are my choices. Other than Canlis, which requests that men wear jackets and ties (but doesn't necessarily enforce the request), they are all "business casual":

    Expensive:

    - Canlis – New American/Pacific Northwest. Formal, gracious, great food, great ambiance.
    - Campagne – French country. New chef has revived it.

    Moderate:

    - Szmania’s – Nouvelle German.
    - Harvest Vine - Spanish, small plates. Business casual. Great Spanish wine list.
    - Place Pigalle - New American bistro. Charming, intimate, modern
    - Ray’s Boathouse - Seattle institution for seafood
    - Hunt Club - Continental. Gracious, cozy, very good food.
    - Chinook’s at Salmon Bay - Best seafood in town, great brunches.
    - Tulio - Italian. Excellent food
    - Maximillian's At The Market - American. Great lunch spot in Pike Place Market.

    Disappointments:

    - Rover’s – French. Seattle’s large contingent of reverse snobs has forced this place to pull in its horns and dumb it all down. ‘Tis a pity that this town can’t support a world-class haute cuisine restaurant, because Rover’s is capable of it if people were willing to pay for it.
    - Lampreia – New American. Much ado about nothing in particular.
    - Mistral – New American. Great meal the first time around, but I was stunned to be served exactly the same thing a year later.

    Atmospherics:

    - Canlis. Elegant, romatic. A fair-weather favorite at sunset.
    - Hunt Club. Cozy and romantic. A rainy night favorite.
    - Ray’s Boathouse. A summer evening favorite.
    - Maximillian's At The Market. Great views if you get a window table.

    Most misunderstood:

    - Canlis. The reverse snobs channel their considerable class envy at this place, accusing it of all manner of imaginary sins. Don’t listen! This place is probably the city’s best restaurant.

    Downtown/nearby:

    - Campagne
    - Tulio
    - Place Pigalle
    - Maximillian's At The Market

    2 Replies
    1. re: Willy3000
      babette feasts RE: Willy3000 Nov 28, 2006 11:37 PM

      The chef at Campagne is hardly new. Daisley Gordon has been chef for at least six years, ever since Jim Drohman left to open le Pichet, and was Jim's sous chef for at least a few years before that.

      1. re: babette feasts
        w
        Willy3000 RE: babette feasts Nov 30, 2006 12:00 AM

        I'm realizing that my list has gathered dust.

    2. barleywino RE: tron Nov 28, 2006 09:43 PM

      Tron, Closest I can think of to your faves in NYC:

      Wallse --> can't think of any (Veil, maybe)
      Babbo --> Tulio or Cafe Juanita (although nobody comes close to Babbo's range of pastas)
      Balthazar --> Cremant
      Blue Ribbon --> Nishino (closer to Nobu, actually)

      1. g
        Glassman RE: tron Nov 28, 2006 09:56 PM

        You're going to have to move fast to get reservations for New Year's. I second Cremant, Nishino and Harvest Vine. Canlis is the perfect restaurant if the Senior Prom was the highlight of your life. If not, there are better options. Check if Le Gourmand still has any seats available if you strike out above.

        1. barleywino RE: tron Nov 28, 2006 10:14 PM

          For the ultimate NYE blowout, try Herbfarm in Woodinville. Only one seating, one price, tasting menu with wine pairings. Creative, fun and very Northwest. They even have an inn next door (have not stayed there).

          2 Replies
          1. re: barleywino
            terrier RE: barleywino Nov 28, 2006 11:22 PM

            NYE at Herbfarm actually sounds pretty good though the price is definitely up there - $295/pp includes at least 9 courses and wine pairings but not tax/tip. If money weren't an object and my wife and I didn't already have a tradition of travelling for NYE, that's where I'd go.

            1. re: terrier
              barleywino RE: terrier Nov 29, 2006 12:02 AM

              yes, their NYE menu is super expensive even by Herbfarm standards...

          2. t
            tron RE: tron Nov 29, 2006 06:40 PM

            Thanks for all the responses so far!

            Looks like Cremant, Cafe Juanita, and Tulio are popular choices...(Nishino will certainly not go over well with my mother, though i'll have to give that a shot sometime myself.)

            Any other word on Place Pigalle, Le Gourmand or Campagne?

            I know my parents have been to Canlis way back in the day, but I've never heard it called the best restaurant in Seattle. Used to know the old chef at Maximillian's and have dined well there. Forgot to mention that we are all former residents of Seattle. Looking forward to the good eats...thanks again!

            3 Replies
            1. re: tron
              l
              Lauren RE: tron Nov 29, 2006 07:07 PM

              Didn't your original post ask for a fun, new restaurant featuring northwest cuisine? Cremant fits the fun and new criteria. Cafe Juanita, Tulio, Place Pigalle, Le Gourmand and Campagne fit the fun criteria but none fit all three. I would see if any of these still have availability: Union, Lark, Veil or Crush. None has a "raw bar" but you can get good oysters, carpaccio etc at each. Whisky, probably and wine for sure.

              1. re: tron
                m
                Misanthrope RE: tron Nov 29, 2006 08:30 PM

                Place Pigalle may be a bit small for a large party. Campagne is not fun. Same with Tulio. Cafe Juanita is too out of the way for NYE. If it were in downtown Kirkland, then it'd be ideal.

                If you're looking for a New, try:

                1. Volterra in Ballard.
                2. Wann Izakaya. A lot of people don't like this place because it's too upscale for a pub. It is missing key Izakaya menu items like beef tongue but I generally like their refined versions of Japanese pub food. And the servers are fun. And you'd be in the thick of the celebrations
                3. I second Union.

                1. re: tron
                  w
                  Willy3000 RE: tron Nov 29, 2006 11:56 PM

                  I've got to retract that best restaurant comment. After the reply about Canlis being the re-creation of a high school prom date, I realized that I've been getting kinda lazy in my home town. I like the place a lot, but I'm going to lay off that superlative.

                  Glassman, your comment was just what I needed to hear. Last night a friend came to town and I was going to take him out to the Hunt Club, which is one of my old standbys. I thought about my list, which is tired, and said I've got to widen the circle. So he and I and another person went out to Cascadia and had a really good meal.

                  Krug champagne to start. Gnocchi and beef carpaccio for first courses. Two carmelized spice-rubbed king salmons and a loin of cascade elk for main courses. Some chocolate hoo-hah desserts and cookies. Two bottles of a high-end Riscal, a red rioja. (And no, that's not redundant; there are white riojas.) With tax and tip, $720.

                  I'd give it two stars on the Michelin scale.

                2. t
                  tron RE: tron Nov 29, 2006 07:10 PM

                  doing a little research myself here...

                  anybody know anything about Union in belltown?

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: tron
                    terrier RE: tron Nov 29, 2006 08:04 PM

                    Union is really downtown, not in Belltown. It's one of the best in the city - highly recommended.

                    1. re: terrier
                      t
                      tron RE: terrier Dec 12, 2006 07:18 PM

                      thanks again to all for the recommendations and guidance. have settled on union. 6 course tasting menu. food looks great. will report.

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