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Sep 26, 2007 09:27 AM

Why Has Mistral Not Been Mentioned

We are heading to Seattle tomorrow and friends there recommended Mistral, after hours of research cannot find anybody talking about Mistral here at chowhound. Decided to cancel the reservations and go with Crush, Cafe Juanita, Wild Ginger, Matt's and Nishino. Just curious what the reviews are of Mistral (since it's quite pricey $250 p/person, wine extra) Is it really worth the price?

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  1. There are many fans of Mistral. I have read many hounds tak about it's innovation and creatvity. at some point, though, it's personal preference.

    From your list, I would find a substitute for Wild Ginger. I actually like Wild GInger (many don't) but there's better. Should it be Mistral? I don't know, it's a completely different experience. I would consider Tilth or Lark or Tamarind Tree.

    6 Replies
    1. re: cocktailhour

      Unfortunately, Wild Ginger is the one night out with our local friends and they insist on going there. I seem to be running out of time for more restaurants. Must make plans for another trip to Seattle, too many good choices. Maybe I will check and see if any of your other suggestions are open for lunch. Thanks for the tip

      1. re: travelchow

        Wild Ginger is definitely more fun in a group, and it does have some really good dishes. I think you will enjoy it.

        1. re: cocktailhour

          Thank you! Any recomendations on dishes?

          1. re: travelchow

            there is a duck dish with little puffy pancakes-buns that are similar to hum bow dough ..yummy and anywhere else I've tried this dish it hasn't been nearly as good.

            1. re: oliveoyl

              i agree on that dish, my only complaint is that they leave more fat on their pieces of duck than is usually the case. you can also substitute their egg noodles for the buns if you prefer.

        2. re: travelchow

          I would do Matts for lunch (catfish sandwich! gumbo if they have it) rather than dinner. The mussels in coconut curry at Wild Ginger are a good appetizer (get some rice to sop up the sauce), also like the Spice Traders beef (w/ chow fun noodles, it's actually not spicy despite the name) although i'm not sure it is available in the evening. Haven't been to Mistral in a year perhaps, have had some very good meals there but not sure it's worth 250 pp if that's what the current going price is.

      2. You're doing yourself a HUGE disservice by not keeping your reservation at Mistral. Although you've picked valid subsititutes (with the obvious exception of WG, that would be such a wasted meal!) The quality of food at Mistral is unmatched in this city. You are also mistaken about the price. I've had 12-14 course tastings menus with wine for between $150 to $250 out the door /person. Shared bottle of an inexpensive wine off the list for the former; matched wine pairings for each course for the latter.

        3 Replies
        1. re: hhlodesign

          Also, Mistral offers tasting menus only. A 3-4 hour multi-course experience that is carefully orchestrated, paced, and matched. The restaurants you've mentioned do not offer this kind of meal. I believe Crush and Cafe Juanita offer tasting menus if you ask for them, but they are not the specialty of the restaurants in question (that being said, I've had a wonderful 10 course tasting menu at Crush). Nishino does offer an omakase and exclusive omakase which are exceptional, but again, they are not the specialty of the restaurant.

          If you want a truely inspirational dining experience, I'd do:
          1. Mistral
          2. Crush
          3. Nishino
          4. Cafe Juanita
          5. Matt's
          6. Anything but Wild Ginger (Green Leaf, Monsoon, Tamarind Tree, Malay Satay Hut, Rocking Wok)

          1. re: hhlodesign

            I just called mistral to double check on my reservation (actually not sure I had canceled it yet)
            I have a reservation for Crush & Cafe Juanita
            I think I may cancel Cafe Juanita (too far-no car)
            and I don't have a choice on Wild Ginger- our local friends are taking us there Saturday night. I actually have read all about the other places you suggested, any open for lunch?

            1. re: travelchow

              Different message boards attract different groups of people and I would guess that most posters here haven't been to Mistral (I'm actually going for the first time on Saturday). Check the PNW forum at think you'll find more there.

              Matt's is open for lunch as are all of the places mentioned in line 6. My favorite of that bunch would be Green Leaf but all those suggested are good.

        2. I had a post going in April about Mistral. It's a great restaurant, I think most people here are pretty positive on it. I think Cafe Juanita and Nishino are also good choices as well. I would skip Crush and go with Lark instead.

          1. I'll be the bucket of cold water on Mistral. Dinner for four with wine was $1000 before tip.

            It was not worth it. Completely forgettable meal - in fact the only dish I can recall some 6 months later was the foie gras, and I remember it only for being a meagre, stringy portion. We were the only patrons in the restaurant on a Thursday night.

            Glad the boss was paying. Will not be going back on my own dime. Nishino is miles better.

            Edit: I should add that Mistral wasn't bad - it was just a really bad value for the money.

            3 Replies
            1. re: terrier

              Go with Mistral - small intimate tasting menus - isn't that what dining is all about in this country? If you scoff at $100+ for a great taster than you really shouldn't be talking about places like this anyways. Want to talk about NOT WORTH IT? Go to Trotters - he's still stuck in 1988 - and his prices are going up all the time.

              This place is one word: sexy. Spoil yourself and stay away from the tourist traps.

              1. re: ChefMoly

                When I pay >$100 before wine and service for a tasting menu, I expect an exceptional, memorable meal, period. By that measure, Mistral's tasting menu was not great when I went. The lack of greatness is my complaint, not the cost.

                How overpriced other restaurants might be is irrelevant.

                1. re: terrier

                  Just got back from Seattle last night and definitely enjoyed the city and the food scene.
                  Nishino, which we both thought was wonderful (Hamachi with citrus miso and pickled daikon, yum!)
                  Matt's in the market (lunch) amazing shared the lamb burger & salmon club, both soups. Only downside, not open on Sunday for a second meal.
                  Crush, very good, loud table next to us, charis uncomfortable, appetizers were amazing, short ribs were cooked perfectly, the desserts were pretty average. (on the other hand the bread pudding at matt's was amazing)
                  Wild Ginger, good food, some dishes reminded me of PF Changs.
                  Dahlia Lounge-just dessert, coconut creme pie was amazing.
                  Thank you everybody for all of your suggestions! We had a wonderful trip with lots of great meals!