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Openings and Closings

c
cocktailhour Apr 7, 2010 12:09 PM

If there is already a similar thread, I couldn't find it. News of new and old. What's opening, what's closing.

For me, I am very curious about two new places from great Seattle chefs: Mistral Kitchen and Bisato, the new incantation of Lampreia from Scott Carlsberg. Has anyone been to either one of them? Thoughts?

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Lampreia Restaurant
2400 1st Ave, Seattle, WA 98121

Mistral Kitchen
2020 Westlake Avenue, Seattle, WA 98121

  1. c
    cocktailhour Apr 15, 2010 09:16 PM

    I guess I will have to answer my own question. Recently went to Mistral Kitchen and had an absolutely wonderful dinner. We had the tasting menu on the fancy side (there is also a casual side). The restaurant has a great concept, with a more small plates/bistro side, and then a part more like the old Mistral with lots of chef's choice. Happy hour, lunch, brunch, too.

    Mistral Kitchen

    1. Oysters. Farm raised in Olympia. First one with a blood orange reduction granita. Second a rare breed only sold to two restaurants. Served with a lemon shallot sauce. Both were good but not great. I thought they needed more acid, but I am not an oyster connoisseur.

    2. My favorite course. Paper thin—translucent—slices of baby octopus, marinated for three days in a citrus marinade with some sake. Served with thin slices of orange and sprinkles of togarishi. Very small shreds of bok choy and something else.I would never have ordered this, but it was transcendantly good. The octopus had a very slight chew with a pleasant tartness from the marinade, sweet plus bitter from the orange, and a little spice. The tiny bits of green were a wonderful contrast. This dish alleviated my jaded concern that there was nothing new to do in cooking. These first two courses were served with champagne.

    3. One scallop, perfectly grilled, still very rare inside, cut in half and served with a parsnip puree with a hint of apple, asparagus tips, and grilled baby ramps, and a bit of saba. Any excellent combination and balance. Served with a veltliner, a very nice pairing.

    4. Soup. A puree of fresh peas and herbs, served with a small dollop of lemon yogurt, and micro cilantro and oreck. (I don’t know if this is the right spelling, but it sounded like the vacuum. Tiny red narrow leaves.) velvety texture, yet more light and refreshing than heavy. Served with a Washington (Yakima I think) Roussane. Chateau Bleuie (?sp). The vintner does everything himself, except for help with the harvest.

    5. Fish course. Branzino fillet, served well grilled with the skin. It was a thin and delightful fish. Served with manila clams, a little broth, and tiny pieces of diced purple potatoes and bacon lardon. Also with micro cilantro and oreck. Served with a Domaine Serene (Oregon) chardonnay. I don’t love chardonnay, but this was a very good pairing.

    6. Foie gras. Grilled and caramelized. Good idea, not so good in execution. My caramelization tasted burnt, but the rest of the piece of foie was a bit underdone. My husband’s piece was better cooked). Served with candied pear (delicious) and some other pear preparation (more natural pear) and a little sauce. Came with a South African late harvest riesling. This dish had great potential, but needed more candied pear, I think, in addition to the cooking issue. [This is a nit really; I ate my whole thing and it was very good, just not the very best it could be.]

    7. Intermezzo. Rather than a sorbet, there was a palate cleansing mini cocktail, made while we watched. First, a two by two cube of ice was shaved to fit into a highball glass. The drink was calvados, rye whiskey-sugar reduction, and a spiced liqueur with lots of allspice. It was a pinkish red and very spicy. As a palate cleanser, it failed because I was overwhelmed by the allspice/nutmeg flavors. But a great concept and execution.

    8. Roasted rack of lamb. One piece, served rosy medium rare, with lovely marbling—very excellent texture and flavor from the locally grown meat. Served with pureed potatoes and 20% butter (sort of Robuchon light). Also sautéed baby carrots and French radishes. The wine was a French Bordeaux, 80% merlot, the rest cab franc. I did not like it much. Don’t know if cocktail impaired my palate. Well executed dish.

    9. Cheese course. Small amounts of goat, Vermont cheddar, a sheep-cow milk, and a cow Basque. Served with foccacia. A red Australian, old vines shirah, rich and full. I love a good cheese course.

    10. “Pre-dessert.” Goat milk mousse, almond crunch, apricot compote, and a square of what tasted like semifreddo, although it was called parfait, with honey and lavender. A nice blend of creamy, sweet, and crunchy. I expected more tang from the goat milk mousse, but a very good balance of elements.

    11. Chocolate flourless cake in a sharp square, topped with airy blobs of white chocolate basil cream, and a cocoa nib tuille. Tiny candied meyer lemon peel on the side, and it added a great contrast to the chocolate when eaten together. Bonus banjuls.

    For a budget buster, highly recommended. The less-fancy side takes reservations too, and I think it was a series of small plates; I only glanced at the menu.

    -----
    Mistral Kitchen
    2020 Westlake Avenue, Seattle, WA 98121

    2 Replies
    1. re: cocktailhour
      i
      itsonlyfood Apr 17, 2010 03:25 PM

      Thank you for the review of some wonderful dishes at the new Mistral. I look forward to
      trying it and have fond memories of food at the old Mistral. Chef William Belickis does
      great work and seems to rub some in the media and some customers the wrong way. The review of the place in Times was rather luke-warm. It is a tough time to open a high-end restaurant---those who can afford it should give it a try.

      1. re: cocktailhour
        p
        pusherman May 19, 2010 04:53 PM

        I had a good meal at Mistral shortly after they opened...the food was great, the service was pretty bad, friendly but with reallllllly long breaks between courses.

      2. c
        cocktailhour May 19, 2010 03:07 PM

        has anyone been to Luc?

        1. c
          cburnsi May 21, 2010 04:38 PM

          Farewell, Union! We loved you.

          I am excited about the new Ethan Stowell place in Ballard, though. I can hardly wait for the opening!

          And I believe the Walrus Bar will be opening around the same time.

          The Kolstrand Building and the Melrose Project - it should be a good summer in Seattle!

          4 Replies
          1. re: cburnsi
            p
            pusherman May 22, 2010 07:06 PM

            Wait- Union is closing too? This is the problem with being away...

            Well, I never got to eat there, but I was always kind of underwhelmed by the look of the place...seemed much more dated and sort of generic Northwestern than his other locations.

            I'm excited about the full deployment of the Melrose project...but sad that Tamara Murphy's place won't be among the offerings.

            1. re: pusherman
              Tom Armitage May 28, 2010 09:09 AM

              Like most high-end restaurants (e.g., Crush, Café Juanita), Union had its share of both admirers and detractors. I was an admirer, and think the downtown fine dining scene will be the less for Union’s demise. I had some lovely plates of food there last night, including a smoked mackerel bruschetta, scallops with green lentils, and a silky smooth espresso gelato. Ethan Stowell will be the resident chef at his new restaurant in Ballard, opening this summer, rather than bouncing around his various restaurants as has been his norm of late. Did anyone notice that Union never had salmon on its menu, or wonder why?

              1. re: Tom Armitage
                e
                equinoise May 28, 2010 11:27 AM

                Agreed that this is a blow for downtown, especially coupled with the loss of Brasa on the north side of Pike Place. I fear for further incursion from something in the style of the Corporate Corridor chain monsters along Pike.

                I had three fine meals at Union and considered the place one of my local favorites. I think that Anchovies & Olives doesn't quite have the potential for a "special occasion" look and feel that Union did, nor the completeness of the menu. Being dismayed by the silly no-reservation policy at How to Cook a Wolf, I haven't made it there yet.

                -----
                Brasa
                2107 3rd Ave., Seattle, WA 98121

                Anchovies & Olives
                1550 15th Avenue, Seattle, WA 98122

                1. re: equinoise
                  b
                  bourbongal Aug 4, 2010 09:33 PM

                  Just wanted to add my lament for the closing of Union and Brasa. Union had become my favorite place for dinner downtown before or after a show or concert. And happy hour at Brasa was topnotch. I think we need to both fear incursion from corporate food and also lobby the City Council to clean up Belltown. I saw 4 guys shooting up in the alley off Lenora last Saturday night during the SeaFair parade. This kind of activity could not have helped Brasa's business. I worked in Belltown up until a few months ago and have watched it decline since the economgy went south.

          2. c
            cocktailhour Aug 4, 2010 04:30 PM

            Has anyone been to Hudson--in Georgetown I think.

            2 Replies
            1. re: cocktailhour
              g
              GreenYoshi Aug 4, 2010 05:03 PM

              I've only been for breakfast, which was great.
              My buddy got a scramble with chicken sausage and some other nice fixins, I got a great chicken fried steak. The table next to us got a waffle that looked great.
              Boozy drinks are a bonus.

              The lunch looked decent.
              (my impression was that it didn't look like a great spot for dinner, but I'd love to be proven wrong)

              1. re: GreenYoshi
                MsMaryMc Aug 4, 2010 09:18 PM

                Dinner there is good (my husband LOVED the chicken fried steak, and the cocktails are definitely a draw--well-made and potent), but I think I like them for breakfast best.

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