Restaurant Week Raves
Last night we went to Crush, which I chose after seeing their Restaurant Week menu online. Unfortunately, the offerings were not what I had previewed, but thankfully the one item I had been most excited about, the pork belly, was still there, although it was served with farro rather than grits as previously advertised. That was only a minor upset, as the farro offered a nice textural element, and the accompanying sauce had an incredible depth of flavor to it (excellent size portion, as well).
The other first courses offered were a Creamy Onion Soup (amazingly sweet, with not a hint of bitterness) and a green salad with sous vide vegetables (oops! missing the pistachios that were on the menu).
Main course options included Flat Iron Steak with watercress and a savory bread pudding (perfectly cooked, beautifully tender steak, excellent sides), Potato Gnocchi with browned butter and wild mushrooms (chanterelles and lobster mushrooms, no pumpkin in sight despite the menu's description, but pillowy soft gnocchi and very rich sauce), and Skate Wing with Israeli couscous and romesco sauce (our server, a self-proclaimed non-seafood eater, gave us what turned out to be an excellent description of skate, which none of us had eaten before - "shellfish-like flavor, with a tender texture").
Desserts: Blondie with praline ice cream and chocolate drizzle (my husband was disappointed that it didn't come with the salted caramel sauce noted on the menu - this turned out to be a rather "ordinary" dessert), "Beignets" with huckleberry compote (these appeared to be some kind of fried encrusted custard rather than a dough-based fritter), and a cheese plate with a soft ripened cheese, a firm cheese, huckleberry compote, and little fruit bread toasts (my companions insisted that cheese is not a dessert, but I prevailed in ordering it, and to their ultimate delight it was incredibly satisfying.)
We were also brought some lovely salted rosemary bread with butter and a plate of gruyere gougères, which were fantastic. We tried some of the house cocktails off of the menu - I had a gin/cucumber/mint concoction that made me swoon.
All in all, it was quite enjoyable. It was clear that the kitchen was improvising on the menu a bit; even the waitstaff wasn't quite sure what they were delivering at times. Telling me about my gnocchi, the server peered into my plate and said, "...and it looks like there are some tomatoes there, too." I thought it was funny that the blondie and beignets came with full narrative, and nothing was said about the cheese, which turned out to be the most alluring final course. We had to ask what the cheeses were. (Of course, the only thing I remember is that they were both French.)
Great experience, quite different from last week's visit to Rover's, but more my style - modern food, relaxed atmosphere.
2319 E. Madison Street, Seattle, WA 98112
I decided to go to Barolo for lunch and Nell’s for dinner.
Barolo, I had the salad with parmigiano and my partner had the mushroom soup. Both were good but nothing earth shattering. Mains were spaghetti with calamari and lamb shank with polenta. The spaghetti was definitely the winner. The calamari was perfectly cooked and the pasta al dente. The lamb was good but a very small portion. The highlight was the desserts. The chocolate tortino was small but had an incredibly decadent chocolate taste and the berry pannacotta I wanted to lick the bowl, smooth and creamy with a beautiful gelee on top.
Nell’s was fantastic. It was definitely a steal for the money. The bread basket was wonderful with a variety of great breads from sweet to savory. The appetizer of warm potato and goat cheese terrine was out of this world and the hubbard squash soup creamy with a hint of spice. I will dream of that terrine. The marlin was a huge portion with nutty roasted cauliflower and warm spinach and fig salad. They had run out of the confit duck but replaced it with nice pork loin with brussel sprouts, parsnip puree and a berry sauce. The desserts were good. My partner loved the chocolate and pistachio brownie with coconut ice cream and the apple tarte tatin was good but a little chewy though the rum raisin ice cream was delicious. Overall I was extremely satisfied with the meal and I would have never known that this was the discounted menu from the portions and the service. Definitely a winner.
1940 Westlake Avenue, Seattle, WA 98101
My companion and I visited Blueacre for the Restaurant Week promotion after I narrowed down our selections based on the posted online "specials" menus. Unfortunately, Blueacre's menu wasn't representative (at all) of their actual menu, and I ordered off the regular menu. I don't have the actual menu in hand, but the menu posted online listed at least 2 of 3 appetizers that weren't offered (the farro hush puppies, and the bisque) and they didn't offer the entree butternut squash pastini either. Those were items I had planned to order, so I was naturally disappointed. Instead, I ordered a baby lettuce leaf salad, which was delicious with lavender infused goat cheese, and the seared scallops, served with fresh corn and andouille sausage.This was cooked and served perfectly, and piping hot. These two items exceeded the $25 I had set aside for the meal, so dessert was no longer an option for me. My companion was able to adapt better to the changed menu, and had the clam fritters, trout, and warm pear tart with rum raisin ice cream. The fritters were hot and flavorful, the trout didn't have the most attractive plating, but tasted fine. The "warm" pear tart was cold, and hard as a brick. The ice cream seemed to be chilled from resting on top of it!
Our server was friendly and knowledgeable, and the pacing and service was professional and enjoyable.
All in all, the food was worth it, and enjoyable---the space is nice, the menu is interesting, but I wish the menu posted in conjunction with the online promotion was accurate---My budget allows me to visit two restaurants during restaurant week, and once I had narrowed my choices down to about 10 restaurants, the final difficult choice was made by menu offerings. My mistake, I guess.
Last night was our first outing of Restaurant Week: Rover's. For me, it's the only way I will be likely to eat there, so it was definitely worthwhile, but like many RW experiences, probably not as good as you would get if you went for the full-price offering.
Our table's impressions:
Butternut Squash Soup - velvety and rich, like a bowlful of fall
Smoked salmon - hot-smoked northwest style, very flavorful
(None of us ordered the salad)
Vegetable Terrine with Farro - quite good for a veg entree
Pacific Cod with foraged shrooms and chard - perfectly cooked, savory flavors, slightly sloppy presentation (in this regard does not measure up to the Halibut on Canlis's RW menu last April)
Guinea Fowl - I almost wish I'd had this, the accompanying roasted vegetables looked so good
Espresso Creme Brulee - delicious, lighter than some
Chocolate Gateau - good, our least favorite dessert
Apple Tartlet - fantastic pastry crust, surprise winner
One of our party opted for the $25 wine pairings, two of us had only the wines paired with our entrees. All were spot-on incredible.
For me, the whole experience was magical, the atmosphere very warm, and the service gracious. I'm incredibly grateful to be offered the chance to visit a restaurant that's normally out of my reach. I blogged about more of my impressions: http://sporkoutloud.blogspot.com/2010...
2576 Aurora Ave N, Seattle, WA 98109
2808 East Madison Street, Seattle, WA 98112
Had lunch at Etta's with some coworkers yesterday. Everyone enjoyed their firsts: iceberg wedge w/ a deliciously tangy, yet light blue cheese or calamari with brown butter. The wedge was the perfect size considering the courses ahead.
The table split 2nd course choices between the pork schnitzel and the beecher's cheese and apple sandwich. Schnitzel had a great texture (nothing compared to my Oma's, but I digress) and the sandwich was on the verge of deep-fried with a healthy serving of fries.
Deserts were a great ending and, besides the coconut cream pie (a TD staple apparently), perfectly portioned. Pear sorbet was sweeter than expected and the orange blossom panna cotta tasted more of a vanilla bean, but won with the huckleberry sauce.
Service wasn't the worst, nor the best I've had during RW but lunch took 2 hours.
Dinner at Tilth was fantastic. Despite my Open Table VIP status (kidding of course), we got seated in a 2' X 2' space by the open window. They needed it open for all the hustle and bustle! The boyfriend won with the pumpkin soup starter, wild boar bolognase and the butterscotch pudding. Very thoughtful flavors and I got caught licking up that bolognase more than once!
My cauliflower flan, albacore tuna and chocolate sorbet were well crafted but didn't feel like the stars of the menu per se. Service was excellent and perfectly timed despite the full house. It was RW at it's finest since we probably would not be able to go to Tilth otherwise. Now, however, we will do our best to fit it in our rotation!
No raves so far - Had lunch at Blueacre that was good, and dinner at Flying Fish that was a bit disappointing.
Lunch at Blueacre: fried razor clam fritters - good fried doughy things with spicy toppings, but no real razor clam experience. Idaho trout "grenobloise" was good, but pretty rich covered in browned butter. It came with a small cup of overcooked and over olive oiled mixed veg, but no starch. My dining companion had the pulled pork sandwich (she said it was very good) with a cup of potato salad on the side. For dessert we had chocolate pecan pie with rum raisin ice cream - good, but very sweet. Exremely large portion. I had wanted the angel food cake but "house-made cool whip" sounds even more revolting than regular store-bought cool whip, so I passed. Service was fine, but a little overly friendly for a business lunch, imo, and the music choice was weird given the downtown lunch crowd (Beyonce? Really?).
Flying Fish was more disappointing.
Starters: lamb riblets with a 5 spice rub was nice, but my "crispy salmon roll" turned out to be a really gummy tempura'd salmon/mayo roll. It was hard to eat because the rice was so gummy.
Mains: SO had mushroom risotto with seared scallops (ok) and I had the sturgeon which looked, tasted and had the texture of a chicken breast (until you get to the fishy "dark" blood area at the end which I found extremely unpleasant).
Dessert: warm grappa brownie with vanilla ice cream. Very rich chocolate brownie with sweet gooey center and lame vanilla ice cream (with large ice crystals throughout). Disappointing.
2234 1st Avenue, Seattle, WA 98121
S.O. and I went to Pink Door last night for their Restaurant Week Menu. I had always wanted to try this place and their $25 menu seemed to have a lot of good options.
To start we shared the Roasted Beet Salad with Gorgonzola and an order of Gnocchi with a cream sauce and sauteed spinach. We enjoyed the gnocchi quite a bit, especially the creamy sauce which accompanied it. We both liked the beet salad, too, but we agreed any roasted vegetable with a side of good cheese would make a fine salad, and there was really nothing too adventurous or creative about this salad in particular.
For the main course, I ordered the Cioppino and my S.O had the Pappardelle with meat sauce. I thought the Cioppino was good, hearty, but we both agreed they went heavy on the herbs. This led to not quite enough seafood flavor in broth, despite a very large portion of fish, squid, shrimp, manila clams, and mussels. The Pappardelle was fine, but again nothing very creative about this. I thought there should have been a bit more sauce, especially when comparing the portion size to the huge Cioppino. I guess maybe the pasta is on the menu as more of a safe item.
For dessert we had the Tiramisu and the Lemon Tart Brulee. We enjoyed both and I especially liked the Brulee, even though I am not usually a fan of lemon tart.
Our drinks for the evening were a Manhattan with dried cherries which S.O quite liked and a glass of some local Cab/Sauv which I thought was very good.
Overall, we felt the meal was good, but definitely not worth more then the $25 per person. Excluding the gnocchi and the Tiramisu, everything we ordered seemed pretty safe and not out of reach of a determined amateur chef. I think the only redeeming factor was the portion size of the cioppino, the drinks, and the good desserts (after having quite a few disappointing desserts at past Restaurant Week dinners at other restaurants, Pink Doors' were refreshing).
I'd go back to Pink Door (more likely on somebody elses dollar) to try their regular menu, and maybe see a show.
*A note about service: A lot of the reviews I've read about Pink Door mention bad service. Our only encounter with this was that our drinks arrived after our appetizers, but I can this as an issue with a busy night and not necessarily bad servers. A party of 15 had just arrived and I think this through everybody off a little bit. I think in general the quality of service in the Seattle goes hand-in-hand with the informal atmosphere at most of the higher-end restaurants. Besides the drinks issue, our service was acceptable and definitely not as rude as described in some previous reviews.
1919 Post Aly, Seattle, WA 98101
I only recently discovered Il Bistro myself, and am now quite smitten with it. I have tried all of the appetizers on the RW menu; all are good, don't discount the bruschetta.
The salmon dish listed in the entree choices was the special the night I was there for dinner, and it was incredible! My server brought me a taste of wine he recommended to pair with it, and it was one of the best pairings I've ever experienced. Sadly, I already had a glass and couldn't handle another. Sorry to say I don't recall what it was (it was a red), but I'm sure they can help you if you're interested.
In fact, I blogged about my visit; I hope it's kosher to share the link: http://sporkoutloud.blogspot.com/2010...
93A Pike Street, Seattle, WA 98101
I was very pleasantly surprised at the steak I had at Seastar in Bellevue Sunday night.
Nice thick prime sirloin perfectly medium rare topped with a slice of what tasted like pickled red onion and blue cheese. Had a port wine reduction, kind of boring slices of portabella, and fingerling potatoes too.
Maytag blue cheese salad was meh. Kind of underdressed and the greens weren't the best quality. I wish I had gotten the bisque.
Wifey had the crabcakes which she enjoyed. I didn't feel like fish that night so didn't taste although I've had them before and they're fine. The sugar snap peas on her plate were very fresh and tender. She gave them to me since she doesn't like them.
Desserts were okay. Coconut cream pie tasted good the next day. Chocolate cake was okay.
The restaurant was packed.
Went to Kirkland Purple tonight.
Warm goat cheese was very good.
I got the gorgonzola pasta. Large portion. It wasn't excessively rich and creamy which I kind of liked compared to some similar pastas I've had where you can barely finish 1/4 of the dish.
Wifey's cod was very good. Once again, a large portion with some bok choy and pancetta potatoes.
We made the mistake of also ordering the andouille pizza which I thought was the best thing we had tonight. It also was surprisingly large portion. Not that the pizza was big, but it had a lot of toppings. I can't recall all but it included the sausage, goat cheese, some other cheese, arugala, and I think roasted garlic.
We got our desserts to go so can't comment on them.