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Looking for a great, extensive tasting menu in seattle

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Hamlet1041 Mar 19, 2011 09:06 PM

I am looking for a place that offers a tasting menu similar to Joel Roubochuns in Las Vegas. There he offers a 16 course tasting menu, French inspired plus a lot of extras. Is there thing like that in Seattle? We are talking impeccable service, white glove, two-story bread trays, literally dozens of petite deserts, all for the packing up and tacking home. Any ideas??

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    Leper RE: Hamlet1041 Mar 20, 2011 11:11 AM

    Seattle drove Jerimiah Tower and Wolfgang Puck out of town on a rail. (Rightfully so.) I suggest you buy a new Pendelton shirt, get a warm cup of coffee and reassess your visit.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Leper
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      equinoise RE: Leper Mar 21, 2011 05:20 PM

      This response may be one of my favorite of all time of this board.

      As Leper, uh, suggests, there is really nothing as opulent as what you describe on offer here. Canlis does have a tasting menu that looks very enticing, but I have not sampled it yet. Others have mentioned Rover's and Mistral Kitchen. I very much like Crush as well. I don't recommend Le Gourmand by comparision; less bang for the buck, with a small dose of unwarranted attitude.

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      Canlis Restaurant
      2576 Aurora Ave N, Seattle, WA 98109

      Mistral Kitchen
      2020 Westlake Avenue, Seattle, WA 98121

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      howard 1st RE: Hamlet1041 Mar 20, 2011 11:23 AM

      le gourmand, in the wilds of east ballard, offers no gloves, no bread towers, no dessert buffet - only superb french food, impeccable service and a 7 or 8 course tasting menu you will love in a quiet, elegant setting at a price well in line with the quality offered; hither thee hence, o prince of denmark!

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      Le Gourmand Restaurant
      425 NW Market St, Seattle, WA 98107

      2 Replies
      1. re: howard 1st
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        Hamlet1041 RE: howard 1st Mar 21, 2011 12:45 PM

        Sounds good! I added it to my list... Consider me hithering there this weekend,

        1. re: howard 1st
          kaleokahu RE: howard 1st Apr 7, 2011 09:39 PM

          +1+ This unpreposessing place is a treasure, and it's longevity in a backwater subneighborhood within a small footprint ought to tell more discerning CHs a lot. If it's about food, this is one of Seattle's all-time bests.

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          FoodDee RE: Hamlet1041 Mar 20, 2011 11:41 AM

          Perhaps the Jewel Box or Chef's table at Mistral Kitchen might come as close as it gets in Seattle, though haven't tried either. The fancier restaurants have definitely toned it down the passed couple of years.

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          Mistral Kitchen
          2020 Westlake Avenue, Seattle, WA 98121

          1. babette feasts RE: Hamlet1041 Mar 20, 2011 08:48 PM

            Yeah, you're probably not going to find that. Rover's is good, the grand menu is 8 or so courses and service should be at a high level. If you do manage to find something with 'literally dozens of petite desserts', I'd love to know where1

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              cocktailhour RE: Hamlet1041 Mar 21, 2011 04:46 PM

              Definitely Rovers or the Chef's Table at Mistral Kitchen. Can't say it will be 16 courses. Rover's is white cloth french service, classic, impeccable food. Mistral Kitchen's Chef's Table is at least 10 courses, but more innovative new American. The atmosphere is more lively/casual than Rover's. Mistral has the Jewel Box, which has a few table of tasting menu. The Chef's Table has a higher level of personal attention and an extra course or two. The Chef comes over and chats. The menu also includes a cocktail as a palate cleanser, which was very interesting. Canlis has white table cloth service, but I don't know about a tasting menu.

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              Canlis Restaurant
              2576 Aurora Ave N, Seattle, WA 98109

              Mistral Kitchen
              2020 Westlake Avenue, Seattle, WA 98121

              1 Reply
              1. re: cocktailhour
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                sweetpotater RE: cocktailhour Mar 26, 2011 03:59 PM

                I have done Joel Robuchon and many of its peers and would say Rover's doesn't come close. And I am not talking about fanciness but deliciousness. We were totally disappointed with Rover's and ate much better at a ramen place the next day.

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                Psiweaver RE: Hamlet1041 Mar 23, 2011 01:50 PM

                Yeah there isn't going to be anything remotely approaching that level of dining. Seattle tends to be cheap and doesn't really value a high value dining experience like your referring too. I find Joel Roubochun stuffy but the L'Atelier is very very good for what it is. There isn't a high end dining scene really in Seattle. Its much more mid level to mid high, nothing truly on the high end world class level, at least that I've been to or in comparison with the cities I've lived in previously.

                Most of this is due to the fact that the people in Seattle who have money don't tend to spend it on food in a public place. They might host private events at their houses but they aren't going out for elaborate dinners.

                7 Replies
                1. re: Psiweaver
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                  equinoise RE: Psiweaver Mar 23, 2011 03:06 PM

                  Of course I agree that there is no uber high-end dining in SEA on the level of Las Vegas, New York, Paris, Tokyo etc.

                  However, I'm not sure about the claim that people with money here don't spend it on restaurants but just host "private" dinners at home. If so, how does one explain the decades of business that have been enjoyed by Canlis or Rover's? Those places aren't Robuchon-expensive, but they aren't cheap by any means, and I doubt that anyone but quite fortunate people are regulars at these places.

                  I suspect that a great chunk of the patrons at Robuchon and the other opulent destinations in Vegas are not locals but tourists. Few places on the planet can match the tourist dollars that flow there, and certainly not Seattle.

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                  Canlis Restaurant
                  2576 Aurora Ave N, Seattle, WA 98109

                  1. re: equinoise
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                    Psiweaver RE: equinoise Mar 25, 2011 08:42 AM

                    While that is true. Having lived in LA for almost 4 years I can certainly say that a large portion of the high end dining scene is supported locally there whether it is steakhouse type places like Cut, Mastro's, etc or something like Spago, Urasawa, Providence Water Grill, etc

                    Certainly vegas has a huge tourist based economy, my point was more that for the size of city seattle is and the amount of money that is based here, M$FT, Amazon, Starbucks etc the high end dining scene is comparably weak. There are a couple places yes, but no where near the depth or variety that you'd find in some other major cities.

                    1. re: Psiweaver
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                      equinoise RE: Psiweaver Mar 25, 2011 10:57 AM

                      Two observations:

                      LA v. SEA: might be a cultural difference. Perhaps wealthy employees from the SEA firms you mentioned, many coming from humble roots and technical/engineering backgrounds, are less comfortable eating precious food in an expensive prix fixe setting than those in the entertainment industry who are more adept at wining and dining and show. These personalities may be more at ease eating below their means, so to speak.

                      Second, I think alot of the wealth may reside on the eastside of the lake, and the new-ish restaurants in Bellevue that are not innovative and super expensive but satisfying and classy in a conventional manner (e.g. SeaStar, El Gaucho, Howie Steak, etc.) may be capturing the higher-end dining dollars.

                      1. re: equinoise
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                        Psiweaver RE: equinoise Mar 25, 2011 02:19 PM

                        Yes it probably is a cultural difference either way though doesn't help the high end dining scene. Too me though i look to somewhere like San Jose or even San Francisco to see where tech money likes to do there. They have much higher end places and many more of them. I'm not quite sure what the deal is but its certainly odd/interesting.

                        1. re: equinoise
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                          AndrewS RE: equinoise Mar 26, 2011 01:49 PM

                          As former LA resident, I'm in thorough agreement with the observations on the dining scene here vs LA. The very high end is simply not present here, and the restaurants aspiring to that end don't deliver at the same level as comparable joints in LA. The strength of the dining scene here lies in the tier below- places doing innovative, tasty food driven by the abundance of local produce. Those places don't have the bells and whistles of a place aiming for Michelin stars, but are probably more economically viable in the long run.

                          As to why LA supports that sort of dining scene and Seattle doesn't- LA is tenfold larger in size than LA and I suspect that there is a greater density of new money there. While I miss Spago, Craft, Grace, and Providence, I must say that I get a much better meal in Seattle on nights when I don't feel like cooking or feeling guilty about the size of the bill- hitting Blackboard Bistro, Quinn's, Joule, or any of a dozen other places where you can get a decent meal for less than $100 for two- something nearly unheard of in LA if you aren't eating 'ethnic' food.

                          For the OP- best bet would be to contact Crush, Mistral Kitchen, or the Book Bindery and arrange a degustation menu prix fixe. If you're used to dining at Robuchon, call them and see if you can set something up at $200pp, and see if they rise to the occasion.

                          That being said, the best meals are usually obtained by eating in the local style wherever you go, and Seattle is more bistro than haute cuisine

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                          Mistral Kitchen
                          2020 Westlake Avenue, Seattle, WA 98121

                          Book Bindery
                          198 Nickerson Street, Seattle, WA 98109

                          1. re: AndrewS
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                            Hamlet1041 RE: AndrewS Mar 26, 2011 02:19 PM

                            After reading all the posts, thank to everyone by the way, I think this is the best suggestion. I can call and arrange for a menu that suits my wants. I enjoy many of the dining choices in Seattle, El Guacho being a favorite haunt, but I find too many that fail to deliver on that uber-experience. Most restaurants don’t have that, “take your time, we’re here to serve you at your leisure” type atmosphere anymore. I want to be spoiled, pampered and indulged. I like your suggestion- thanks.

                            1. re: Hamlet1041
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                              AndrewS RE: Hamlet1041 Apr 7, 2011 08:39 PM

                              Thanks! If you get a chance to report back, I'd be curious to know the results. Probably best to pick an 'off' night (i.e. not Fri or Sat), too.

                              Andrew S

                  2. babette feasts RE: Hamlet1041 Mar 23, 2011 06:47 PM

                    I think I'd rather just go to Harvest Vine and have everything on the menu, one by one. *

                    *Or at least to my memory of harvest Vine, back when Joseba was still there.

                    1. terrier RE: Hamlet1041 Mar 23, 2011 10:51 PM

                      Order a substantial fraction of the menu at the Book Bindery and forget the petit fours. I'll take that over Joel Robuchon in Vegas any day.

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                      Book Bindery
                      198 Nickerson Street, Seattle, WA 98109

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: terrier
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                        Psiweaver RE: terrier Mar 25, 2011 08:43 AM

                        Do they make mashed potatoes on the same level as Joel's? if so i'll have to go and order a bunch.

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                        FoodDee RE: Hamlet1041 Apr 7, 2011 05:13 PM

                        Its not 16 courses and isn't white table cloth but I just noticed that Spinasse is doing a 10 course tasting menu at the chef's counter. Perhaps open yourself to a new experience rather than trying, and probably failing, to replicate something from Vegas in Seattle.

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                        Spinasse
                        Seattle, WA, Seattle, WA

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                          tsquare RE: Hamlet1041 Apr 9, 2011 12:32 PM

                          It has taken me 5 or 6 years to feel strongly enough to sign up and comment here. Since no one has mentioned it, have you considered The Herbfarm? They are doing remarkable things and my one visit, they did package up the little treats that came after the triple dessert plate. If you can deal with the long evening and lots of showmanship, it is a wonderful dining experience.

                          Years ago, I also had a great tasting menu at Earth and Ocean, when Maria was at the helm. I read lots of lukewarm reports regarding Tilth, but my experiences there have always been great. Casual though. For the money you are talking about, many Seattle restaurants could make you happy. A more casual evening at The Corson Building, ask John to make you a tasting menu at Lark, Mistral Kitchen, Canlis. If you tell them $200 - $300 per person for food - I bet they can knock your socks off. The service might not be 100% - it is a rare beast in this town, noticeable when it is good.

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                          Canlis Restaurant
                          2576 Aurora Ave N, Seattle, WA 98109

                          The Herbfarm
                          14590 NE 145th St, Woodinville, WA 98072

                          Mistral Kitchen
                          2020 Westlake Avenue, Seattle, WA 98121

                          3 Replies
                          1. re: tsquare
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                            Thiebaud RE: tsquare Apr 9, 2011 01:24 PM

                            Except that Jerry Traunfeld has left The Herbfarm and started Poppy. He was the chef that made The Herbfarm so great. What's strange is that I found Poppy to be somewhat disappointing, as did the other three people I went with. In any case, Poppy is a far cry from what the OP is looking for.

                            1. re: Thiebaud
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                              tsquare RE: Thiebaud Apr 9, 2011 01:38 PM

                              I ate at the Herbfarm after Jerry opened Poppy, but I am not sure if it was the same chef as currently. I've had very good and not so good meals at Poppy, but do love it in concept.

                              Ron and his team at the Herbfarm are working almost exclusively with local foods, foraging, experimenting with ideas and ingredients that leave most of the country behind. His tweets are worth following just to see what is happening in their kitchen. He posts pdf's and videos of some of their experiments. What comes out on the plate is real food, but what it takes to get there is pretty amazing. For just under $200 including wine pairings (you can up that by ordering from the cellar), the food and service seem to most match what Hamlet is asking for. It's just that long night of explanations and introductions that keeps me from returning.

                              I guess it doesn't matter as the diner was already come and gone.

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                              The Herbfarm
                              14590 NE 145th St, Woodinville, WA 98072

                              1. re: tsquare
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                                cocktailhour RE: tsquare Apr 11, 2011 10:43 AM

                                Very true. I have not been since the new chef, so I was pleased to see your review. They were very local before the word locavore was invented. I don't find it too stuffy/kitschy, but I know some people do. but it is such an Event.

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