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Mistral Kitchen Disappointing

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I'm new to Seattle (recently relocated from the Bay Area) and needed to choose a restaurant near downtown for a group of six. Based on what I read here and elsewhere, I thought Mistral Kitchen would fit the bill: fine dining in an upscale setting, a local/seasonal focus for those of us who care about these things, and a menu that was straightforward enough for some of us yet interesting enough for others.

Yet Mistral Kitchen proved to be lacking in many key ingredients. Instead of the somewhat slick space I saw on the Web site, I entered a room so bare bones that I needed to double check with the person who seated us that we were indeed in the dining room (it looked like an extension of the bar). The worst part of the experience came next: our server. He knew nothing about the cocktail menu, the wine list, or the food menu; he admitted this, saying that he normally worked in the Jewel Box (I couldn't imagine him in a setting that's supposed to be even more of a fine dining experience). He barely was able to serve the drinks we ordered (very wobbly, to the point that it seemed he was just about to spill everything). Two members of our party who ordered drinks after the rest of us waited so long for the drinks to arrive that we all speculated whether they would arrive at all.Then, as we ordered appetizers for all of us to share, our server drifted away mid-order; his behavior left us uncertain how much of our initial order might come or whether he'd come back at all. After an awkward break, he returned and took the rest of our appetizer order. He needed the chef/owner to come by for us to be able to order wine, which didn't arrive until after we'd eaten our appetizers. Then quite some time passed before he came back to ask about our entree order (I'd estimate between 30 minutes and an hour, and he briefly apologized for the delay). By then, there was only one order left of the entree that three in our party had hoped to order.

The food itself was only okay. The best thing we ordered was the tomato and beet salad. The charcuterie on the menu ended up consisting of imported salamis and prosciutto (not very local). The tuna confit tasted fine--mostly because of the arugula below it--but looked sloppy. The tuna crudo was miniscule and slightly fishy. Our entrees turned out the be acceptable but uninspired.. Three of us had the black cod with cherry tomatoes, mushrooms, and corn soup (my request for a spoon to eat the soup portion of the dish was acknowledged, but no spoon ever appeared). Both the cod and the duck entrees featured noticeably small portions of their main component. But by then our expectations had grown considerably lower than when we arrived.

All in all, an overpriced meal with truly laughable service. As I've already seen, there are far better meals and experiences to be had in Seattle.

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Mistral Kitchen
2020 Westlake Avenue, Seattle, WA 98121

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  1. My husband and I went to the Jewel Box recently and felt thoroughly ripped off. I've had expensive tasting menus, so it's not the concept. The food just wasn't that delicious. We ordered the six-course tasting menu, and they counted the amuse bouche as a course. Two of those courses were based around tomatoes (including the dessert!). Our mini-flight was $60 for three HALF-pours. (We could have gotten more—two full glasses each—from the by-the-glass menu for far less.) The sommelier was nice; everyone else was just so-so. It was all such a disappointment.