Monday, July 16, 2012

Where to eat in Seattle

Recently we went to Seattle. This is my favorite city in the USA. It is so beautiful: plenty of lakes, farmers markets, and parks. The restaurants we tried were outstanding. If you are going soon to the Emerald City, please try some of these:

1. Dahlia Lounge By Tom Douglas : What to order --- Ask the server for a serving of Dahlia Bakery daily bread. It is delicious. Made using European techniques, our flaxseed, pecan, and wheat flour slices were super tasty.

For our dinner, my husband ordered the Lemon and Scallion Dungeness Crab Cakes. They were served with summer squash with cumin, white beans, heirloom tomato, toasted pepitas, and roasted jalapeƱo cream. He really liked the texture of the cakes. He tried the local Rainier beer and the combination of the beverage and the fresh crab was perfect!

I ordered the Copper River Sockeye Salmon. It was sooo good. Served with toasted quinoa, buttered morel mushrooms, green beans, pickled cherries, and marcona almonds. Very elegant dish (I loved the idea to serve some fresh cherries with the fish!!!). I paired it with a glass of Whispering Tree Syrah (2007), WA. This wine is a forward eminently drinkable style Syrah that is made by Milbrandt Family Vineyards.

The dessert was my favorite part, of course. It was a Flourless Chocolate Cake, served with red wine ice cream, sour cherries, and cocoa nib toffee. It was not too sweet, just the perfect balance of flavors. Soft, pretty, and yummy!

Dahlia Lounge on Urbanspoon

Dahlia Bakery european bread: flaxseed, pecan, wheat flour

Lemon & Scallion Dungeness crab cakes, summer squash, white beans

Copper river sockeye salmon, toasted quinoa, morel mushrooms

Flourless chocolate cake, red wine ice cream, sour cherries, cocoa nib toffee

2. Mistral Kitchen by William Belickis : What to order --- We had the nicest lunch at Mistral Kitchen! Chef William Belickis is not only an extraordinary chef, but also a great person. He took us a picture next to the wood-burning pizza oven, he treated us with such a respect, and at the end he asked us how was everything! Also, our server was excellent. Overall, the service is top notch.

We got the 3-course lunch menu. The first part was a cheese plate: Sottocenere cheese, Apple Marmalade, and Balsamic Vinegar Reduction. We also had some bread slices and butter on the table. So, we ate the cheese with the bread. It was infused with truffle: the flavor was strong and the texture nutty!

The second course was Pizza Margherita. Four simple ingredients: tomato, fresh mozzarella, basil, and olive oil. The tomatoes were a little bit acid and a little bit too overpowering, in my opinion. We shared it and we were pretty satisfied.

The dessert was not too sweet. I tried the coffee ice cream together with the mousse, but it was too strong. So, I recommend you to eat the chocolate separately from the coffee cream. The pomegranate molasses added an interesting touch. They are tart and acidic, so they complements the chocolate. The presentation was pretty!

We had nice drinks. I got a glass of Bodegas y Vinedos Martinez Corta Tempranillo, Cepas Antiguas Rioja. My husband got the Maritime Pacific Portage Bay Pilsener. Both of them were nice addition to our pre-fixe lunch menu. 

Mistral Kitchen on Urbanspoon

Sottocenere cheese, Apple Marmalade, and Balsamic Reduction

Pizza Margherita

The Bev Bar (Crunchy Chocolate Mousse, Coffee Ice Cream, Pomegranate Molasses)

3. Spur Gastropub by Brian McCracken and Dana Tough : What to order --- First of all, let me tell you that this restaurant is super noisy. Also, our server (her name is Dana) was very mean, slow, and made us very angry. I asked her for recommendation on what to order and she suggested the most expensive dishes... We waited more than half an hour to receive our plates. I asked for some bread and she told me they don't serve bread. This is NOT POSSIBLE. I eat my dinner with bread and if a first class restaurant can not offer me a slice of bread, I can not go back again there.

To start the night, we ordered some drinks. I got a glass of Thomas Leithner Zweigelt (2010), Kamptal. My husband ordered the Rainier beer (he likes it a lot!). Then he ordered two small plates. First, the Pork Belly Sliders. They were served with celery root, apple, and smoke. The size of the rolls are mini, so this is definetely an appetizer size. Next, he got the Lamb Tartare. This one came with castlevatrano olive, tomato, and egg yolk. On the side, there were some toasted bread slices (and they told me they don't have bread, how come???).

I ordered one of the most expensive dish: the Slow Poached Halibut. It was served on top of a light broth, together with some spring onion, english peas, and pea vines. Is is super light and not filling at all. I didn't like it a lot, because it was like eating a fish soup. I prefer seared halibut, because the fish becomes more crusty and flavorful.

The dessert was very different. I liked the presentation. It was Chocolate. Cherry. Cigar. Cognac. Basically, a small amount of chocolate mousse, served with cherry sorbet, cherry gelatin, cigar filled with milk foam, and caramels. The cigar doesn't have any flavor, just texture.

Spur Gastropub on Urbanspoon

Pork Belly Sliders: celery root, apple, smoke.

Slow Poached Halibut: spring onion, english peas, pea vines.

Lamb Tartare: castlevatrano olive, tomato, egg yolk, and toasted bread.

Chocolate mousse, cherry sorbet, cigar, gelatin, and caramels.

 4. Lola by Tom Douglas : What to order --- We went to Lola for a delicious power breakfast! My husband got the Continental breakfast. It was a BIG plate. You can try to share it with another person. Basically, it comes with a choice of Dahlia bakery pastry (in this case, it was a croissant), 2 slices buttered toast, fresh fruit (a mixture of cherries, grapes, blueberries, strawberries, and cantaloupe), coffee, and freshly squeezed juicy (he opted for the orange juice). I tried the fruit and it was pretty sweet and ripe! We took the croissant to go. It was impossible to finish that plate!

I tried the House cured gravlax, It was also a BIG plate. It came with 5 mini-slices of rye ficelle, 2 scoops of chive cream cheese, cherry tomatoes, and capers. I shared this salmon with my husband. It was too much for me. I would prefer only 1 of the cream cheeses and probably 3 slices of bread. Also, there were too many capers. But overall, the salmon was very delicious: buttery, fresh, and salty.

Lola on Urbanspoon

Continental Breakfast

House cured gravlax with rye ficelle, cream cheese, and tomatoes

5. Etta's Seafood by Tom Douglas : What to order --- This restaurant is located at the end of the famous Pike Place Farmers Market. So, it is very popular and most of the time very busy. The interiors are very casual and the food is very home-style. We went there for a lunch and I really liked our table (next to the window, great for people watching).

My husband tried the fish fry. It was True Cod fish (from Kodiak, Alaska) and chips. It was served with green cabbage slaw and tartar sauce. Unfortunately, he doesn't like raw onions and the slaw was full with slices of red onion. So, I ate it, but I didn't like it, because it had too much mayonnaise.

I ordered the famous "Rub w/ love" salmon plate. It was a grilled wild king salmon, served with a side of sauteed greens, cornbread pudding, and shiitake relish. The fish was wonderful, but the corn pudding was super greasy and sweet. I am not a fan of Southern style food, so I didn't enjoy this corn side dish at all. To compensate, I asked for few slices of nice bread and a glass of nice wine: Corfini Cellars Syrah (2009), WA (100 % syrah with a noticeably smoky touch).

For dessert, we got the Bing Cherry Tart. It was VERY SWEET AND BUTTERY. For most people this is fine, but for me, it was too sweet and too heavy. It was served with a big scoop of sweet cicely ice cream and almond crust. The cicely added some anise flavor and it was an interesting use of this herb.

Etta's Seafood on Urbanspoon

True Cod Fish and Chips, green cabbage slaw, tartar sauce

"Rub w/ Love" grilled wild king salmon, sauteed greens, cornbread pudding

Bing Cherry Tart with sweet cicely ice cream and almond

 6. Crush by Jason Wilson : What to order --- This is probably one of the most elegant restaurants in Seattle. It has very modern interior design and the food is really outstanding. We had a romantic Friday night dinner and we were treated very well (server Alysson did a great job!).

The pastry chef bakes very good bread, so we started with a selection of fresh pretzels, garlic and rosemary bread, and cheesy profiterols. In addition, we were served small amouse-bouche: cauliflower soup with a drizzle of truffled oil. Both of us had the same wine: 2006 Enrique Foster, Malbec, Mendoza. It was a nice choice for our main dishes!

My husband ordered the Carlton Farms Suckling Pig. It came on top of asparagus puree, morel mushrooms, english peas, and sauce perigourdine (which is a wine-based French sauce). The plate consisted of three different pork products: sausage, cheek, and tenderloin. My husband really loved the tenderloin. It was pink inside, perfectly cooked, and very tender!

I had the Neah Bay Halibut "Au Poivre Cubebe" (which is a type of peppery spice). It also had morel mushrooms (they were in season), red wine pearl onion, swiss chard, and early summer squash. All the flavors were perfectly married. The only bad thing was that the portion was too small. I would loved to have a bigger portion of the crusted halibut.

To change the pace, this time we got the Carrot Cake for dessert (instead of our usual chocolate product). It was a deconstructed cake, served with many mini-components: carrot jelly, cucumber carrot foam, cream cheese mousse, and carrot chips. We enjoyed the cream cheese mousse, but we found the foam tasteless.

At the end, we were served nice mignardises: peanut butter marshmallows and chocolate truffles. That was a fantastic dinner and experience. I really recommend you to go there for a special occasion celebration. It is out of this world amazing!

Crush on Urbanspoon

Housemade pretzels, garlic & rosemary slices, mini-profiterols

Amuse-bouche: cauliflower soup with truffled oil

Carlton Farms Suckling Pic: asparagus puree, morel mushrooms, peas

Neah Bay Halibut "Au Poivre Cubeb":  morel, swiss chard, summer squash

Refreshing grapefruit and pink peppercorn sorbet

Deconstructed Carrot Cake: carrot jelly, cucumber carrot foam, cream cheese mousse

Peanut marshmallows and truffles

 7. Volterra by Don Curtiss and Michelle Quisenberry : What to order --- Volterra is an Italian restaurant, located in the historic Ballard neighborhood. We went there for a lunch on a sunny Saturday. Our server was very mean and unpolite (his name is Leon). We asked him for a picture and he walked away without taking it. Also, he didn't bring us bread with the drinks. When the food arrived, I asked the other server for warm bread and suddenly Leon came with a basket with toasted breakfast bread slices. He said the other bread was not ready (and it was already 12 pm). Later, I saw that other tables were served nice bread with olive oil. So, if you go there for lunch, please request the nice bread!!!

My husband decided to try the Wild Boar Sausage Benedict. Basically this dish consists of house-made wild boar sausage, toasted savory scone topped with poached eggs and creamed Lacinato Kale. It also came with hash browns (and they were not mentioned in the menu). My husband got the Maritime Pacific IPA beer and he really enjoyed his dish. He liked the wild boad patties: they were like small burger patties.

I wanted something light and vegetarian, so I tried the Roasted Eggplant Pouches. These are house-made organic egg pasta squares filled with roasted eggplant, Ricotta salata cheese, roasted garlic, and basil. They were tossed with a spicy tomato ragu and topped with arugula and Pecorino Pepato. It was really tasty. However, the texture of the pouches was a little bit tough and hard.

For a traditional dessert experience, we ordered the Tiramisu. It was a BIG PORTION of layers of espresso dipped ladyfingers and Marsala flavored Mascarpone custard. The whole thing was topped with chocolate shavings and sauce. It was not my favorite. I think it had too much mascarpone on top and the flavor was very mild. I am used to better Tiramisu!!!

Volterra on Urbanspoon

Wild Boar Sausage Benedict with creamed kale and poached eggs

Roasted Eggplant Pouches with spicy tomato ragu

Tiramisu with Marsala flavored Mascarpone custard

 8. Anchovies and Olives by Ethan Stowell : What to order --- This was my favorite date! We had a Saturday night dinner there and we really had an amazing time. Server Tiana was so knowledgeable and talkative. We started with a soft shell carb served on top of Ajo Blanco, watercress, and grapefruit. Ajo Blanco is a Spanish cold soup, but this one more like a paste. It was delicious! The crab was pan-fried and it had a crispy consistency. The fruit was the perfect complement to the tangy watercress.

I was delighted to try the Yakutat River Sockeye. It was so buttery and soft. Served on top of morels, english peas, and cippolini onions. A drizzle of olive oil and crusty baguette on the side made my dish unbelievable. Also, we ordered a bottle of white wine: Maculan "Pino & Toi", 2010 (60% Tocai, 40% Pinot Bianco). The wine was crispy and refreshing, just perfect for all seafood dishes!

My husband loves calamari, so he go the Conchiglie Neri. This pasta was black (due to the added ink) and it had calamari, over dried tomatoes, serrano chile, oregano, and mint. But let me tell you, it was HOT. My husband can eat a lot of spicy foods, but this one was pretty hot.

For dessert, we selected the Chocolate Tart. I was disappointed, because it was too big, heavy, and sweet. Basically, it was filled with caramel sauce and topped with vanilla ice cream. But the texture of the chocolate was dense. If you are eating alone, don't order it. It is supposed to be shared.

Anchovies & Olives on Urbanspoon

Soft shell crab (watercress, grapefruit, ajo blanco)

Yakutat River Sockeye (morels, english peas, cippolini)

Conchiglie Neri (calamari, oven dried tomato, serrano, mint, oregano)

Chocolate Tart (caramel sauce and toffy bits, vanilla ice cream)

 9. Terra Plata by Tamara Murphy : What to order --- This restaurant is very popular for a Sunday brunch. It is very informal, with tables to share. For me, it was the worst brunch ever. I went there to try the olive oil poached tuna, but it was removed from the menu. THERE WAS NO FISH in the whole menu, only eggs, meats, and veggies. Bad selection. The server (his name isNick V.) did not explain the plates appropriately, he made a mistake when describing my flatbread. My husband got the Water Buffalo Burger. It had oven dried tomato, taleggio, and arugula. It came with few potato chips. The size was perfect, not big, just normal. He paired it with a Kilt Lifter beer.

I ordered the Baked Flatbread. I was expecting a pizza-like crust. This crust was super greasy, almost like fried pie dough. It was topped with 2 poached farm eggs, asparagus, taleggio, and caramelized onions. First of all, the onions were raw. They were not caramelized. I cook all the time and often make caramelized onions. They change their color to brown and their taste is sweet. The Terra Plate ones were white, not good at all. The flatbread was super SALTY, I couldn't eat it, so I gave it to my husband. I didn't feel the flavor of the taleggio. It seems that the asparagus didn't add any more flavor neither. I do not recommend you this dish. HORRIBLE. I drank a glass of Pico Maccario Barbera wine.

The worst thing was that this restaurant doesn't offer desserts. They have only fried churros or three flavors of ice creams. So, we decided to go for a gelato, instead. Also, I was pretty sad and I wanted to leave the place as soon as possible.

Terra Plata on Urbanspoon

Water Buffalo Burger (oven dried tomato, taleggio, arugula)

Baked Flatbread, poached eggs, taleggio, asparagus, onions

 10. Gelato D'Ambrosio by Enzo D'Ambrosio : What to order --- Honestly, this is the best gelato I have ever tried! We tried two flavors: dark chocolate (63% cocoa) and pistachio (imported from Sicily). They made with organic milk and organic cream. Also, they are served in biodegradable cups. If you go to Seattle, you have to try them (we went to the Capitol Hill location, but they also have another location in Ballard).

D'Ambrosio Gelato on Urbanspoon

Pistachio and Dark Chocolate Picolo Gelato

 11. How to cook a wolf by Ethan Stowell : What to order --- This place is similar to "Anchovies & Olives". To start our dinner, we got the Beets. This was a salad, served with roasted beets, bing and rainier cherries, ricotta-mascarpone cheese, and roasted hazelnuts. It was a great idea, but the beets were too salty, not sweet at all. Also, I prefer the combination of beets and goat cheese, instead of the creamy flavorless mascarpone.

My husband tried the Pork Belly. It was good, but very small portion. He expected more things on the plate. It was served only with Roasted Strawberries and Aged Balsamic. Good thing that we asked for bread. Also, he drank Two Beers Wheat Ale.

I got the Striped Bass. It was served with English Pea, Taggiasca Olives, and Pea Tendrils. It was delicious. I removed the salt that was sprinkled on the top, because the dish was already salty enough. I got a glass of 2007 Sella & Mosca Cannonau. We had to wait a long time for our food, so the drinks were free (our server Lauren was great)!

For dessert, we got the Chocolate Terrine (made by the same pastry chef of Anchovies & Olives). This time, I liked it. It was dense, but not too sweet. The peanut butter ice cream was a very nice addition and I skipped the caramel sauce (but my husband loved it). Overall, it is a very nice place to go for a casual dinner.

How To Cook a Wolf on Urbanspoon

Beets, mascarpone-ricotta, cherries, hazelnuts

Pork Belly with Roasted Strawberries and Aged Balsamic

Stripped Bass (english peas, taggiasca olives, pea tendrils)

Chocolate Terrine (peanut butter gelato, caramel sauce, brittle)

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