Archive for the Fine Dining Category

Prima Bistro – Langley

Posted in Fine Dining, French with tags , , , , , , , on November 11, 2011 by belltowngirl

Once in awhile it is nice to get away from Seattle for the weekend to enjoy great food and scenery.  One of my favorite restaurants on South Whidbey Island is Prima Bistro.  It is on a prime spot in the seaside village of Langley with amazing views of the Cascades and the Saratoga Passage.  The restaurant serves French inspired food with local ingredients.  The dinner menu list looks amazing so I have to be sure to try just couple different dishes.   I learned a big lesson when I had twelve dishes in one day when I was in Napa this summer.

Prima Bistro has a good wine selection and suprisingly they have more of a selection of reds from Oregon than locally.  If you are a fan of Pinot Noir like me than definitely try their wines from Willamette Valley.  All their small plate and appetizer dishes looks amazing…. oooh dear.  I decided to try their fritters with mozzarella, blue cheese, and burrata drizzled with garlic peppercorn vinaigrette.  Great textures, rich buttery flavor of the burrata, and the vinaigrette enhanced the flavor quite well.   

blue cheese and burrata filled Fritter - Prima Bistro

blue cheese and burrata filled Fritter - Prima Bistro

Next, the pan fried veal sweetbreads with apricot and thyme gastrique was amazing.  I am a big fan of sweetbreads and I must say that this was the most innovative. Sweetbreads are very rich in itself and has a distinct mineral flavor.  The apricot gastrique was out of this world…it literally tasted like candy.  Gastrique is a sticky thick sauce that consists of reduction of sugar, vinegar, and fruit where in this case the apricot has been caramelized over heat. 

Pan fried veal sweetbreads with apricot gastrique   - Prima Bistro

Pan fried veal sweetbreads with apricot gastrique - Prima Bistro

Lastly, I tried the confit of duck leg on a salad of puy lentils and frisee with a warm bacon vinaigrette….crispy skin, very moist meat, and richness in every bite. 

Confit of Duck Leg - Prima Bistro

Confit of Duck Leg - Prima Bistro

Overall, I immensely enjoyed Prima Bistro for its excellent French fare and knowledgable waitresses who know gourmet food.  The quickest way to get to Langley is to take the Mukilteo/Clinton ferry.  If you like to take the scenic route I highly recommend going 1-5 N and take exit 230 to check out the Deception Pass bridge  among other amazing nature destinations.  Enjoy everyone!

Prima Bistro website:  http://www.primabistro.com/

Address:  201 1/2 First Street Langley, WA 98260

Hours:  Daily 11:30am-9:30pm, Saturdays till 11pm

Contact:  360 221-4060

Advertisements

Art Restaurant and Lounge – Four Seasons Seattle

Posted in Dessert, Fine Dining with tags , , , , , , , on April 2, 2011 by belltowngirl

One of my favorite places for great Pacific Northwest cuisine and signature cocktails is Art Restaurant located at the Four Seasons Hotel.  If you remember Cascadia restaurant, the owner is now the executive chef at the hotel.  Chef Kerry Sear brings a modern and innovative cuisine to the flourishing restaurant scene in Downtown Seattle.  Art is really two restaurants in one – a sophisticated lounge and formal dining room.  The two spaces are separated by a partition of frosted glass, and share dazzling views of the Elliott Bay and the Olympic mountains.  The impressive array of food that I had is meted in fashionable “tasting tray” portions, which you can enjoy with your favorite glass of vino. 

The first tasting tray we had was the Market.  It was a seafood-themed tray with four contrasting dishes.  I had the king crab with lemon strips and it was a perfect accent ingredient of bright and lemony taste to the crab.  It was a great combination as seafood pairs beautifully with preserved lemons.  The yellow eyed snapper with the carrot and cumin relish gave a nice creamy taste to the tender and mild tasting snapper.  I loved the salmon with jalapeno black plum preserves….Great contrasting ingredients of sweet and spiciness.  The pan-seared trout and onion pickle with zinfandel tasted great as well. 

Seafood Tray  - Art Restaurant Four Seasons Hotel Seattle

Seafood Tray - Art Restaurant Four Seasons Hotel Seattle

The second tasting tray was the Chocolate.  It was a dessert-themed tray with four contrasting dishes.  I delved into the molton chocolate cake with blood orange sauce….moist and tasty!  I loved the bittersweet chocolate(64%) caramel tart with fleur de sel sprinkled on top.  A perfect balance of salty and sweet.  The delicate floral notes of of Fleur de Sel draws out the rich smoky tones in the caramel sauce.  I love anything white chocolate and the white chocolate with brandied cherry ice cream was sublime.  Lastly, who doesn’t like milk chocolate almond mousse cake with candied almonds…sinfully smooth and great texture! 

Dessert Tray - Art Restaurant Four Seasons Hotel Seattle

Dessert Tray - Art Restaurant Four Seasons Hotel Seattle

The lounge area is very sleek and modern and best of all it serves great cocktails.  I would say this is one of my favorite chic bars next to W Hotel in downtown seattle that is.  I like their categories on their drink menu from Market Fresh which uses fresh ingredients from Pike Place Market, Carefree for light spring cocktails, reMix which are classics with a twist, and (Con) Artist which does not include alcohol.  Also, just recently they concocted a drink to celebrate Four Seasons 50th anniversary with the Gold 61 cocktail. This one is absolutely sublime.  The cosmopolitan glass had Hennessy vsop, cointreau, douglas fir eau de vie (colorless fruit brandy), douglas fir sorbet, lemon garnished with gold sugar that is dusted on the rim, and an edible 10k gold leaf.  The drink looks golden and adds a nice to touch their golden themed anniversary.  Anyone who likes exotic cocktails such as this should definitely try it.  They also serve breakfast and lunch daily and would be an excellent stopping point to start off your day before heading to the museum or art gallery across the street.  Also, they valet for free for people dining at their establishment.  If you are familiar with the downtown seattle area, Art is across from the SAM Gallery.  Overall, I immensely enjoyed dining at the Art restaurant in the Four Seasons. Enjoy everyone!

Art Restaurant website:  http://www.artrestaurantseattle.com/

Address:  99 Union Street Seattle 98101

Hours:  Breakfast daily 6:30am-11am, Lunch daily 11am-2pm, Dinner daily 5pm-10pm, Lounge daily 11am-midnight

Contact:  206 749-7070

Six Seven at the Edgewater Hotel

Posted in Fine Dining, Seafood, Wine with tags , , , , , , on January 14, 2011 by belltowngirl

One of my favorite restaurants on the waterfront is Six Seven.  It has spectacular views of the puget sound and the olympic mountains and is located on Pier 67.  It features New American appetizers and entrees, specializing in gourmet food with a seafood focus.  I always come here for their seafood especially for their tasty white fish and salmon dishes. 

There were a couple dishes I wanted to try, but the salmon entree always seems to catch my eye.  The Cedar Plank Salmon was spectacular….chanterelle mushrooms, rainbow potatoes, tomato, pancetta, truffle cream, asparagus, and blackberry honey…Yum!  The grilled King Salmon had a rich, smoky flavor especially when combined with truffle cream sauce.  I am a fan of wild mushrooms such as the porcini and morel mushrooms and the chanterelle was a perfect addition with its meaty and nutty flavor.  Perfect timing as wild mushrooms are in season in late fall.  Typically, wine pairing is dependent on the base and bridge ingredients of the dish and since the salmon(base) had chanterelle mushrooms, truffles(bridge) it was a perfect match for a Pinot Noir so we had the 2007 Rochioli Pinot Noir from the Russian River Valley in California.  A terrific fish to match with this wine! 

Cedar Plank King Salmon - Six Seven

Cedar Plank King Salmon - Six Seven

I could not leave without trying the Wild Striped Sea Bass.  The Sea Bass was perfectly immersed with artichoke and leek stew, sauvignon blanc, fines herbs, cipoline onions, tomato confit, and roasted fennel on top to give it that sweet and mild delicious added flavor to the fish.  This one is a winner!!  The Sea Bass was pan roasted perfectly which gives the skin that nice crackle and that is how it should be cooked. 

Wild Striped Sea Bass - Six Seven

Wild Striped Sea Bass - Six Seven

Lastly, it could not hurt to try one dessert for the night as all the previous dishes were light, but very tasty.  I had to try the pumpkin with pistachio crusted cheescake….Yum!!  If you try this dont forget to eat slice with the gingerbread pureed sauce that is drizzled on the dish!  

Pumpkin with Pistachio crusted Cheesecake - Six Seven

Pumpkin with Pistachio crusted Cheesecake - Six Seven

Six Seven restaurant also has a chic lounge with a fireplace that gives it a warm and cozy feeling.  Be sure to check out the lounge on Fridays and Saturdays as the have terrific bands playing rhythm and blues to jazz music.   If you like great drinks with tonic water be sure to try their vodka tonic because their tonic is homemade.  The chief ingredient in tonic is called Quinine.  It is derived from a tree bark in the Amazon basin and is supposed to have medicinal properties.  The major plus is that the bar uses Quinine powder in its “pure form” as opposed to it being dilluted into a high fructose corn syrup such as the likes of Schweppes and Canada Dry.  I have been a recent fan of 100% pure Quinine powder in tonic water as it has less of that sugary, syrupy taste and more of a slightly bitter, but very tasty ingredient in tonic water.  I would recommend reserving a booth for dinner as you have excellent views facing the waterfront.  The customer service is always top notch all the times that I have dined there.  Six Seven is a great restaurant with tasty seafood dishes and an excellent wine list.  The ambiance is also perfect to take your special loved one for a romantic dinner as well ;)  Enjoy everyone!

Six Seven restaurant website:  http://www.edgewaterhotel.com/edgewater_dining.aspx

Address:  2411 Alaskan Way, Pier 67 Seattle, WA  98121

Hours:  Dinner Sun-Thurs 5:30-9pm, Fri-Sat 5:30-10pm

Contact:  1 800 624-0670

Barolo – Downtown Seattle

Posted in Fine Dining, Italian, Wine with tags , , , , , , , , , , on July 30, 2010 by belltowngirl

I’ve been meaning try this Italian restaurant right below the Metropolitan Tower bordering Belltown and I am soo glad I finally did.  When you walk inside Barolo Ristorante, it has a sleek and seductive look with large Italian glass chandeliers and flickering melted wax candles that adorns this place.  Barolo has a large list of over 300 wines ranging from Barbaresco to Barolo Italian reds and a good selection of domestic reds.  I decided on the Allegrini La Grola red wine and it was an excellent choice by the staff.  A great full bodied and fruity wine to compliment my pasta dishes coming ahead.  As for the appetizers I tend try a couple, but with heavy pasta dishes coming up I limited it to either Foie Gras or Carpaccio.  I love Foie Gras so go figure!  I probably said this before, but I am so glad I don’t live in California or Chicago.   The Fegato Grasso e Fagioli $16 (Foie Gras with cannellini beans, thyme, and candied wild black cherries) was delectable.  Typically, foie gras is paired with fruit and the cherries added a nice tart and slightly fruity taste. The foie gras was seared perfectly…lightly crispt on the outside.

Foie Gras with cannellini beans, candied wild black cherries - Barolo

Foie Gras with cannellini beans, candied wild black cherries - Barolo

Now for the pasta dishes, the truffle-leek sauce ingredient caught my eye so I tried the Tortelloni alla Piemontese  $19 (Fresh homemade pasta filled with porcini mushrooms with truffle-leek sauce)….My FAVorite!  Excellent aroma and a great earthy taste!

Fresh homemade pasta, porcini mushrooms, truffle-leek sauce - Barolo

Fresh homemade pasta, porcini mushrooms, truffle-leek sauce - Barolo

Lastly, I tried the Gnocchi in Tegamino con Mozzarella Fresca $16 (House-made Gnocchi with fresh mozzarella, fresh tomato sauce, and Copper River Salmon)…the texture of the gnocchi was soo tender, smooth, and full of flavor.

Housemade Gnocchi, Copper River king salmon - Barolo

Housemade Gnocchi, Copper River king salmon - Barolo

Barolo - Westlake

Barolo - Westlake

I will definitely be back to try their other dishes especially their baby Octopus, wine reduction, and garbanzo beans…and the Tuna Tartare, ginger glaze with organic copper mountain honey, and french sea salt!  I highly recommend reserving a booth for dinner as the seats are very cozy and spacious.  Overall, I highly recommend Barolo for a perfect ambiance and great homemade organic pasta dishes!

Barolo Ristorante website:  http://www.baroloseattle.com/

Address: 1940 Westlake Avenue Seattle, WA  98101 (Below the Metropolitan Towers)

Hours:  Lunch Mon-Fri 11:30am-3pm, Dinner Sun-Thurs 4:30pm-10:30pm, Fri-Sat 4:30pm-11pm, Happy Hour Everyday 3-6pm and again on 10pm-midnite

Contact:  206 770-9000

Seastar – South Lake Union

Posted in Fine Dining, Seafood, Wine with tags , , , , , , , , , on May 26, 2010 by belltowngirl

One of my FAVorite seafood restaurants over the bridge has finally opened another in South Lake Union….Seastar!  I have been a major fan of Seastar in Bellevue for many years and I am very excited that they settled with South Lake Union.  The menu is almost exactly the same as the one in Bellevue.  The only slight difference is the raw bar has a lot more selections!  The raw bar has a great range of “raw” food so to speak…..oysters, ceviche, and sushi served maki style. 

I was invited to a family celebration and I was so excited that I wanted to order all my fav dishes, but alas I wanted to save my appetite for my ultimate FAVorite entree that only comes 2 months out of the year ;)  I decided to try my usual favorite, the Sesame-Peppercorn Crusted Ahi($14.5)….crusted with white and black sesame seeds and black peppcorns that is seared rare, served on top is daikon-carrot salad with ginger-soy reduction and wasabi cream.  Loved the textures and the suttle spices on the Ahi. 

Sesame-Peppercorn Crusted Ahi - Seastar South Lake Union

Sesame-Peppercorn Crusted Ahi - Seastar South Lake Union

For dinner I never had steak before at Seastar hence seafood restaurant so I decided to try the USDA Prime Top Sirloin($29) that was grilled a perfect juicy medium rare…my favorite…with herb roasted red potatoes, grilled red onion, garlic portabella mushroom, and Maytag blue cheese….Yum!  I complimented my steak with a bottle of 2000 Henri Bonneau Chateauneuf du Pape Reserve des Celestins wine($525) from the Southern Rhone Valley of France.  Henri Bonneau’s wines consist of a Rhone blend of at least 90% Grenache and the rest Mourvedre, Counoise, and Vaccarese.  A phenomenal wine!
 USDA Prime Top Sirloin - Seastar South Lake Union

USDA Prime Top Sirloin - Seastar South Lake Union

Henri Bonneau Réserve des Célestins, Châteauneuf du Pape, 2000 - Seastar

Henri Bonneau Réserve des Célestins, Châteauneuf du Pape, 2000 - Seastar

Lastly, my all time FAVorite entree that I saved the best for last is the Applewood Grilled Copper River King Salmon(market price)….it is grilled over Applewood with butter, vermouth, and lemon and served with truffle-tomatoes and rosemary fingerling potatoes.  It was excellent…as always! I loved the hint of fruity and mild flavors of the apple with the salmon.  They also have the salmon roasted over Cedar plank which I had in the past.  A very subtle and smoky flavor, but I love a mild and fruity flavor to my salmon and grilling over Applewood was the best!  Also, one key thing to remember is that Copper River salmon is only available May to June.  Of course every Seattleite like me knows this so I definitely came to Seastar just in time…

Applewood Grilled Copper River King Salmon - Seastar South Lake Union

Applewood Grilled Copper River King Salmon - Seastar South Lake Union

Seastar will most definitely be a great addition to South Lake Union.  In terms of parking it is free at lunch with validation and $2 during dinner.  Seastar is quite easy to find as it is located right above Whole Foods and right next to Pan Pacific Hotel in South Lake Union.  Overall, I immensely enjoyed the Applewood Copper River King salmon, excellent Chateauneuf du Pape wine, and always the best customer service at Seastar…always!

Seastar restaurant and Raw bar website:  http://www.seastarrestaurant.com/seattle.php?page=Home

Address:  2121 Terry Ave, Suite 108 Seattle, WA  98121 (South Lake Union)

Hours:  Mon-Fri 11:30am-2:30pm (Lunch), Mon-Sat 5pm-10pm, Sun 5pm-9pm (Dinner), Mon-Fri 4-6pm, Sun 5-10pm (Happy Hour)

Contact:  206 462-4364

Branzino

Posted in Fine Dining with tags , , , , , , , on April 20, 2010 by belltowngirl

One of my favorite places that I’ve been meaning to write is a restaurant called Branzino.  The menu is of northwest seafood and Italian influences.  It’s located in the central part of Belltown, but on the quiet side of 2nd Ave and Wall St.  What I love most is not just the food, but the relaxed interior of dark wood booths and dim lights that makes for a great ambient and enjoyable night.  Whenever I have dinner here I can actually here what my friends are telling me so the noise factor is not something to worry about.  I definitely think the wooden booths may have been the key factor.  If you have ever been to Queen City Grill it has a certain resemblance which makes sense as the owner, Peter Lamb also owned Queen City. 

For this particular night I wanted to try one of their dishes that the waitress recommended.  I ordered a medium rare ribeye with figs and cipollini onions, unique seasonings and it was super tender, savory, and cooked perfectly! 

Ribeye dish - Branzino

Ribeye dish - Branzino

I was debating between the duck confit or the octopus …both sounds great but I love duck.  This was an amazing dish….duck confit with roasted parsnips, pear, and farro risotto($23).  The duck was grilled, well browned, and perfectly crisp.  Typically, the duck confit dishes are accompanied with fruit and the pear was the perfect enhancement.  Next on my list I would like to try is the octopus on puttanesca sauce and the Gnocci rabbit confit with chard and wild mushrooms.

Duck confit dish - Branzino

Duck confit dish - Branzino

Lastly, I had one of my FAVorite desserts here…..you have to try the Cannoli with Marcola almond, cocoa nib, and salted caramel($8).  The salted caramel I think is what drives this tasty dessert…The is the best Cannoli I have tried in Seattle and it’s undescribably that good!!  I haven’t veered away from the Cannoli yet, but I should….

Cannoli - Branzino

Cannoli - Branzino

I definitely like to try the Valrhona chocolate layer cake with house-made vanilla bean gelato or the Beignets with black pepper creme anglaise and sour cherry jam.  I’ve always seen Beignets on tv and have been meaning to try the deep fried dough pastry with fruit filling…Yum!  Overall, I always enjoy Branzino for great tasting dishes, succulent desserts, and a nice ambience!

Branzino website:  http://www.branzinoseattle.com/index.html

Address:  2429 2nd Ave Seattle WA  98121 (Cross St is Wall St)

Hours:  Mon 5pm-10pm, Tues-Thurs 5pm-11pm, Fri-Sat 5pm-12am, and

Sunday 4pm-10pm

Contact:  206 728-5181

Mistral Kitchen – South Lake Union

Posted in Fine Dining with tags , , , , , , , , on February 28, 2010 by belltowngirl

Ever since my favorite multi-course restaurant Mistral in Belltown closed, I have been awaiting for the owner’s new restaurant to be opened in South Lake Union.  I am so happy that it has finally opened in December ’09.  Mistral Kitchen is much more different than his older restaurant in terms of space, design, and technicalities.  When you step inside it is much more massive with an industrial-like interior of brushed chrome and steel, soft brown leather seats, and natural wood.  At William Belickis’s old restaurant Mistral, it was smaller, intimate, 4-6 multi-course meals, and “one table per night reservations.”  I will say I am quite impressed with his new restaurant Mistral Kitchen located in South Lake Union.  On the main floor is two dining floors: a casual dining area that serves a la carte and a fine dining room called the Jewel Box that serves only 4-8 course meals.  There is also a large bar area and lounge in the back.  Their casual dining area is open daily while the fine dining room is open daily except Sunday and Monday.  I decided to try a couple dishes from the a la carte menu.  It was rainy and cold out and wanted to try something warm first.  I had the Butternut Squash soup with Black Trumpet Mushrooms and Basil Oil….the soup was very tasty and not too rich.

Butternut Squash Soup - Mistral Kitchen

Butternut Squash Soup - Mistral Kitchen

I always have room for cheese platters because for one thing you don’t get too full and you can try a variety of different cheeses along with some great wine!  On the cheese platter were mostly cheeses from France with semi soft and hard textures.  The Persille du Beaujolais which is a blue cheese was creamy soft with intense flavor.  The word Persille in French means “parsley” and refers to the blue-green veins in the blue cheese.  The cheese from Cellars in Vermont was a nutty, rich, and mildly sweet finish.  I also had the Bethmale cheese which is a traditional farmhouse cheese from the Pyrenees region of France.  It was tangy and tasty, but like some aged cheeses don’t smell this one…extremely pungent.  Lastly, I had a firm cheese from the Cantal region of France.  It had a rich and sharp flavor.  It is one of the oldest in France…even older than Livarot and well known Roquefort.  All were great, but this was my most favorite. 

Cheese Platter - Mistral Kitchen

Cheese Platter - Mistral Kitchen

What I like most about Mistral Kitchen is that there menu changes daily.  I can understand there are some people like me that routinely orders that most sublime dessert from Tango…the “El Diablo”…but at Mistral Kitchen their desserts are just as unique and sublime as well.  They have a great dessert list and two caught my eye.  Anything with the word “mascarpone” in it I have to order.  The Mascarpone mousse was smooth and very tasty with multiple flavors and textures.  It had mousse on top with coffee granita and chocolate crumbles in the middle, and banana caramel on the bottom…Sublime!  I have a weakness for anything cream puff-related and I had their Cream puff filled with chocolate mousse, banana ice cream, and chocolate sauce – Very tasty! 

Mascarpone Mousse - Mistral Kitchen

Mascarpone Mousse - Mistral Kitchen

Chocolate Mousse Cream Puff - Mistral Kitchen

Chocolate Mousse Cream Puff - Mistral Kitchen

I looked at their cocktail menu, but haven’t had the chance to try any of it and heard that that the bar manager mixes up some exotic and tasty drinks.  I will definitely try their most ordered cocktail called the Bitter Handshake…it has Fernet Franca, Rye Whiskey simple syrup, and heavy orange zest!  The Bee’s Knees cocktail sounds pretty complex and interesting.  It has old tom gin, lavender honey syrup, egg white, lemon juice, and angostura bitters….i know…strange, egg white and lavender.  Well, it doesn’t hurt to try it once…If you are curious about the guy that manages the bar, he has his own blog on the cocktails that he makes at Mistral Kitchen among others.  Mistral Kitchen is located in South Lake Union and can be hard to find if you are driving….I will say that it is within a 2 block radius of Whole Foods on Denny Way.  Overall, I immensely enjoyed the food and excellent customer service at Mistral Kitchen.  This restaurant will be a great enhancement to South Lake Union and I look forward to many more exciting dishes to come!

Mistral Kitchen - South Lake Union

Mistral Kitchen - South Lake Union

Mistral Kitchen website:  http://www.mistral-kitchen.com/

Bar Manager’s  Blog on Cocktails:  http://caskstrength.wordpress.com/

Address:  2020 Westlake Ave Seattle, WA  98121

Hours:  Dinner is Sunday-Thursday 5pm -10pm, Fri-Sat 5pm-12am

Contact:  206 623-1922