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Veil (thin)


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The other night I had the pleasure of doing a restaurant hop with some good friends. Stopped by a few places including Volterra, Crush and Veil. Volterra was great and Crush is mighty good (maybe my favorite place in Seattle) and then we got to Veil. I was so excited to eat and drink there. When we arrived it was fairly busy. We ordered a slew of Apps and Drinks and I have to say with much dissapointment that I really felt it was not that great. The drinks were like rocket fuel and had no balance and the apps were mediocre if not downright awful. I like experimental cuisine and such but many of the flavors did not meld. The foie gras which I had heard a lot about was sold out (how can you sell out of your big dish on a Friday). The atmosphere is so sterile and the plates were from (I blush) crate and barrel (I looked). Overall I hope it gets better because otherwise it will be devoured by the hype monster. Made me kind of sad.

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I can't disagree more. You can't judge a place by what they serve at the bar. Their bar menu is much different than the dinner menu. Although there are some great things on the bar menu as well (did you try the lamb burgers?!) I've had some wonderful Champagne cocktails at Veil, one with a pear puree and one with lavendar honey. The dinners I've had were very interesting and tasty. (See my writeup in the Farwell and Welcome section.) I did notice that the stemware is all Reidel, and the plates I was served my dinner on were definitely not from C&B!

Anyway, all I'm saying is to go in for dinner. The restaurant portion of the place is a much different experience than the lounge.

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Actually we ordered right off the regular menu and I wanted to love the place. I had huge expectations and the plates were absolutely from CB because I picked it up and looked on the bottom. It just was not me at the table who felt it was very poor. This was a four top of chefs who all have over 20 years experience. Maybe sometimes they are fantastic but on this Friday it was not and as a chef and restaurant owner I know that consistency is the key. Hopefully it will be 100% all the time but there are so many other amazing venues that really stand above veil at this point. Again I went there to love it and walked out scratching my head in disbelief. If 90% of the appetizers are mediocre then why would I want to risk it by ordering entrees. It has to be all around because otherwise it is not worth it. Sorry for the disappointing critique but that is how I felt. At this point I cannot jump on the veil bandwagon. I wish them luck in getting it to that point of supreme consistency and quality.

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The atmosphere is so sterile
This is what makes me sad. They took that lovely old building and made it a sterile modern nightmare. I need to check out the food here, seems there's wild inconsistencies, as least in the opinions!

Born Free, Now Expensive

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I didn't mind the atmosphere, at least in the lounge when it was filled with people. It's true, the style they went for doesn't really fit the building (and seems a little strange for a place that's not downtown), but once I was inside I felt like it worked. If they had gone for a darker, more lofty exposed brick style that might have fit the building a little better, the place would have been too much like Crow, just 2 blocks away.

My main problem with the place is that it's too freaking expensive. Again, this is in a neighborhood... NOT downtown.

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I went yesterday and thought it was very good. Amost everything on the menu was tempting although I'm not sure when I've seen a menu with so many words that I didn't understand. (The service was excellent and I'm sure our servers would have explained any of the terms, but the mystery words were mostly adjectives that didn't affect my decision.) Trendy ingredients, tall presentation. The food and atmosphere seemed very similar to Crush although the menu was shorter and perhaps slightly less ambitious and the place wasn't as crowded (although the snow may have scared some people away) nor the average guest as beautiful (I say this kiddingly as we were well below average in this respect).

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i had a few bites there tonight. i like the look of it. it's white, but it's a warm white. we had a bunch of appetizers and they were great. one of our plates was from crate and barrel, one of my friend's was a villeroy and bosch (sp?). the server caught us & noted that they have a mix of stuff. i noticed another diner peeking under her plate, too.

the desserts were good, too. we shared some wine and had some champagne cocktails. the few sips i got were really good. there was a peach cocktail that was great.

i can't wait to come back and have a REAL dinner there.

Edited by cupcakequeen (log)
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Word on the street is they call their desserts "Conclusions." That alone is enough to induce upchucking.

Maybe better than "Happy Endings"!

Although "Happy Endings" has a few additional, er...positive connotations. :laugh:

Sacred cows make the best hamburger.

- Mark Twain, 1835 - 1910

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I popped in tonight with LMF and another friend and we all had one of the 3 listed Champagne cocktails. I have to say they were yummy. Our friend had the goat cheese salad and while I didn't eat any it looked good - she liked it just fine!

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Our friend had the goat cheese salad and while I didn't eat any it looked good - she liked it just fine!

There are myriad goat cheese salads in town that I "like just fine." Isn't Veil shooting for something higher than that? If not, then I definitely don't need to spend the time and money....

Most women don't seem to know how much flour to use so it gets so thick you have to chop it off the plate with a knife and it tastes like wallpaper paste....Just why cream sauce is bitched up so often is an all-time mytery to me, because it's so easy to make and can be used as the basis for such a variety of really delicious food.

- Victor Bergeron, Trader Vic's Book of Food & Drink, 1946

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Our friend had the goat cheese salad and while I didn't eat any it looked good - she liked it just fine!

There are myriad goat cheese salads in town that I "like just fine." Isn't Veil shooting for something higher than that? If not, then I definitely don't need to spend the time and money....

The goat cheese salad is, agreeably, the most pedestrian item on a very interesting menu. Although the pickled grapes differentiate the Veil version.

They are absolutely shooting higher and, in my opinion, succeeding. Some if the items I had at a meal last Friday night included:

1. Yellow foot mushroom soup with matsutakes, beef cheek ravioli, and black truffles. Very creamy, hearty, and rich, and a beautiful saffron like color (although I'm not sure there was saffron in the soup.) A perfect winter dish.

2. Roast squab with foie gras (I forgot the sauce, but it was yummy.)

3. Venison loin with spaetzel and red cabbage kraut. Great combination, I loved the contrast in textures of the three items.

4. Salted peanut butter ice cream. This is one of the best desserts in Seattle right now.

Some dishes I tried from my dining companions included:

1. Citrus cured salmon with meyer lemon segments

2. Very creamy risotto (just like the wonderful risotto the chef used to do at 727) with mascarpone cheese.

3. Valencia orange and blood orange sorbets with some kind of cake I don't quite remeber.

Edited by hhlodesign (log)
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I went to Veil for cocktails shortly after they opened. While I was there, I made a comment to one of the staff members (a friendly comment, I promise!) about them not having much for us vegetarians. His response was that they’d be thrilled to do a vegetarian meal for me, and to call ahead so they can make arrangements. I decided to take them up on the offer, so last night a bunch of us (14) went to Veil for a vegetarian tasting menu to celebrate my birthday. To all of you vegetarians out there (and to the rest of you brave enough to try a meal without meat), take them up on this offer.

They did five courses for $50 with wine pairings for $35 more. It really was spectacular. Perhaps the best comment all night came from a die-hard carnivore: “If this was what vegetarian dining was always like, I’d happily give up meat and never look back.” Two dishes really stood out (and neither, I’m afraid, are available on their regular menu): First was a white asparagus salad with matsutake and wild pine nut dressing. The combination of the matsutake and the white asparagus created a contrast that seemed to bring both flavors into clearer focus. The second was a celery root soup served around a brussel sprout salad. Definitely one of the top three soups I’ve ever had (alongside the Herb Farm’s corn soup and the Dining Room at the Chicago Ritz Carleton’s heirloom squash soup).

I can’t comment on the normal menu, but based on my experience last night, Veil definitely has the culinary chops to put it alongside Seattle’s best.

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  • 1 month later...
see saw review in the Seattle Times today

That was last Friday.

Well than I am a bit behind in my reading!

Went in tonight and had a loin of venison with polenta cake and mole sauce. Excellent contrast of textures and flavors. I can see how some may feel "the foie gras" as too rich and muddled by the peanut butter. But I find it a great take on the traditional pan seared with some kind of fruity sauce preparation which can be found in most any restaurant. I agree with Nancy that the amuse is always 4 star worthy and the salted peanut butter ice cream is fantastic!

Funny how consistent they are considering what I've been reading. I've never had anything but great food and excellent service. I wouldn't let faint cries of inconsistencies deter you from trying one of the best restaurants in the city.

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  • 2 months later...

I had a very good meal at Veil last week, in preparation for dinner at the French Laundry. Chef Shannon Galusha worked in the FL kitchen a few years ago, so my date suggested Veil as an apt precursor to our trip. :smile:

At the bar, I had a cocktail that contained one of my favourite liquors, Chartreuse. That's not something I see often (if ever) on the bar menus in Vancouver, so I was happy to find it!

My date asked Shannon to prepare a tasting menu for us, and this is what the kitchen came up with:

tuna tartare

tartareatveil.jpg

We were drinking bubbly with our meal, which went great with the...

soft-centered egg, caviar (with potatoes, creme fraiche, and smoked salmon underneath)

-high-end, deconstructed potato salad! The runny yolk tied everything together. The caviar provided the salty element against the sweet flavour of the potatoes.

eggatveil.jpg

I believe this is white salmon, peas and carrots

(I apologize for the lack of details...I've been dining out a lot lately and should've been taking notes!)

-pea puree underneath the fish, pea sprouts on top

fishveil.jpg

trout, shaved asparagus, mushroom

This had shaved asparagus and I'm also forgetting the mushroom, but the earthy flavours were wonderful with the relatively rich-tasting fish. This was one of my favourite dishes of the night. I think they do an excellent job with the fish prep at Veil--we had three fish dishes, and the skin on all three were perfectly crisp, with the flesh being still moist enough to have a bit of resistance. (flaky=overdone=bad, in my book.)

whitesalmonveil.jpg

mackerel, chorizo, potatoes

This was another really great fish dish--I love the strong oiliness of mackerel, and it went beautifully with the spicy chorizo and the roast potatoes. (I did notice how the fish dishes progressed from being rather subtly flavoured, to this dish. Very thoughtful on the chef's part. :smile: )

anotherfishveil.jpg

foie gras torchon, brioche

(I loved the presentation of this dish. I noticed a few of the dishes we ate at Veil possibly harkened back to the chef's training at FL, with the various dusts on the plates, and the plating of the venison dish...but I'm getting ahead of myself.)

-torchon is my favourite way to eat foie gras, and the consistency of this foie was very good. I noted that the brioche was a little dry, but the chef mentioned that at the end of our meal, so he was certainly aware of it and I'm sure that is already fixed.

torchonveil.jpg

Venison, cheese polenta

I love the off-center presentation of this dish, as it shows movement and the diner can better appreciate the food as a piece of art before tasting it. My date thought the venison was cooked perfectly (medium-rare), but I prefer my meat rare, especially for something as lean as venison.

venisonveil.jpg

desserts!

sorbet, shortcake

shortcake.jpg

carrot cake

(It looks like a lot of cream cheese, but the topping was actually mousse-like so it was not too heavy at all. Delicious!)

carrotcakeveil.jpg

salted peanut butter ice-cream

Lives up to the hype. This was my favourite of the three. Very creamy, and the saltiness balances the sweet.

peanutbuttericecream.jpg

I thoroughly enjoyed my meal at Veil. :wub:

Edited by Ling (log)
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On your next trip you'll have to have cocktails at Zig Zag, on the Pike Place Market hillclimb. They have a quite a few house special drinks made with chartreuse (I want to say about half the drink menu is chartreuse cocktails, but since I don't like it, my memory of this may be exaggerated) .

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Monday night at Crow the guy sitting next to me at the bar ordered chartreuse on the rocks and a Budweiser. They don't have Budweiser there, but my what a combination!

My favorite cocktail at Veil is the Devil's Bouquet...

Edited by dandelion (log)
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