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Seattle Restaurants


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My wife and I will be visiting Seattle this weekend. Have climbed through the posts and am overwhelmed by the choices. Had first thought of Canlis and the Herbfarm, but most of what I have read is mixed. Union seems to get consistent positive responses. Also, Campagne, Chez Shea or Daniel's Broiler sound interesting. Is there any place new that we should try, like Tilth?

Thanks for your help.

"As far as I'm concerned, bacon comes from a magical, happy place" Frank, John Doe

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Tilth & Lark come to mind (both former chefs at Earth & Ocean).

Union was excellent the last 2 times we went, but we found it very similar to places we like in San Francisco - it may be original for Seattle, but you may have already had the same elegant small-plates-with-excellent-wine-pairings before.

Also, if you're in for a little culinary adventure, try elemental@gasworks. Be sure to read up on their peculiar seating policies, but if you can get a table, it's well worth the thrill ride.

My wife and I will be visiting Seattle this weekend. Have climbed through the posts and am overwhelmed by the choices.  Had first thought of Canlis and the Herbfarm, but most of what I have read is mixed.  Union seems to get consistent positive responses.  Also, Campagne, Chez Shea or Daniel's Broiler sound interesting.  Is there any place new that we should try, like Tilth?

Thanks for your help.

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My wife and I will be visiting Seattle this weekend. Have climbed through the posts and am overwhelmed by the choices.  Had first thought of Canlis and the Herbfarm, but most of what I have read is mixed.  Union seems to get consistent positive responses.  Also, Campagne, Chez Shea or Daniel's Broiler sound interesting.  Is there any place new that we should try, like Tilth?

Thanks for your help.

Let me put in a vote for the Herbfarm *IF* you are really into locally produced food, heavy on the creative use of herbs, with a splash of kitschy dinner theater. I've been there a few times and every time I leave with fresh inspiration for my own cooking that sticks me for many, many months...maybe years.

Do you have an herb garden? Do you eschew dried herbs as a category? Can you identify fresh sweet bay v. dried? If you answered yes to all three, I'd go. Ask for a table close to the kitchen so you can watch the dance of the sous chefs, go early for the scratch and sniff garden tour, and make sure you get a tour of the special wine cellar with 'corkscrew man.'

OTOH, if the thought of four hours that opens with the senior staff giving the provenance of each ingredient/wine and has your waitperson describing each dish in detail makes you want to scream, stay away.

As someone who lives in the area and has a huge herb garden, I love the place. Others, with other focuses in their culinary pursuits, are less enamored.

I grabbed a menu from one of the meals I had there, around this time of year. Here's a sample:

Dungeness Crab Matsutake Flan w/Fennel, Cucumber, Lemon Basil and Borage salad--absolutely silken flan that tasted like crab but a little earthier...

Braised Columbia River Sturgeon with Manila clams, apple, leeks and lovage--we have added this to our regular list of things to make at home...

Bay scented butternut squash ravioli with chantrelle, prune and sage fritters and thyme glazed shallots--i make parts and variations of this a lot...

Quail, Red carrot, salsify, and Chard Pastilla w/wild huckleberry sage sauce...

Hope that helps.

(edited to fix formatting)

Edited by kitchenmage (log)
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Let me put in a vote for the Herbfarm *IF* you are really into locally produced food, heavy on the creative use of herbs, with a splash of kitschy dinner theater.

My wife has a small herb garden in our back yard. Rosemary, several different thymes and basis, lemongrass. She loves to cook and has told me we have to go.

Since the Herbfarm is in the Woodinville area, is it reasonable to visit the wineries during the day before dinner that night? If so, any suggestions of places to visit?

Thanks for y'all's prompt responses.

Edited by LDLee (log)

"As far as I'm concerned, bacon comes from a magical, happy place" Frank, John Doe

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If nothing else try the bar menu at Union served from 5-7 and from 10-12, it's a nice way to fit in a snack and try one more place. Canlis and Daniel's have nothing you can't get anywhere else in the country, they both have good execution but have nothing special about them. I would suggest Union, Boat St Cafe, Sitka and Spruce, Veil, Shiro's, Saito's, Lark, and Le Pichet.

Rocky

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Thanks for y'all's prompt responses.

You'll have Chateau Ste. Michelle across the street and Columbia 2 doors down on the other side of The Red Hook Brewery (which is also a great tasting experience). However, I would caution to save some of your tolerance for the Herbfarm itself - the pairings are pretty extensive. You could help yourself by booking a room at the Willows Lodge, which shares the property with The Herbfarm. The rooms are very nice, and I believe they may have some sort of dinner & room package.

Enjoy your visit!

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Thaks for all the help. Here is our schedule:

Thursday - Wild Ginger

Friday - Union

Saturday - Chez Shea

Sunday - Herbfarm

Will definitely focus on light lunches during the day and working out extra hard, when we get back. :shock:

Lindsey

"As far as I'm concerned, bacon comes from a magical, happy place" Frank, John Doe

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Welcome to Seattle, LDLee. Do post about your experiences once you are back.

I personally would switch out Wild Ginger and Chez Shea, but they, that's me.

I think I'd put Lark and Le Pichet into those slots :-)

Herb Farm has a format that many, MANY people have complained about on this board. However, I'll bet you will NOT be disappointed in the food. At least, I never have been. I've had dishes there that still live in my memory...

Born Free, Now Expensive

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Welcome to Seattle, LDLee. Do post about your experiences once you are back.

I personally would switch out Wild Ginger and Chez Shea, but they, that's me.

I think I'd put Lark and Le Pichet into those slots :-)

Herb Farm has a format that many, MANY people have complained about on this board. However, I'll bet you will NOT be disappointed in the food. At least, I never have been. I've had dishes there that still live in my memory...

I second the idea of dropping Wild Ginger. If you want great, authentic Asian food, Tamarind Tree or Green Leaf (both Vietnamese) are much better and way cheaper.

I would trade Chez Shea for the next-door neighbor, Matt's in the Market, in a hearbeat.

The Herbfarm experience is fine for first-timers, it's hearing the same thing over and over on repeated visits that really grates. The food is generally excellent.

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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You could also consider Rocking Wok for your Asian meal. I do love their thousand-layer pancake! :wub: (I love the banh xeo at Green Leaf and would definitely recommend it if you decide to go there!)

If you don't have lunch plans already, I'd head to Porcella in Bellevue and get their charcuterie platter.

You didn't mention breakfast...but I would head either to Cafe Besalu for their danishes, or to Belle's Buns in Pike Place market for one of their lovely brioche.

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What a wonderful city. My wife and I had a great time in Seattle. We really liked the city’s atmosphere. There is a little slacker town element (kind of like Austin), which is not a bad thing -- my wife is from Austin and I went to college there.

The restaurants were amazing. What surprised me was the number of residents who did not think so, mainly because they were trying to compare Seattle to San Francisco. As a middle market city, the proportion of interesting restaurants to population is fantastic.

As previously posted, we had reservations at four restaurants -- Wild Ginger, Union, Chez Shea, and The Herbfarm. The following are some brief comments.

Wild Ginger: The satays we ate as appetizers were mediocre, at best. However, I loved our entrees – Barbecued Shrimp and Mongolian Noodles. The wine guy did an excellent job of matching wines with the food. People we talked to said the restaurant was better when it was in its original, smaller location.

Union: Amazing food. Interesting, nontraditional wine and food pairings. However, this trend of creating menus with vegetables no one has ever heard of is getting old.

Chez Shea: Enjoyable meal. The tasting menu was excellent, although way too much food. Crab tart, Squash bisque and Rack of lamb were our favorites. The foie gras was slightly underseared. One question – How is Chez Shea the “most romantic restaurant in Seattle”? A view of the roof of the Pike’s Market is not that appetizing.

The Herbfarm: Yes, a little pretentious and old school. The space is very foofy. But the meal was excellent, and the service impeccable. It was a great way to end a day of visiting the Woodinville wine country. As previous posters have said, good place to go once.

Wine Country notes

Columbia was interesting and the people were nice. Chateu Ste. Michele., the grounds are beuatiful, the people clueless. Don't do the tour. Bruce at Columbia recommended a visit to Brian Carter. He was right. Loved their wines. Staff were knowledgeable. Ken at Brian Carter recommended Matthews Cellars. Another excellnet choice. We also visited Facelli, probably the best value, and Woodhouse, okay, not great.

I want to put a plug in for our favorite place, Purple Café and Wine Bar (the Seattle location). We stopped by after Wild Ginger for a nightcap. So many wine choices, so little time. The cheese selections were very broad. We liked it so much, we returned on Friday and Saturday. Saturday afternoon, we dropped by for a late lunch. We had gone to Mt. Rainier for the day. We ordered five cheeses with matching wine. We assumed the servings would be small since the price was $3 per serving. Boy, were we wrong. All the cheeses were fantastic. Our two favorites were the Drunken Goat and the Bermuda Triangle. They did an excellent job of matching wines with each cheese.

Any way, thank you for all your help. We definitely want to come back.

"As far as I'm concerned, bacon comes from a magical, happy place" Frank, John Doe

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Why ask for advice if you are not going to take it?

Every poster since you put up your itinerary tried to steer you clear of Wild Ginger, yet you still felt compelled to go. Just seems curious to me.

Because the reservations had already been made and We had already left for Seattle before people started directing us not to go.

Edited by LDLee (log)

"As far as I'm concerned, bacon comes from a magical, happy place" Frank, John Doe

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Your experience at Purple was vastly different than mine, despite having nearly the same items. The service was so slow and the staff's knowledge of the wines was so slim that I decided not to go back - despite the fact that it's only one block from my office. Maybe I should give them another chance.

Your description of the Herbfarm's decor as foofy is perfect! That's exactly how I felt when I was there.

I'm curious about your vegetable comment, which vegetables that you've never heard of are you seeing on menus? I forget where you were visiting from......is it maybe a regional thing? I haven't noticed that trend myself.

Practice Random Acts of Toasting

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Your experience at Purple was vastly different than mine, despite having nearly the same items. The service was so slow and the staff's knowledge of the wines was so slim that I decided not to go back - despite the fact that it's only one block from my office. Maybe I should give them another chance.

I had dinner at Purple a couple weeks ago and liked it. The bar appetizers and cheeses were great. My biggest problem is the volume.

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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Your experience at Purple was vastly different than mine, despite having nearly the same items. The service was so slow and the staff's knowledge of the wines was so slim that I decided not to go back - despite the fact that it's only one block from my office. Maybe I should give them another chance.

I had dinner at Purple a couple weeks ago and liked it. The bar appetizers and cheeses were great. My biggest problem is the volume.

The apps and cheeses were fine, it was the wine pairings that were off. The staff simply did not have the knowledge to discuss appropriate wine pairings and seemed more interested in turning the tables (seats). We were seated at the upstairs wine bar which may have affected our timing issues.

Practice Random Acts of Toasting

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