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The Herbfarm


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I had a lovely (for the most part) dinner at the Herbfarm outside Seattle August 22. They serve a 9 course prix fixe menu (Thurs.-Sun) ranging in price from $159-$179 pp inclusive of wine, exclusive of tax and tip, The price range varies depending on the wines chosen by the house for the evening...more on that later. Guarantees with a credit card are required (see cc guarantees under General Topics). You have the option of a regular table (dependent on availiblity) or European style...in this case 3 long tables of eight diners each. Even though I ended up dining solo, I chose a regular table...after a long day dealing with professional golfers, I was not in the humor to have to "make nice-nice" with strangers. Dinner is served banquet style. You are asked to arrive at 6:30pm for a tour of the herb garden. I arruved promptly and was offered a glass of the Herbfarm infused ice tea to sip until the tour...I passed on it...smelled way too floral for my taste. Finally we were asked to go out front en masse by Carrie, one of the owners and proprietress of the garden. She announced a USA Today photographer would be with us for the evening shooting pictures for an article to appear on Sept. 20. Carrie then led us to the herb garden (which in itself is amazing) and proceeded with an overview of the restaurant and its history. She introduced each of the herbs that would be featured in our dinner. Sprigs of each were passed around to be either tatsed or sniffed depending on the herb. We also met the house recycler...Hamlet...a Vietnamese pot-bellied pig who is about the size of a Yugo :blink: .

After the 20 minute tour we returned to the restaurant. I was given the opportunity to join the European style table again, but, declined, explaining sometimes it is nice to be on one's own and just be able to decompress. I did end up having a dining companion though. The other owner- Carrie's husband Ron" "seated" a stuffed toy lamb across the table from me...cute touch.

On to the food and wine. The menu was entitled "Vision of the Vine". Chehalem Winery (Oregon) provided the evening's wines. A glass of their 2000 Pinot Gris was poured while all the guests were getting settled. With the exception of one of the Pinot Noirs poured near the end of the meal, the wines were thoroughly unimpressive (I am trying to be nice here). The Herbfarm has a wonderful, deep, fairly priced wine list. Unfortunately, they don't "advetise it" (you must ask for it), as the wines poured are included in the dinner price. I would much rather have paid extra and chosen from their list ( I will do so if I go back and don't like the wines that are included). It would have been much nicer to have had wines that were in the same league as the extraordinary cuisine.

First Course: Summer Treasures- Gazpacho to Sip with a Lovage Straw, Cucumber Gelee with Paddlefish Caviar and Corn Soup with Side Stripe Shrimp wirh a Chive Pancake

Wine: Chehalem 2000 Pinot Gris

The pinot gris was thin and overly acidic. The gazpacho was a clear seawater colored broth made with tomato water, pepper and cucumber. It was served with a lovage "straw" through which we were instructed to sip the soup. It added a celeraic flavor to the broth blend. I enjoyed it, but noticed many diners left it barely touched. The cucmber geless was served in a minature white china "skillet" shaped ramekin. Very smooth and refreshing- a lovely clear lime sherbet color. Mine was topped with creme fraiche and a flower petal, as I have a reaction to some caviars and had not had paddlefish yet (this was not the time to experiment). I think the caviar would have been the perfect accompaniment though. Served in a demi tasse cup, the corn soup was the star of the trio. It was very simply roasted corn removed from the cob, juiced (and juice hand squeezed from the cob) with a touch of butter added. Absolutely lovely texture and a clean, rich corn flavor. Side Stripe Shrimp were hanging from the edge pf the cup. They were perfectly cooked, but had an odd texture. The chive pancake was more like a pita-shaped piece of tough fried dough-also, a bit over salted.

Before the next course a dark red drape was pulled across the exhibition kitchen. Ron came out, gave a brief speech, introduced the winemaker who waxed poetically at length about what wonderful wines we would enjoy :blink: (wishful thinking). Then out came Jerry Traunfeld (2000 James Beard chef of the Northwest). He spoke briefly about the dishes and the ingredients...I wish he had spoken more! The winemaker interjected his comments about the wine matches. Next, the whole staff (from the dishwasher up) was brought out and introduced...we "learned" what I suppose were to be interesting tidbits, about each of them. I could have done without this part...it had that "Barney" feel to it. This dog and pony show took almost 40 mins. There was no serivce during. Thankfully, the curtain was reopened and the staff returned to work.

Second Course: Crab-Stuffed Squash Blossoms on Sungold Tomatoes and Herb Salad

Wine: 2000 Chehalem Dry Reisling, Corral Creek Vineyard

Again, the wine was a disappointment...it did have some bright pear flavor...but again was highly overly acidic...and very food unfriendly. The stuffed squash blossom was beautifullly presented. The blossom was simply stuffed with Dungeness crab mixed with fresh chives. Placed in the center of a large white plate, accompanied by two large whole pieces of crab and ringed with thai basil, mint, cialntro, wisps of vinegared sweet white onion, halved sungold tomatoes and tempura sea beans. The effect was a squash blossoms wreathed in its vine. Drizzles of opal basil vinaigrette (a beautiful purple color) and basil oil provided both a bright burst of color and flavor. An excellent dish.

Third Course: Slow-Roasted King Salmon with Fennel COnfit, Roasted Beets and Apple-Dill Sauce.

Wine: 1999 Chehalem Chardonnay

Another great course stuck with a less than stellar wine.This was a burgundian style chard. Unfortunately it suffered from too much oak "toastiness" on the palate and in the nose. Again, very acidic, but, thankfully less so than the other two. As for the salmon...it might be the best I have ever enjoyed. It was roasted for 20 mins. at 170-providing the most lovely, velvety texture imaginable. It was served on the fennel confit and striped with saffron touched apple dill sauce...a beautiful match for the delicate salmon.

Fourth Course: Chanterelle and Lobster Mushroom Lasagne with leek and eggplant, Slow Roasted Tomato and Walnut-Marjoram Sauce

Wine 1997 Chehalem Pinot Noir, Ridgecrest Vineyard

This pinot had a foul nose (reminiscent of Hamlet's pigpen) until it opened up a bit. A lovely garnet color...unfortunately extremely tannic with a strong lemony aftertaste. There was a bit of berry-spice flavor, but it was overpowered by the aftertaste. Yet another incredible food course! The thin lasagne pasta encased the fillings in a serpentine layer effect. From bottom to top: sauteed chanterelles, roasted roma tomatoes, sauteed leeks and eggplant, sauteed lobster mushrooms. The thin slice of lasagne was napped by the bright green walnut-marjoram pesto stlye sauce with quartered lobster mushrooms and chanterelles dotting the plate. Very visually appealing. The combination of the flavors melded together perfectly, yet were explosive when enjoyed seperately.

Fifth Course: Tarragon Sorbet with Pickled Melon

I loved the sorbet. A pure, bright flavor-hard to describe- but not what one would expect from tarragon. The melon balls were muskmeon pickled in lemon verbena. Very nice palate cleanser.

Sixth Course: Lavender Crusted Muscovy Duck Breast with Plum Strudel, Cranberry Beans and wilted greens.

Wine: 2000 Chehalem Pinot Noir, Rion Reserve

Finally a decent wine to match with the outstanding food. Bright plum and berry flavors with a hint of pepper spice. A gorgeous deep red color. Perfectly medium rare duck slices with crispy skin that had been dry-rubbed with spices (I detected star anise, rosemary and tarragon). The duck was served over wilted greens (dandelion and spinach, I think). The plum strudel served on the side was a savory blend of bright red plums and sauteed sweet onions wrapped in phyllo. The plate was napped with a duck jus reduction that incorporated the spices used in the rub.

Seventh Course: Quillisascut Goat Cheese Crotin with Grilled Figs, Spice Bread and Thyme Honey

A thin slice of the piquant crotin was flanked by lightly grilled Kadota figs which were drizzled with the house-made thyme honey, and a slice of the bread. This was their first batch of the honey made from the hives on the farm. It was a very mild honey with just a hint of thyme. The spice bread was dark, moist and boldly flavored. The predominant flavor was that of star anise.

Eighth Course: Trilogy in Fruit: Roasted Donut Peach with Anise Hyssop Ice Cream, Raspberry Souffle with White Chocolate Sauce and Wild Huckleberry Napoleon with Rose Geranium Sauce

A perfectly roated peach half wad topped with the anise hyssop ice cream-a very mild anise flavor (interesting fact: this herb is related to neither anise nor hyssop).

The napoleon was, very simply, layers of puff pastry (a bit tough) sandwiching sauteed sweetened huckleberries with the mildly flavored rose geranium cream...an anglais style sauce.

The stand out in this group was the raspberry souffle. Baked in demi tasse cups, the souffle rose a goos 1 1/2" above the rim of the cup. Served piping hot...good raspberry color...moist and flavorful without the addition of the sauce.

Brewed Coffee, Teas and Infusions...many choices t be had here. Each diner receives his/her selection in their own French press-strained at the table by the servers. I had a lovely, mild Dragonwell Green Tea.

Ninth Course: A selection of small treats: Chocolate Mint Truffle, Apricot-Lemon Verbena Gels, Hazelnut Florentines, Chocolate-Peanut Butter Sandwich, Orange-Balsam thyme White Chocolate Truffle

Wine: 1901 Barveito Malvazia Madeira.

The stand out wine!!! The madeira had a wonderful toasty hazelnut flavor. A beautiful example of a madeira and also of the wines available at the Herbfarm...they have about 40 madeiras by the 1 oz. pour.

I passed on the small treats, but they looked lovely.

Jerry Traunfeld is one of the best chefs who's food I had the pleasure of sampling...I do not say that lightly, as I have been lucky enough to dine with most of the best in the US. He was involved in every course presented, checking every plate...a very intense man from what I could observe. Also a perfectionist. I look forward to making another visit to the Herbfarm.

The whole experience lasted just short of 6 hours...occasionally there were relatively long lags between courses. I would suggest considering staying at the Willows lodge were the Herbfarm is located...it is a long way to travel after a huge meal if you are staying in Seattle.

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Thanks so much for your extensive and detailed account of your experience. The food sounds just lovely and amazing, sorry to hear some of the wines weren't up to the task.

By the way, you mentioned that a USA Today photographer would be shooting during the meal, and I was wondering if that was very disruptive or intrusive? Normally a photographer would have to bring in extra lights to get the best shots - did he? Were they actually taking pictures of diners during the meal? If so, did you sign a waver? Did they even ask if this was OK?

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Hi nightscotsman...thanks for your kind comments....During Carrie's opening speech she said that if anyone didn't want to be photographed to please tell her...guess there coud have been some illicit meetings as two couples were very quick to beg off :cool: . There were no extra lights or additional disturbances from the photographer...I asked him about his camera equipment....very hi-tech nikon digital...high resolution...no lights necessary. He spoke with the people whose photos he took, got our names...no waivers as the consent was implicit. I will be curious to see if my photo makes the "cut" :raz: .

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Southern Girl- Thanks for the detailed description of your experience!

A theory on the odd texture of the shrimp:

A friend of mine ate there last year and sat at a table with a clear view of the kitchen. He noted that all of the prawns had been pre-seared and were resting, covered with foil, on a sheet pan in the oven. (?)

Also, ever since I heard about the "dog and pony show" with the red curtain and an introduction of the whole staff I've been pretty incredulous. 40 minutes between the first and second course is a long time to wait, especially if you are hungry. I'm curious (in a morbid way). Did it change your overall impression of the meal?

Any observations of the room, service? Was it easy to secure a single table for yourself?

Thanks again for the detailed notes!

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The dog and pony show was offputting...I began to wonder if I had made a huge mistake...the lovefest was a bit much... :wacko: ....especially when it was followed by another poor wine and lag before the next course. This is another good reason to order off the wine list...at least I could have "poured my own"...Luckily the excellent food saved the day!

I originally had a reservation for two...I had been waitlisted and they had dropouts. Be aware, inside 30 days you are held responsible by cc for whatever number of seats you have booked...so, I was stuck for the $50 deposit for my companion who couldn't join me. I think they would have preferred to place me at a European style table, being a party of one...they offered more than once...everyone was very pleasant though, so perhaps they thought I would be more comfortable dining with others.

As for the room....it is large and barnlike...with low ceilings around the outskirts, painted red. The middle of the room is highceilinged like a barn with a balcony on one side and windows on the other. The center of the ceiling is dominated by a large chandelier with individual lightshaded lamps. Along the back wall (where I sat)...windows and tables for two and four. In the center of the room there are three long tables of eight...assorted other smaller tables around the rest of the room. The upholstery, carpets and decor are reminiscent of a Victorian home (or Grandmothers house). The predominant colors are forrest greens and deep reds. Lace doilies on the tables and green leaf charger plates that stay on the table until dessert. Excellent stemware for the wines...and good quality utensils...(I hate cheap knives and forks!!)

The exhibition kitchen has a large prep area in center of the front part that is dominated by a large hood painted deep red. The kitchen is framed by the theatrical red curtain. There is a counter to the front where the finally garnishing and distribution of plates takes place.

I had been told the restaurant was romantic...I suppose this depends on one's definition. The tables are relatively close together (I could hear the conversation of the couple next to me even when they spoke in sotto tones)....and if you are at the European tables, with strangers, I think it would be difficult to consider it romantic. There was a live guitarist providing quiet background music.

The service is decent...if a bit spotty. There seemed to be no rhyme or reason for who was served what first and by whom. But, they are very pleasant and do try hard.

As it should be the food was the star...the supporting cast could use a bit of polish and restraint. I would definitely return to the restaurant. Armed with the lessons I learned this time I think I could make my own experience better.

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southern girl,

I've never been to Herbfarm and reading your review was a real delight. Thank you for sharing your meal with us with wonderful image provoking details - your writing is beautiful (I'm actually swooning over the first 5 courses which I would especially enjoy sampling). I am sorry to hear that you got stuck for a $50 charge though. I do not like to hear that, and will read the thread you referred to. And I hope the owners will consider shortening or eliminating the long staff introduction show as that is something that would definitely deter me from going (I hate to sit for long periods anyway, and that added 40 minutes would not be welcomed by me).

I especially enjoyed reading your description of their preparation of salmon and their technique of roasting it for 20 minutes at 170 degrees, as well as the description of the sauce. I have always cooked salmon at a high temp. and will be interested to try this lower temp method...thank you for those details. :smile:

I hope we will be lucky enough to hear of your other meals in the Seattle /Eastside area. :smile:

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One more note :rolleyes: ...when the dog and pony show starts...next time I will get up and go out front...where they have a Bocce (sp?) court...and play a game until they are finished....I would have done it this time if I had any idea how long it would last. I figured it would be relatively quick and painless... :wacko::wacko::wacko:

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Hi nightscotsman...thanks for your kind comments....During Carrie's opening speech she said that if anyone didn't want to be photographed to please tell her...guess there coud have been some illicit meetings as two couples were very quick to beg off :cool: .

Tee hee . . . when I was there last December, there were 3 guys whose dates were obviously call girls. The guy across from us joked, "And we thought OUR dinners were expensive!"

That said, I loved the food, and the wine was great for us too. I enjoyed the dog and pony show. It was festive. Probably because it was around the Christmas holidays, I didn't reactive negatively to it. I think it's entirely consistent with their homey image.

"Save Donald Duck and Fuck Wolfgang Puck."

-- State Senator John Burton, joking about

how the bill to ban production of foie gras in

California was summarized for signing by

Gov. Schwarzenegger.

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Can you imagine a "seminar" of this sort and length taking place in just about any other country? It strikes me as an insult to the customer and a form of self-agrandizement and self-importance to the owners. Furthermore, why would anyone want to be forced to eat AND drink what the chefs feels like making and pouring for everyone? Don't the owners have the skill, staff and resources to treat diners as if they have at least minimum abilities to think for themselves? But Southern Girl, thanks so much for the great and detailed report. I have been curious about this restaurant since reading about it last year in Gourmet. Maybe I'm missing something in both senses.

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I'm comfortable with the idea of a set food and wine menu; I wouldn't want every restaurant to do it (and it sounds like the Herbfarm is overconfident in their wine matches), but as long as you know what you're getting into, it's an interesting gimmick. Spending 40 minutes introducing the staff and listening to speeches by the chef, well, that's the kind of thing you go out to dinner to avoid, isn't it?

Still waiting for someone to comp me at the 'farm,

Matthew

Matthew Amster-Burton, aka "mamster"

Author, Hungry Monkey, coming in May

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Southern Girl: Am I correct in reading that even if you order from their wine list, you still get charged for the wines poured with the meal? Do they really not have a no wine option? This seems silly, and in the case of under-21 diners, illegal.

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From the way you describe the included wine service, it almost seems as if a winery might be paying them (or not charging) for having their wines featured at an herbfarm dinner. It seems like a good way to promote your wines. And a good way for the herbfarm to make some extra money.

I wonder...

Ben

Gimme what cha got for a pork chop!

-Freakmaster

I have two words for America... Meat Crust.

-Mario

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Jordyn, funny you should ask...I did ask...and yes...you are still charged for the wine one way or the other. In the case of a minor or a non-drinker...they told me they have non-alcoholic substitutions...so, no break on the price.

Schielke...I don't think that is the case...at least as far as the winery paying them. When I was in the restaurant business and when we did wine dinners we received a discount on the wines we purchased for the dinner and hosted the winemaker and his guest for the dinner. The distributor paid for the hotel expense and the winery for the travel...since they are usually doing a number of events in the area during their visit.

Also, the Herbfarm has a very deep and large cellar (12000 or so bottles). They have an incredible selection of red Rhone, Bourdeaux, Madeiras, French dessert wines and ports. Also a wide selection of Pacific NW wines. That is a lot of cash tied up in inventory. IMO they could make a lot more money selling what they have. They do use wines from their cellar when their is no special guest winemaker. I asked Ron how often someone orders off the list...he said maybe 3 times a week. My supposition is that since they don't actively promote the list...not good business sense IMO.... (they do encourage you to go look at the cellar while you are there though)... most people don't realize there is an option...I didn't find out until the 7th course a wine list existed. I would think that since this is an expensive place to dine, that a lot of people are first timers who are unaware (like me) or one time only one special occasion visitors...who follow the program set out for them. I also think they are very protective of their food and wine pairings...as I mentioned next time I would condsider ordering off the list...they heavily enouraged me to call in advance and let them suggest the matches for the courses. With such a gorgeous list it just makes absolutely no sense to me that they don't promote it. :wacko:

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sg,

Glad you enjoyed the food at the Herbfarm, but was really disapointed to hear about the wines. Part of why I've enjoyed my experiences there so much is their ability to create these incredible food-wine pairings. Some friends of mine went the night after you did and the featured winery was Argyle, which, in my humble opinion at least, would be a significant upgrade over Chehalem. However I don't really like the idea of them forcing a meal to fit with a single winemaker's offerings. The old madeira is always a highlight for me. I love to think about what was happening in the world back when it was made. The saddest part of their original restaurant burning down for me is that they lost the largest collection of the 100+ year old madeiras in North America.

As you noted, the D&P show is grating, and this was just your first visit! The whole thing is so geared to first-timers, that I think they really discourage repeat business. I like your idea of getting up and leaving duing the introductions and am embarassed that I thought of it before. If I have to sit through the guitarist's life-story again (he IS from the Spanish Royal Conservatory you know!), I think I will scream.

What other places in the area did you try?

[Non-food question: what did you think of Sahalee, there sure was a lot of bitching and moaning about it from the players]

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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Southern--first off, I'd like to join the chorus thanking you for diligent reporting and wonderful reads on this and the other "credit card guarantee" thread. I am solidly on the side that says a 30 day cancellation policy with the $50 minimum credit card guarantee is both unfair and ill-advised, but I'd defend the right of any chef or restaurateur to establish such an egregious policy. I simply wouldn't ever eat there and not only that, I'd write about it and talk about it as often and as publicly as possible.

On this thread you have told me enough so that I never have to worry about not going to this gastro-tourist gimmicky self-involved hokey production. I don't care how inventive or emotive this Northwest amateur hour--oops, six hour--touring production of "Cats" is, it just won't ever be worth enduring for me because it is still "Cats." I don't care how good the individual dishes may be I would be so frustrated by what seem to me to be one anti-customer service policy and procedure after another I would probably have to stand up and scream. And go outside to play alot of bocce ball. (In fact, I'd probably prefer to take my food and wine at the bocce ball court rather than a communal table in the barn but I'm sure I'd be "encouraged" not to.) This is fine dining shtick for the Branson Missouri busload and USA Today crowd.

In fact, I hope USA Today runs a nice full color picture of the herb garden so I can pick up some hyssop or lavender, rub it between my fingers, smell it and get as close to the Herbfarm and Chef Jerry's perfectionist banquet cooking as I'm ever going to.

Give up on this place and go have Kerry Sear cook for you. Order the wines you want or not. Tell him to create a tasting menu for you with herbs and flowers in every course. Go home happy and flex your muscles by accepting or rejecting suggested wine pairings.

A few questions--were the wines forced upon you and the vintner chosen for the evening made known to you when you made your reservation? If not, seems just another poor choice on the part of management.

Also, were the bulk dining tables, oops, family style planks, the same price as the regular tables? How do you suppose you were given the choice of a regular table--did you reserve early or are the communal tables somehow seen as desireable?

What good is their wonderful deep undoubtedly Wine Spectator award-winning wine list if they're jamming visiting winemakers shilling their own wine down your throats without any choice on the four busiest nights of the week? It's a good way to control risk, spoilage and costs, minimizing the need for knowledgeable sommeliers, experienced servers or an opened wine bottle preservation system as well. It's an end-around a wine-by-the-glass program. (I'm getting ready to scream again at how disingenuous and self-serving this all seems that I'm going into my living room to play a little simulated bocce.)

If you dine there Monday through Wednesday is it also a similarly fixed price, fixed course menu with pre-selected wines from their cellar? If so, it would seem you aren't ever able to order off the list, Southern, at least according to any definition of "order" which we've probably come to understand outside the planet Herbfarm.

Are dish substitutions offered in the event of allergies?

Steve Klc

Pastry chef-Restaurant Consultant

Oyamel : Zaytinya : Cafe Atlantico : Jaleo

chef@pastryarts.com

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I have been the the Herbfarm once, when they were in temporary Issaquah digs. This review sounds fair: the show part of the meal was somewhat irritating; some dishes were outstanding (though all I can remember is a dry mussel dish), the rest was quite good.

The group dining tables are (or were) full priced. They claim, and I will believe, that when people are stuck at them like we were, they want to come back again. Why? Because you end up talking to the people who are there with you, and have at least something in common, far more than your average restaurant. It's different from the whole seattle 'be nice to people but don't really engage them' vibe.

As for the 'don't drink' issue, I thought they charged full price, but a friend thinks they may not. I think the people who weren't drinking alchohol got either red or white grape juice, or something like that, instead of a carefully matched wine. (It's always fixed menu + preselected wine.)

All in all I think this is just one of those places which are very good, but became so well known that the demand outstrips the supply, leading to things like high prices, a fair but irritating cancellation policy, and so on. I doubt I'll go back.

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Steve Klc...First..do I remember Kerry Sear is at Cascadia? Oddly when I posted on the PNW board about where to dine... it wasn't mentioned...and I had forgotten about the good things I had heard about Cascadia. On to your questions.... Neither the vintner nor the menu (with the exception of a very brief description you may be able to get out of them by phone call, they do post the title of the menu on their website...not much help though) is available in advance...you can get an "idea"..but, supposedly they don't finalize the menu until the day of. Makes dinner a crapshoot. I had heard such good things from friends who had been to the Herbfarm (and are serious diners) that I was willing to give it a shot....the week before was their (in)famous all vegetable dinner at $179++(which I had no clue they did until Malarkey clued me in)...I would not have been happy if I had ended up with that.

They only serve Thurs.-Sun. (pretty nice gig for Jerry).

All meals, no matter where you sit cost the same. They do inquire about allergies when you make yor reservation...so dishes are substituted or altered in that case...One of mine was due to the presence of paddlefish caviar.

At your suggestion, next time I go to Seattle I will put myself in Kerry's hands.

Management at the Herbfarm definitely makes some poor/odd decision...both from a business standpoint and a customer service stanpoint.

And love your Cats/ Branson comments! LOL

mb7o...as I mentioned in one of the above posts...even if one is underage or does not drink...you pay the full price...you are given non-alcoholic beverages as a substitute.

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I am a fan of what has been termed elsewhere on this site as "the New Dining". Most of my best meals have come from putting myself in a chef's hands, which I largely attribute to them being quite a bit smarter about food than me. However, I don't think I would like the Herbfarm very much. It seems like the New Dining run amok. Specifically:

1) As others have commented, the "show" seems both silly and annoying. If there is a serious desire to make sure the diners are familiar with each and every member of the staff, staggering introductions throughout the course of the meal would at least make the show less annoying. Still silly, though.

2) Creating wine pairings is commendable and desirable. Requiring people to buy these pairings is questionable, especially when the alternative offered is clearly of lesser value.

3) Forcing pairings for an entire evening's meal with a single vineyard's wine is simply absurd, unless advertised as such in advance and with the focus on the wine rather than the food.

4) I don't have a better adjective to describe my thoughts on requiring for people to pay for paired wine they don't drink when they order by the bottle, but if I did, it wouldn't be a very friendly one.

5) Communal tables make a lot of sense at Cuba de Asia; not so much at anywhere people are likely to go on a special occasion. At nearly $200 a person, I'd say this place falls into the latter category.

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Meow....at least the food was good!!! I am very un-new age...and the Herbfarm definitely has that new age-touchy-feely- thing going on...but, the chef can cook. From what I can gather, he is not a partner...so, perhaps he will move on to some place less rigid...if that is the case...I would enjoy having another meal he has prepared...the rest of the Herbfarm stuff I could do without! :blink:

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Steve Klc, good points, and you'll get no arguments from me. :raz:

I think the descriptions of the food sounded excellent. It sounds like they need to work on all the other issues raised.

I think the 30 day cancellation policy is unfair, and that's just the first reason I don't see myself going there...I think Steve covered many of the other reasons as well.

I didn't recommend Cascadia in Seattle as I've never been there so cannot comment on it first hand. I have heard good things about it, though.

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