I was recommended the restaurant by a friend, who was born in Seattle, and still has family here. It is 40 to 45 minutes from downtown Seattle, in an area called Kirkland. Surrounded by less salubrious venues, it is an oasis of class with its own valet parking section. The restaurant has a very modern, dark wood and glass decor, making it quite hard to see the surrounding environment. It specializes in modern Northern Italian cuisine, by Holly Smith, who we did see pop in, and kind of reminded me of a Angela Hartnetts food at Murano.
We had the tasting menu, which started with a slice of prosciutto, nice but nothing special.
The first course was a cruda of yellowtail, which was surprising in its fattyness, which mixed with avocado, celeriac and passion fruit, was fantastic, not quite sashimi, not quite cerviche, it tasted fantastic.
The next course was a salad of shaved mixed beets, with a chevre, goats cheese, tiny crumble if walnuts. Was not a fan of pickled beets as a kid, and this didn't change my mind.
What looked like an overly seared Hokkaido scallop, was actually fine,
A very salty white sturgeon caviar followed, with a bland tajarin pasta. This actually worked, two wrongs, (salty, small egg caviar, with a bland fine pasta), making a right, to produce a creamy textured pasta, with a hint of brine.
Next was foie gras, with an Asian pear, and tiny pieces of crystallized ginger again worked, with the unctious savory goose liver being offset by the very sweet pear.
A ragout of lamb, with gnocchi, and a parmesan foam was next. I felt the gnocchi and foam were very tasty and light, but we're overwhelmed by the heaviness and strong taste of the lamb.
The main course of iberico pork (Spanish, but the best in the world), is slightly disconcerting with the pork served pink to rare. The taste was sublime, especially the seared exterior, and the amazingly sweet baby onions. I do think a conversation needs to be held before hand over whether guests are comfortable or not on rare pork.
Dessert, was smoked ice cream, a lovely light panna cotta with honey, and a quite heavy meringued truffle chocolate cake.
Overall we were quite satisfied, and admired the surprising way some of dishes were put together and really worked. The menu flowed well, though there were some misses(beets, lamb, truffle cake), as well as great hits, (cruda, caviar, foie gras, pork). Definitely worth a visit again if you are a foodie.
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