You are currently browsing the category archive for the ‘madrona’ category.
UPDATE: May 5
Well, that’s all folks. Crémant is officially defunct. It was a marvelous run, and a truly ignominious end. Bethany Jean Clement breaks the news and breaks my heart.
* * * *
UPDATE: January 18
I heard the news on Friday night, and I’ve been inconsolable all weekend: Scott Emerick and his wife Tanya have sold Crémant and are no longer involved with the restaurant operations. I feel like I’ve been kicked in the teeth. Crémant has been take over by Vita coffee mogul Mike McConnell, and the kitchen is now being run by Brendan McGill (Harvest Vine, Il Bistro). You can read the whole depressing story over here (including some pretty scandalous accusations in the Comments, and remarks from Seattle notables Michael Hebb, Tom Black and Roy McMakin) (The Comments have disappeared — although the mighty Matt Janke has some choice words over here). Best of luck to the Emericks. If anybody needs me, I’ll be sobbing over here in the corner.
* * * *
There are an absurd number of fantastic French restaurants to choose from in Seattle, and one of my very favorites is Crémant. Tucked away in the ultra-luxe neighborhood of Madrona, chef Scott Emerick crafts some of the most traditional bistro-style cuisine in town. Trained in the classic French Method, Emerick first worked in Paris and then in town at Lark, Campagne and Le Pichet before opening Crémant.
Much has been made of local artist/craftsman/hero Roy McMakin’s design for the restaurant, and it’s not hard to understand why. From the impossibly yellow door-within-a-door that will greet you upon arrival, to the concrete interior covered with fleur de lys wallpaper, this is not your typical brasserie. The contrasts are intentional, creating an atmopshere that is both candlelit and cacophonous, totally modern and wholly original – I adore the space.
And likewise, the food is outstanding. The portions are ridiculously generous, and nearly every dish can be shared (and you’ll still probably wind up taking some home). Please note: it is imperative that you begin your meal with a glass of the sparkling French wine from which Crémant takes its name. There are usually half a dozen to choose from, so do yourself a favor and imbibe some bubbles (and don’t forget to eat a few ibuprofen before you go to bed). The wine list is also thoughtful, and the waitstaff do a nice job pairing with your meal (my new favorite discovery: a Pierre Chermette Domaine du Vissoux Beaujolais, served chilled – trendwatch!)
During a recent visit, my dining companion and I started with a beautiful Salade de Chèvre Chaud, huge chunks of warm and creamy goat cheese on toasted croutons served over greens lightly tossed with hazelnut vinaigrette. We also ordered a side of champignons, buttery sautéed (porcini?) mushrooms served in a delightful ceramic jar. Emerick does seafood remarkably well, and in the past I have thoroughly enjoyed his famous Bouillabaisse, an impeccable arrangement of fish, clams, mussels and shrimp in a saffron broth, or the Moules Crémant, mussels cooked in crémant with bacon and parsley and served with traditional frites (which, delicious as they are, still don’t contend with those at Le Pichet). However, on this occasion I was feeling particularly adventurous, so I ordered the Cassoulet de Toulouse – an entire casserole filled with white haricot beans, duck confit, pork shoulder and finely ground pork & garlic sausage. This decadent, slow-cooked provincial ragout was probably the single best dish I’ve eaten all year. Immensely satisfying, with wonderful textures and rich flavors that alternate depending on which part of the cassoulet one happens to be exploring during any given bite. It was truly artful, and I savored the meal.
No surprise, but Crémant does dessert extremely well too (the crème brulee and the cognac au chocolat are not to be missed). But they do an even better cheese plate. In fact, I may go so far as to say Crémant has the best cheese plate in town. It’s the only place I’ve ever seen Vacherin Mont d’Or on the menu. Yum.
And the best news yet? Starting this weekend, Crémant will begin serving weekend brunch! The focus will apparently be on different eggs (chicken, duck, goose, quail), and will feature a new farm each month. I’m a sucker for a perfectly poached egg, and I’m guessing that this will be the place to get one.