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This past weekend, having finally recovered from a debilitating weeks-long seasonal cold (at long last regaining my appetite), I decided to indulge my newfound senses in one of the truly quintessential dishes to be had in all of Seattle. A crown jewel of our city, not to be missed if you are paying a visit – oeufs en meurette at Café Campagne. Two perfectly poached eggs balanced on top of buttery, toasted brioche, swimming in a thick red wine and foie gras reduction. The sauce is dark and rich and slightly sweet, bits of lardon and mushroom and browned pearl onions adding layers of salt and earth. Finally, to slice into the soft egg, to see and smell the bright yellow yolk as it slowly pools at the base of the bowl is to be reminded again why I first fell in love with the food in this town.
The inimitable French bistro that godfather of Seattle cuisine Peter Lewis initially envisioned as “intimate, sweet and informal” still retains its landmark status and culinary cred nearly two decades since opening in Post Alley. A seemingly endless list of shining local talent has passed through the kitchen of Café Campagne (or big sister Campagne upstairs) before moving on to make their own mark on the restaurant scene – Tamara Murphy, Jim Drohman, John Sundstrom, Craig Serbousek, Shannon Galusha, Scott Emerick, ad infinitum. The kitchen is currently in the capable hands of Chef Daisley Gordon, who we last saw battling Bobby Flay on Iron Chef America (spoilers over here). The quality of product and attention to detail remain unwavering.
It also doesn’t hurt that the space Café Campagne inhabits seems to exist out of time. The lights are as a low as the ceiling, the aged hardwood floors and blonde banquettes as charming as the white-sleeved, black-vested waitstaff. The ancient bar is cozy and comfortable, wine bottles stacked neatly on every surface. It’s all very traditional, from the Kir Royale to the Gamay Beaujolais (the wine list is suitably epic). There are nearly 30 bottles offered by the glass, and small pours are also available if you’re just interested in a little taste. Patio seating is coveted during the summer, perfect for watching the ebb and flow of Pike Place Market.
The menu at Café Campagne hits all the highlights of classic French bistro fare. Naturally I gravitate towards the croques, and while I must confess they are not my true favorites in town, the Savoyard is still quite lovely when tomatoes are in season, fresh from the market stall. Sandwiches are served open-faced on light, sweet crumb bread, and then buried under a dripping, melty mess of hot gruyère cheese. Add Parisian ham, add an egg, add a requisite side of long, thin pomme frites with aioli for dipping.
The lamb burger is also worth trying at least once. Served moist and rare, with grilled onions, pickled roasted peppers and balsamic vinegar, the mildly gamey meat mellows with each bite until you’re left with a remarkably pleasant aftertaste. Or perhaps fresh trout, sautéed in almond-lemon brown butter – it’s just as rich and decadent as it sounds. There’s Niçoise salade and cassoulet and house-cured salmon gravlax – but I’ll be perfectly honest, it’s a rare day that I’m at Café Campagne not eating the oeufs en meurette (see paragraph one). Someday maybe I’ll finally try a few more things on the menu. Someday. Maybe.
So last weekend I finally made it over to Ballard Ave. to check out Bastille Café & Bar for dinner. Since opening in June, I’d heard a whole gamut of reviews, so I was eager to discover for myself whether the new bistro was worthy of praise or yawns. We certainly do not lack for some truly remarkable French cuisine in Seattle, which admittedly raised the odds against the contender in my mind. Verdict?
Not so good, I’m afraid. But hardly bad either. Fair to middling? One thing Bastille has on everybody else is certainly its SHEER SIZE. The brasserie is positively vast, a yawning expanse of sleek. The cavernous dining hall has raised ceilings, white tiled walls, a 45-foot zinc topped bar and mirrors strategically positioned to further stretch the room into infinity. A clock salvaged from a Parisian metro station casts a soft glow on the room, all black and white and amber light. There’s patio seating, a rooftop garden, and just past the narrow kitchen, yet another full bar complete with crystal chandeliers and moody paintings. Bastille is easily the most ambitious restaurant space I’ve stepped into for a long time, and positively stunning in that regard.
Shannon Galusha and Jason Stoneburner (who both herald from Campagne, among many, many other storied restaurants) are at the helm in the kitchen. And while I appreciate simplicity as a goal, what struck me most about the food at Bastille was that nearly every “traditional” plate I tried had some strange twist or interpretation. A bowl of gratinéed French onion soup crowned with an exceptionally pungent cave-aged Gruyère immediately captured my attention. Sadly, the soup itself was light on onions, heavy on thyme, and had a much-too-sweet, almost vinegary flavor. A simple roasted beet and arugula salad faired far better, sprinkled with pistachios and a red wine vinaigrette and accompanied by a lovely, mild chevre croûte on the side.
Probably most disappointing was an order of fricassée de poulet. The pan-roasted chicken breast had wonderfully crisp skin, but was far too salty for my taste. Also abused by sodium: a bowl of Manila clams with house-made Merguez sausage (!) and chickpeas. Wonderful in theory, but somewhat unbalanced in execution – the sweet clams almost entirely lost under a pile of spicy sausage bits. Still, it’s not like these dishes were inedible, in fact they were fairly well polished off by the end of the evening. And an order of steak frites was nearly flawless – a wonderfully roasted flat iron steak with a side of surprisingly light house Béarnaise. What’s more, the French fries served in a traditional paper cone were just right (I’d heard some rather damning word-of-mouth regarding several early frite orders, so I’m happy that issue appears to be resolved). The wine list is expansive, and worthy of further exploration. I was quite pleased with a bottle of “old vine” Pascal Aufranc Chénas Beaujolais – floral, juicy, delightful.
It’s just that, given the magnitute and quality of many other bistros in town, I think execution needs to be reliably spotless. Or the menu needs to be a little more daring. Something. If Bastille survives the next year or so (and it’s a real gamble, given the sheer volume of space they are commanding), I think it has the potential to become a genuine neighborhood joint. And by that I mean, if I lived in the neighborhood, I’d probably become a regular. But as it is, I’ll hardly be going out of my way to get back there any time soon. There’s just way too many dependable French places between here and there.
After nearly a decade of dining in Seattle, I finally – finally – made it to the esteemed Le Gourmand this past weekend. Hallowed amongst food enthusiasts and Francophiles, chefs Bruce and Sara Naftaly are revered for their impeccable cuisine and lifelong dedication to local and organic food culture. A full quarter of the printed menu is committed to acknowledging their farm sources and providers. Still, the Naftalys are hardly newcomers to the locavore bandwagon, and in fact the evening’s experience called to mind Alice Waters and her pioneering approach to cooking at Chez Panisse in Berkeley. There was an ease and elegance to the food that can only come from years and years of devotion, and countless mornings spent in the garden.
Since I never knew Le Gourmand during its previous incarnation, I can only imagine the transformation it must have undergone after a (reportedly) dramatic remodel early last year. The space is wonderful, like nowhere I’ve ever been, a singular room out of time. Like a fairytale. This is in no small part due to the wizened visages of the three hand-carved puppets watching over you from the far wall (the puppets were not nearly as freaky as I had heard – really, the craftsmanship, concept and execution were singular. They were also quite a bit larger than I had anticipated). Even though this is serious cooking, and you will be dropping serious cash, the puppets remind you not to take things too seriously.
The dining room is very small, very intimate and very relaxed. White tablecloths, a porthole peering into the kitchen through an upholstered swinging door and soft light bursting from wonderful, exploding blossoms of glass. Like if an allium went supernova. The music is unobtrusive but upbeat, the pace of the service is leisurely, and my partner and I could actually whisper to each other across the table (despite the constant low level murmur drifting through the doorway from the Naftaly’s adjacent, equally beloved lounge, Sambar). Really my description cannot even begin to capture the magic of the place.
Nor, I’m afraid, can I fully do justice to the exquisite four hour, seven-course Late Summer tasting menu that I enjoyed. But I will try. The tasting menu doesn’t actually feature any of the items listed on the regular menu, though they are happy to substitute if so desired. Also unlisted: a mini-flight of various wines to accompany the courses (there was nothing mini about it – the pours were immensely generous). Our server was very thoughtful and attentive, easy-going and cheerful. There was a fluidity to the service that I thoroughly enjoyed, a subtle capriciousness (the wines seemed paired mostly on the fly, the sorbet course was still TBD, etc.)
I started with a remarkable glass of Sancerre rosé – full-bodied, with a nice mineral bite, a perfect way to end the season. The first course was a tiny cup of radish soup (!!), smooth and creamy, simmered in duck stock and topped with fresh julienned radishes and Claudio Corallo cocoa-nibs. As you well know, I adore radishes. It was perfect pink. My partner opted for à la carte, but joined me on this course with a beautiful bowl of heirloom tomato soup – deep red, rich and earthy. Next up was a screamingly good pork sausage meatball stuffed with foie gras. The dollop of paté was almost (almost) upstaged by the freshness of the herbs used in the loosely packed sausage – marjoram, savory, thyme, and Italian parsley. It also didn’t hurt that the pork was from Wooly Pigs. An absolutely sensational dish.
For the third course, a tantalizing bowl of early season chanterelles bathed in a decadent cream sauce that reminded me of butterscotch and apricots. The mushrooms were meaty and warm, tiny caps mixed in amongst the larger ones. Thankfully, the portion sizes were well-controlled throughout the evening, as this dish in particular was exceedingly rich. A somewhat sweet Vouvray bridged this course into the next – local Albacore tuna gratin, layered with basil, sweet red and yellow cherry tomatoes, and baked in a scalloped half shell with comté and gruyère cheeses. Perhaps out of everything I ate during the tasting menu, this dish in particular was closest to my heart. There was something so soulful about it, so comforting, the flavors so well-balanced, that I found myself mopping up the shell with the previously untouched bread on the table. It’s no wonder that the basil guy gets his very own special shout-out on the menu (respect due, Dennis Williams). Simply unparalleled.
Before the main course, a small scoop of sorbet was served as a palate cleanser. Apparently they had settled on a sweet and light blend of honey, nectarines and champagne (with a tiny garnish of that incredible savory from earlier – an herb that, until I sat down to dinner, I was entirely ignorant of). The sorbet served it’s function, but was otherwise neither here nor there. No matter, as soon the squab was upon me. Bathed in an earthy lobster mushroom sauce, the medallions of tender, pink pigeon meat were wrapped in chewy grape leaves straight from Le Gourmand’s garden arbor. I found it a great deal richer than the usual poultry, with more depth of flavor, and very moist. The squab was served with a plate of vibrant vegetables – kale, cabbage, new and purple potatoes, butter, some salt and pepper, more butter. My partner’s boneless rack of lamb in a plum and garlic sauce was undeniably brilliant (although it’s worth noting that it was listed on the menu as “wrapped in house-made bacon”, said bacon nowhere to be found on the plate. Not that this was necessarily an issue, but there was never any explanation).
As all things appropriately Euro should be, the final course was Salade le Gourmand: green and leafy lettuces straight from the garden, tossed with colorful nasturtiams and other edible flowers in a Blackwood Canyon Chardonnay vinaigrette with mustard seed. It was a little bit bitter, and a whole lot earthy. The best possible way to end a meal, unless you’ve somehow managed to save room for one of Sara Naftaly’s desserts. Sadly, we were informed, Sara had been called away unexpectedly to attend to her son who had gotten into a skateboarding accident (although, we were assured, he was going to be just fine). This may explain why the chocolate soufflé we ordered was runny in the center, not cooked all the way through. There was a rich hazelnut sauce to pour over the soufflé, and best of all, a garnish of golden raspberries and blackberries. I can’t even remember the last time I ate golden raspberries, and that was about all the dessert I needed anyway.
As I contemplated the meal through a haze of synaptic fireworks, Bruce Naftaly came out from the kitchen to introduce himself and thank us for our patronage. I was starstruck and awkward as ever, but he was appropriately gracious and humble. We said our farewells and wandered down the street, savoring the fleeting summer night. It was truly an epic dinner, and I had one of the most intense food highs I’ve had in ages. Endorphins for days. In many ways, Le Gourmand is completely off the map – not least of all physically, tucked away on Northwest Market in that little area of town that’s not quite Fremont, but not yet Ballard (Frelard?). So too, it seems to reside on the edge of the epicurean consciousness. Like a fairytale.
Tucked away below street level at the awkward intersection where Denny meets Western in lower Queen Anne, you will find an unlikely oasis of Provençal French cooking that contends with the very best. Down a short ramp and through a petite herb garden and into the best smelling restaurant in town – Boat Street Café, a longstanding and beloved favorite of mine, an intimate sanctuary to forget one’s self over a glass of Beaujolais and a plate of silky smooth chicken liver paté. Upon stepping through the bright yellow sliding garage door, take a minute to catch your breath amidst the twinkling lights and colorful parasols and paper lanterns hanging from the ceiling. The room is whitewashed, the tables topped with slate, the walls hung with Jeffry Mitchell’s playful ceramic elephants. Prepare yourself for a magical evening.
My admiration for chef Renee Erickson is only exceeded by her tireless reimagining of the menu. There is always something new to try. There are rarely any lapses in the kitchen. The grace and execution of her plates are unparalleled. Simple, rustic French food that satisfies body and soul. Steamed mussels, roasted chicken, ribeye steak. Dijon mustard and niçoise olives and Erickson’s famous pickles (rotating seasonal selections of fruits and vegetables). Salt and pepper abounds. The dishes are approachable, and not nearly as intimidating as say, the menu at Le Pichet. There is a singular elegance to the space and the cooking, a distinctly feminine perspective that is plainly obvious and deeply appreciated.
So a few years ago, after returning from a trip to Italy which “cured” me of my pescetarianism, the very first thing I did was make reservations for dinner at Boat Street Café. That fortuitous meal would be the first time I encountered Erickson’s house made pork sausage – coarsely ground and loosely packed with fennel and garlic, spicy and herbal and topped with a magnificent fried egg. It immediately became the standard by which I now measure all sausages. Also in the pig department: herb roasted pork loin chop courtesy of Carlton Farms (or if you’re really lucky, Wooly Pigs) and served over roasted potatoes with a seasonal vegetable. As Summer roared into town last weekend, I found a side of grilled Romaine lettuce with sweet pickled golden raisins very nearly upstaged the meat! And leave it to Renee Erickson to make me a believer in salmon again. Alaskan King served with a bright and wonderful lemony cream and mint sauce and covered with sautéed English peas, meaty Porcini mushrooms and ridiculously tasty shallots. It makes me wonder how places like Anthony’s even stay in business. (Answer: tourists).
And finally, I also hold Boat Street Café solely responsible for teaching me that dessert is not an option. The Valrhona dark chocolate pot de crème is the stuff of legends. Served in an ice cold ceramic jar, the custard is so light and smooth on the tongue, so rich and chocolaty that you’ll need another bite to confirm the breadth and depth of this dessert’s unrivaled awesomeness. And another. Are you going to eat that?
I should also mention that while Boat Street Café is only open for dinner, the adjacent Boat Street Kitchen is equally amazing for lunch. Headed up by Erickson’s partner Susan Kaplan (the owner of the original Boat Street Café – R.I.P.), the same attention to detail and classy sensibility is always on display. I love the ruby trout with basil sauce, and the Magali tomato soup served cold with goat cheese baguette. There’s Croque Monsieur and assorted tartes and the famous rustic cornmeal custard cake with sausage and maple syrup (“better than pancakes”). Get out of the office, take an hour for lunch, relax. Eat a cheese plate. Drink a glass of rosé in the sun. It’s summer. It’s not going to last forever.
There are some wonderful things happening with food over in Wallingford these days, and I credit chefs Rachel Yang and Seif Chirchi for leading the way. Since opening Joule last year at 45th and Burke, the husband and wife duo behind the only French-Korean restaurant in Seattle have been consistently producing some of the most innovative cuisine in the city. At turns adventurous and elegant, their food has a serious mindedness that is belied by the playful menu (with course headings like Simmered, Crisped, Sparked, and my favorite, Staff of Life). This laser focus is almost certainly the result of Yang and Chirchi’s previous employ at the ridiculously high-end Coupage in Madrona (which imploded shortly after their departure) and before that at Alain Ducasse in New York City.
Joule is a contemporary space with lots of dark wood offset by soft yellow paint and the most beautiful wallpaper in town – an exquisite deep indigo backdrop covered with white leaves and pink fairytale hummingbirds. A pot of reeds filled with little white lights sits at the edge of the bar, where patrons can sit and watch Chirchi and Yang at work in the prominent open kitchen. There may be jazz playing on the stereo, and some of it may be French. It’s the perfect atmosphere to enjoy one of Joule’s seasonal cocktails. Try the pomegranate tarragon shrub, a vinegar-based drink served in a carafe filled with fresh pomegranate seeds and ice. Or the Parisian Sake, a mix of Kurosawa and St. Germain with a slice of grapefruit that is exceptionally bright and clean.
The menu at Joule changes with the seasons, and a recent visit found a strong emphasis on early winter greens. We started with a creamed Swiss chard with hazelnut salt, which was slightly bitter and buttery and warm (and just a little too salty, dammit Seattle). Even better was a zucchini pancake with shrimp and smoked chili vinaigrette – sweet and fluffy, with the occasional burst of cilantro. We also enjoyed a piping hot baguette with housemade seaweed butter. It was the perfect synthesis of East and West.
For the main course, I was compelled to order the wild boar spare ribs with spicy Korean barbeque glaze and collard slaw (more of that perfect chard with pickled daikons). The ribs were so tender that the meat slid right off the bone with a poke from my fork. The glaze was sweet and smoky with a little bit of heat, but nothing outrageous. Restraint was further shown in the pickled cucumber kimchi with shitake mushrooms that I ordered on the side. I’ve had some kimchi that was so far off the Scoville heat spectrum as to render it inedible. In fact, I’ve never had kimchi quite like this before, remarkably briny in flavor. Also unique: the housemade soy sauce, which tasted like it was mixed with sriracha or some other red chili paste. I could not get enough of it.
We ordered several other entrees and passed the dishes around the table, including an enormous whole mackerel with smoked tomato puttanesca. The fish was cut down the middle, but otherwise it was all about digging out the fragrant meat and dodging the bones (I’ll be honest, I appreciate the presentation of serving a whole fish, but it’s an awful lot of work to get through one). Additionally: bison and lamb. The bison hanger was served with a garlic chive chimichurri sauce, and while I found the meat a little too chewy for my taste, there was none of the gaminess that I usually associate with buffalo. The lamb sirloin was absolutely perfect, with a subtle spiced yogurt and quince-ginger chutney. Seldom have I experienced lamb that good.
For dessert, the signature “Joule” Box is imperative. Vibrant slices of ruby red grapefruit, bruléed and served over snow white tapioca pearls – utterly original and positively delightful. While we were savoring the sweet and sour of the grapefruit and tapioca, chef Chirchi came out from the kitchen to introduce himself, inquire after the meal and thank us for coming. It was a gracious and authentic gesture, and one that I genuinely appreciate.
All told, it was another wonderful and satisfying experience. I love this city.
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.
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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.
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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.
There’s something about Le Pichet that always makes me feel at home — in France. Whenever I step inside Jim Drohman’s enchanting downtown bistro, I quickly forget my American troubles and my troubles with America and allow myself to travel abroad. This is usually followed by a genuine sigh of relief. The archetypal space is so remarkably authentic, it’s hard not to be completely transported by the illusion. The floor is dotted with small tiles, the walls are hung with old photo frames and chalkboards scrawled in Gallic script, an enormous mirror reflects your image behind the bar. Wine bottles and casks line every horizontal surface. And while Drohman’s second restaurant Café Presse may have completely stolen my heart, Le Pichet will always be my first love.
The dining is not exactly communal, but the small tables for two are arranged so closely together in the cozy space that you will inevitably strike up a conversation with the stranger sitting next to you. “What’d you get?” is not an uncommon icebreaker. Or: “Have you tried the moules-frites…?” Penn Cove mussels with bacon, leeks and saffron. The frites are crispy and golden and taste like Belgium. (They are also the best in town and should not be missed – order them solo with traditional french mayonnaise).
Le Pichet is casual and crowded during lunch, and tends to attract a more upscale scene for dinner. There are certain items on the menu that you can order all day (le casse croûte), and certain dishes that you can only get during the evening. Of these, Drohman’s most famous spécialité de la maison is easily the poulet rôti à votre commande, and for good reason. His remarkable roast chicken is only available upon request, is only served for two, and takes an hour to prepare. Juicy meat, golden crispy skin, seasonal vegetables marinating in savory drippings… it’s everything you dream a roast chicken could be. I’ve heard tell that you can phone in your order in advance, but that seems like blasphemy to me. Enjoy a plate of charcuterie or cheese (or both) and take your time exploring the immense wine list. Why on earth would you want to get back to the States so quickly?
Despite his classical approach, Drohman continues to innovate and expand his technique. I’ve noticed in particular that quite a number of curry dishes have been showing up on the menu lately. During one visit this summer, I was utterly floored by a plate I had never seen before, one salade aux pommes de terre marinées, aux pissenlits et aux lardons (marinated red potatoes tossed with dandelion greens, olives, radish, bacon and red wine vinaigrette). I couldn’t even imagine what this might taste like, so I was quick to order. It was probably the most intense salad I can recall eating. The bitterness of the dandelion greens was countered by the relative sweetness of the vinaigrette and magnified by the spiciness of the radish. The potatoes acted as necessary buffers between each bite of salad explosion. I honestly don’t know if I’d order it again – it was a bit much. More enjoyable were the house-made grilled chipolata sausages with cauliflower and saffron aioli. The coarsely ground pork sausages were hot and spicy and the cauliflower florets were roasted and crispy.
But now as the autumn approaches, I find myself craving the classics – particularly the gratin lyonnais, a simple and delicious french onion soup with gruyère that will warm your heart and fill your stomach. I love Le Pichet. It’s one of a handful of places that truly makes me grateful to live in Seattle.