Thursday, September 15, 2005

Dinner @ 8: Purple Cafe, Kirkland

A group of 7 went to the Purple Cafe in Kirkland last night for dinner. They're part of the Dinner at 8 promotion running in September. The place was packed (even more than usual) but we had a reservation and they seated us promptly. The noise level was a little uncomfortable, and made talking hard, but hopefully they'll return to normal after the promotion is over.

This place is a great choice for wine lovers. Their wine list is extensive, and they have a huge selection of wines by the glass, so you can explore new wines without committing to a whole bottle. That said, we decided to get a bottle to share: Folie a Deux Menage a Trois (2003 I think, around $30 at the restaurant). This was a very smooth, soft red with not much structure or character, but very easy to drink. Definitely a decent wine, but nothing exceptional.

I decided to order off their main menu, and had the crab wontons to start, then the lobster macaroni bake. The wontons were very good (a little oily), but the sauce they were served with was an odd choice and didn't work in my opinion. (It was a creamy ranch-style sauce with not much flavour. I'd have preferred an asian soy/citrus/ginger/chilli concoction.) The lobster bake was disappointing - it very oily and had very little cheese flavour - I expected a good rich cheese sauce, instead there was a oil-slick at the bottom of the dish. The lobster was good, though. The final nail in the coffin was the presentation - topped with deep-fried carrot and leek jullienne, and so hot that about 30 mins later I was still waiting for each mouthful to cool down before I could eat it. I'd avoid the deep-fried garnish and use a wider, shallower baking dish so it cools quicker.

Other ordered from the $20 fixed menu, and seemed to like their food. A ordered an apple and stilton salad to start and a pesto pasta for mains, which were both very good. Finally, the desserts looked good, although no-one seemed to rave about them. Our server forgot to ask me or A about dessert, so we didn't have any, and also never checked to see how we were enjoying our food, so service was spotty. (Skipping dessert probably was better for the waist-line though...)

Overall, an average meal out, made memorable by the nice wine and company. (It turns out we can get into quite a frenzy talking about Judge Roberts and his Supreme Court nomination).

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