Yum! This place is consistently excellent - this was our 2nd visit for dinner during the Twenty-Five for $25 promotion, and as before, everything was superb.
The restaurant has a great location, right on Lake Washington with a wonderful view. It's definitely a posh place, normally too expensive for me to visit except for special occasions. The Beach Cafe downstairs is a nice choice if you want a less formal meal. The service was very good, right from the moment we walked in. The maitre d' made welcomed us promptly, offered to take our coats and ushered us to our table. Our waitress was great - friendly and prompt, but not intrusive or trying too hard to be friendly.
(At one place that shall remain nameless the waitress thinks it's a good idea to grab your shoulder or praise you for each order as if you're in kindergarten and just ate all your peas!)
- Seven-spice calamari. Served with a scallion aioli and spicy soy dipping sauce.
- Sole fillets with broccolini, mashed potatoes and crispy fried onions.
- Cheese platter (Penazul, St. Andre, La Leyenda)
- Bibb lettuce salad
- Jalapeno and cilantro ravioli
- Meyer lemon meringue
All the food was delicious. My calamari was crispy on the outside, not oily, and tender on the inside. The aioli was minimally spread under the calamari, but added a nice rich flavour, and the dipping sauce was the perfect counterpoint. The sole fillets were nice and thick, firm and tasty. Excellent mash and broccolini, and the crunchy onions not only made a nice garnish, they tasted good too. The cheese plate was incredibly good - the three cheeses were at the perfect stage of ripeness, just the right temperature, and served with a yummy dried fruit preserve and almonds. My only small peeve was that the waitress didn't clue me in to which cheese was which.
For future referrence:
- Penazul: Spanish blue cheese. Buttery, sharp and tangy.
- St. Andre: French triple-creme soft cheese. Rich, mild, but more flavour than brie or camembert.
- La Leyenda: Firm Spanish sheep's mild cheese aged for one year (rubbed with oil and herbs) and then soaked in solera brandy for 4-5 days. Nutty and crumbly.
Alyssum was also very happy with her food. (She usually gets stuck with no real option at these dinners, being a vegeterian). Her salad was very simple, just really fresh good lettuce, good blue cheese crumbled on top, and a nice dressing. Still, getting something this simple right is an art. Her ravioli was very tasty - a nice creamy sauce and good flavour from the peppers without the heat. Her dessert was very good - meringue that was crunchy on the oustide but not overdone and powdery inside, nice lemon curd, and an interesting pastry with poppy seeds top. The cream was a little unneccessary, but that's a small niggle.