The wintry weather has me reminiscing back to the long daylight hours of Seattle summers. A special day this September was spent exploring Vashon Island, eating lunch on the beach, watching planes take off, stopping for tea and fresh-baked madeleines at a family friend's, and of course taking in the beautiful moonlit ferry ride back home.
On our last trip to Marseille, we made sure to stop by La Passarelle, a restaurant we discovered while roaming around the city three years earlier. You can see my post about that here.
Every day, they write the new menu in a notebook and share it with you when you arrive at your table.The food at La Passarelle is simple, unpretentious, and fresh. (They even have their own garden.) You can expect to order items like a satisfying savory tart, a crisp salad, or a perfectly-cooked piece of meat.
It wouldn't be La France without a plate of cheese to round out the meal.
Seattle's culinary scene includes many East and Southeast Asian food establishments: authentic mom-and-pop places in the ID (International District), "fusion" joints (whatever that means), and everything in between. Revel is Korean-inspired, and Chef Yang's heritage plays a big role in the dishes, while her husband's French-trained culinary education finds its way through the food as well, albeit subtly. I rarely venture from my predictable menu choice here, and consistently order the short rib rice bowl for dinner. I'm not too tempted to try another main course, not because I don't think I'll like them, but because the rice bowl is precisely why I go to Revel. It balances five main ingredients: daikon, short ribs, mustard greens, rice, and an egg so that each flavor and texture lends itself to the next. The crunchy, pickled daikon complements the tender, cooked-to-perfection short rib, and the rice and egg round out the dish. Before digging in, I judiciously slather the red hot sauce over the rice and stir my bowl, making sure the egg has coated everything evenly (the above picture is how the dish looks when ordered).
The short rib rice bowl at Revel is a dish that I crave quite often. Luckily for me, it's a menu mainstay.I do like to be more adventurous when it comes to side dishes and recently tried a seasonal carrot pancake when ordering take-out from here. It came with a lemon-yogurt dressing and was the perfect fall appetizer. You also can't go wrong if you order the corned lamb salad with spicy nuoc cham dressing.
The other highlight of Revel is their dessert selection. They base each month around a theme: candy, cookies, etc. I always look forward to the new dessert menu because I know that it will feature something I've never seen before in Seattle. With the recent departure of the insanely talented pastry chef Laura Pyles (she's off to open her own place!!), I hope that the new creations will be just as exciting and delicious. If last month's menu is any indiction (chai semifreddo with poached pear and fried chocolate), I don't think I'll be disappointed.
Revel is located at 403 N 36th St. in Seattle's Fremont neighborhood
My favorite appetizer was the fromage blanc crostini with pickled cherries and honey. It brought together delicious flavors of the northwest in a lovely bite-sized treat. We also enjoyed arugula-chickpea fritters with blueberry-lemon creme fraiche as well as white anchovy wrapped melon and pickled pepper.
As we moved from appetizers to the rest of the meal, each course was paired with a lovely wine. This was one of my favorite courses of the night: hamachi yellowtail crudo with strawberries, black pepper, shaved fennel, and lime dressing. The pinot gris from Oregon complemented this dish wonderfully.
Yet another amazing course, an heirloom tomato crostata, complete with the flakiest crust imaginable.
Can you say peaches? Next, we had grilled beef ribeye (cooked in the garden while we enjoyed the earlier courses!) served with caramelized peaches, bourbon, and rosemary. Yum.
The long table was decorated with beautiful sunflowers.This was another winner: a nectarine, wild huckleberry, arugula, and hot coppa salad with pinenuts. It incorporated sweet, sour, and spicy elements all in one dish- the perfect salad for someone (namely moi) who can never decide between savory or sweet.
By the end of the evening, we were almost full to the brim, but of course we made room for dessert: a blackberry budino with whipped mascarpone and almond cake. The mascarpone was whipped like fluffy clouds and the tart blackberries were a nice foil to the dense, nutty cake.
I really enjoyed the family-style setting as it allowed us to speak with strangers. The dinner was sold-out at 22 people, however, so there were many that we didn't have a chance to speak with. Perhaps it would have been nice to have an introductory "hello" at the beginning of the meal, but all-in-all, it was a lovely evening spent with a great community of people.
These family dinners are held throughout the year, but sell out quickly so make sure and sign up as soon as they're announced!
The Pantry at Delancey is located at 1417 NW 70th St in Seattle