IMHO, our meal at Art of the Table is the best we've had in Seattle, for overall experience, out of downtown location and indie vibes. On that note, you'll know that I veer away from restaurants with celebrity chefs, progressive cuisine or anything too fancy with their presentation. Art of the Table isn't a pristine uppity fine-dining restaurant. It feels more like your friends' chic dining room (similar to Hong Kong's private kitchen style of dining) that churns out really fantastic food.
We made a reservation for a Saturday evening for their chef-decided degustation menu (a la carte options not available on Saturdays). While they state upfront that they don't deal with dietary requirements for Saturdays, they would be happy to adjust to some. We didn't know what to expect, and didn't bother. Drizzled that evening. Arrived happy and the warm greetings assured us that we would be well taken care of.
They've got a pretty good beer list. But they used to have an even better one. Enough for us though. Fabulous choice of Northwest craft beers. Picked a gorgeous limited edition winter N'Ice Chouffe brewed with thyme and curaçao peel. A dark strong ale. Awesome to begin with. Had to share. It was a 750ml bottle that we weren't willing to inhale on our own. Wanted to try other beers too.
Food was fabulous. Couldn't stop raving about it. It's been a while since I've had such a meal. Of course Art of the Table do the usual farm-to-table fresh selections and artisanal handling of ingredients. Many restaurants in WA do it. It's more like when a restaurant is small, with one head chef with the bandwidth to oversee every process, the curation of flavors would be tighter and more effective.
Chef-owner Dustin, Sous Chef Brennan and Regis in the kitchen boldly paired contrasting flavors into a plate while anchoring bases with familiar favorites. The results were spectacular. Jaded tastebuds came alive this evening.
The man loved 'the reuben'- smoked corned beef brisket, sauerkraut, pickled-mustard sauce, cheese croutons, beef jus. I totally heart that 'cod on shrooms'- neah bay black cod, wild mushrooms fricassee, baby white turnips, pickled cauliflower puree, gribiche vinaigrette. Wine pairing available for this degustation menu, but clearly, we're not wine people. We stuck to the awesome beers.
I even attempted dessert. Caramel-apple terrine, caramelized apples, shortbread, bourbon milk punch ice-cream, crystallized ginger. Apple. I like almost apple-anything if the sugar portions are low. Unfortunately, even this version's sugar was too much for me, but I had a good quarter. Delicious. The man was just very happy. He knew that this could be the only time he got to eat dessert on this trip, next to yoghurt and bits of a cheesecake. Muahahahha. He's a funny thing. He could just order whatever dessert he feels like, but he'd insist on sharing with me, often which I wouldn't want to. He definitely misses his dessert buddies.
The menu was so worth a thorough read. "Put away your cellphone" screamed out at us twice. Tickled that they had to repeat it. Okaaay. There wasn't any wifi provided at the restaurant, so I'd have to go without it. The man still had his US cellphone chockful available data that he could use, and I could leech off. We always check in with our phones anyway. We really don't see a problem with it because as we do that, we comment on whatever that we see and that becomes table conversation. Oh whatever. The phones were obediently put away.