Sunday, May 19, 2013

The Whale Wins in Seattle

It is 8:30pm and it is still Light
Fresh Ingredients
I got into Seattle at 7:30pm this week and what is always very cool about the PNW is that it stays light so late, this was fortunate because my GPS took me along the Alaskan Highway and I got a great view of the sun setting against the clouds and the Seattle Harbor Ferris Wheel.  Tonight we had planned to go to Joule which was a 2011 James Beard Finalist when I got there I was pleasantly surprised it was in the same building and sharing the same foyer as The Whale Wins.  We had a reservation at Joule but they were running to late so we grabbed the counter at The Whale Wins.  The are different owners, different kitchens.   The restaurant is a summer cottage with a fresh openness and lots of lighting with a series of lights that spell HELLO.  The Executive Chef is #Renee Erickson who was ironically written up in the WSJ this weekend for her Steamers, also The Whale Wins is a 2013 James Beard Semifinalist so we were in for a treat..  Our Server Jermaine introduced himself and made us feel right at home.
Sardines, Spencer's Favorite
PNW Guacamole
Bone Marrow
Let's get to the menu and meal, the menu is very simple and very accommodating to someone that wants to build their own taste.  There are small plates of most of the entrees so you can get a bit of everything and share a little of everything and walk away without spending a lot.  We started out pedestrian with some Olives and a Dish of Stilton with Boat Street Pickled Raisins.  Boat Street is a Chef's own brand of pickled fruit  The Stilton with the Pickled Raisins are a dish that just melded perfectly and gave you the Creamy, Tarty Sweet taste.  We next had a Bowl of Hama Hama Steamed Clams with Fresh Sorrel, Tarragon, Creme Fraiche, Lentils and Urfa Biber.  The Urfa Biber had a good heat and the Sorrel and Tarragon were Fresh and added a bite to the dish.  there was plenty of Sour Dough bread to soak up the savory broth.  There were several creative dishes but the best was the Asparagus with smashed Avocado on a Caraway Cracker sprinkled with Pickled Mustard Seed and Poppy Seeds.  It was kind of a new age PNW Guacamole.  The Caraway, Mustard and Poppy Seed made the dish pop with the freshness of the grilled Asparagus and Avocado Smash.  The last round of food was the Roasted Pork shoulder served like a Porchetta with Willowood Farms Greens and Rockwell Beans the Pork was very tender a very good dish.  Spencer ordered the Sardines which I believe David and I felt he was on his own.  Spencer's review was that they were great dish and he ate the entire dish b himself .  Our last shared dish was the Painted Hills Bone Marrow, this dish was creamy and savory, the work load is a little like eating a Lobster but the taste is amazing.  Who ever thought 5 years ago you could fire roast Bone Marrow and make a meal of it.
As many of you know I usually do not order desert but Jermaine talked us into the Butter Baked Zucchini Bread and Spencer wanted the Labneh Tart, Labneh is a Middle Eastern Yogurt Cheese.  Both were great in their own right. 
Overall the dinner experience is as good as anywhere but different from everywhere because the menus is so varied. Some of the food is like you are camping at a four star campground, everything is as fresh as it can be from the Pacific Northwest.