The best meal I’ve had in Seattle since moving here in 2017, and the best meal anywhere since visiting Lyon & Dijon that same year. Great setting. Great service. Sublime cooking. I’ve grown weary of professional restaurant reviewers touting yet another sticky tabled noodle house as some sort of grand culinary experience. Charlotte goes back to the days of creativity and execution I remember from my years living in San Francisco in the late 80’s and early 90’s – days of Jeremiah Tower & Alice Waters fast-forwarded 30 years.
Setting – you’re on the 15th floor of F5 Tower, with essentially half (or more) of the floor dedicated to the lounge & restaurant. The lounge has all these wonderful, well-spaced seating areas with an east and north view, essentially of other downtown buildings. The bar splits the lounge from the restaurant, which faces west towards the Sound. Tables are well spaced (suspect they’d be so even w/o Covid) and most have a great view out towards the water.
Service – highly polished. Attentive w/o being intrusive. Highly professional and very friendly. Able to describe ingredients and preparations when asked. Top notch.
Lounge – wonderful selection of cocktails (and hard liquors, should you have a favorite bourbon or gin). Asian inspired. The guy who mixed up my two cocktails was, in my mind, not a bartender but a mixologist. For those who know Anvil (Houston) or Williams & Graham (Denver), that’s what we’re talking – creative combinations; unique mix of sweet/sour/bitter; excellent preparation. True artists at work here. Oh, and did I mention the smoked whitefish nibbles with homemade potato chips – this was truly out of this world, and got me excited about the rest of the meal.
Dinner – Wagyu beef tartare was wonderfully done. The dollops of kale aioli conjured what it might have been like to have been the steer who gave his life for the dish munching on grass in a wide-open field. A very generous portion, with homemade kale chips serving as the ‘toast chips’ for the tartare. My Chilean sea bass might have been even better – it came plated with a lovely set of accompaniments, including fern cuttings, fava beans and radish. All the flavors go so well together, while being special in their own right. Like the cocktail list, the food is Asian influenced (though with a light and subtle hand). In Europe, the tartare and sea bass entrée would easily be worthy of one Michelin star (if not 2)! Great selection of wines by the bottle or glass, as well as beers, ciders and non-alcoholic options. Finished with a Banana Souffle with Espresso Gelato & Chocolate Sauce – Yum!
I came away very impressed. I also liked the somewhat casual/relaxed vibe – though the food & service is world class, you don’t get a stuffy ‘tuxedoed waiters and white tablecloth’ vibe from the restaurant.
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