Now that we have all of the formality of a new blog out of the way, how about posting about something meaningful. Robin and I sometimes look for new dining options on Friday evenings, and this past Friday we decided to take DailyCandy up on their recommendation regarding a new restaurant in West Seattle called Fresh Bistro. The restaurant comes from the Herban Feast catering team, including executive chef Dalis Chea (trained at Le Cordon Bleu CA-Portland, and worked previously @ Canlis), who we later met.
We walked in and were asked if we’d liked to sit at the kitchen bar, which we of course almost never turn down. Our view of the inner workings of the kitchen couldn’t have been more perfect, and Kevin Kelly (pictured above) one of the chef de partie (Line cooks) was super friendly and we began to immediately probe him as he prepped some of the dishes. Amanda one of the hostesses welcomed us, and recognized our passion. I was taken back by the beer menu, as I haven’t seen a respectable restaurant in Seattle put Samuel Smith beers on the menu, and the Oatmeal Stout (one of my top 5 beers of all time) sat flat in the middle of it. I ordered a big bottle of the Sam Smith Organic lager, which I hadn’t tasted. Talk about first impressions! Robin ordered a Mural cocktail, dedicated to the building’s residents.
In a matter of minutes Chef Kelly, and Dalis placed 2 amuse bouches at our counter. One was a delicious sweet potato and dungeness crab cakes with chipotle remoulade, smoked paprika and chive oil. The other comprised 2 shigoku oysters topped with shallot cavier (yes, the homemade mol. gastro kind). The oysters were as crisp and refreshing as I remembered them from our Chiso Kappo Sukiyaki event (click here and here for more on that) and the shallot kick was a nice touch. We noticed they also serve a flamed oyster dish, as Kevin was using a torch in prepping an order.
We decided we’d order a few small plates first, and then share a main. This way we could try 2 different glasses of wine, and have room for dessert, if room allowed. The shiso crusted honey pecan prawns with green mango slaw, candied pecans, and sriacha foam was interesting, and put a big smile on Robin’s face as she has a special place for shrimp. The prawns weren’t overly battered, and the green mango cut into the flavors well. The other plate was quite a bit richer, so I’m glad we ordered a seafood dish adjacent to it. The Berkshire pork bellies came braised in 5 spices, with fried chickpea cakes, dijon semi, and sweet mustard seeds. The bellies were diced up into little stripes, and I thought the sweet mustard seeds complimented the salty pork perfectly. We were recommended to pair the Finca El Tesso Tempranillo (2007) with the pork, and the Verdejo Martina Prieto Pariente (2007) with the prawns. Both pairings were solid, and we were pleased to get 2 glasses we hadn’t tried, both of which were well made wines, although I’ve had better tempranillos for cheaper.
For our main we decided we’d order the chicken dish. Something we rarely order when out to eat, because we feel like we’d rather have something a bit more elegant, and we cook it at home often enough. What caught our eye about this dish? The red wine rhubarb gastrique, and the fact that it was poussin, something we don’t often have…after much back and forth with Dalis and our waiter telling us the kitchen was out-no wait we have one more left for you all, we tasted. The dish came as a pretty rich chicken dish given the star anise-infused brine, but the rhubarb gastrique’s tartness balanced the dish.
Dessert isn’t something we often order, especially if they have no official pastry chef on hand. Robin can bake pretty damn well, and many times we find an utter lack of creativity in this department. Fresh Bistro surprised us, big time, in the dessert department. For several reasons we ended up with three desserts out in front of us. All of which were enjoyable. The coffee and creme bread pudding with hazelnut creme anglaise. The “Frozen Trio” contained smoked almond ice cream, cherry marscapone sherbet, and ginger black sorbet. The step-by-step from one icy treat to the next was a great journey from rich and creamy, to tart, to sweet. But…the highlight dessert was a creme brulee. Creme brulee is about as easy to make as a bowl of cereal, honestly. But Maya Barber-Kurose created a fantastic surprise with this one. Dalis watched me intently as I dug into it. It was basil and cherry tomato! Wow! After all the rich food, I couldn’t have asked for more pleasant refreshing finish, and a surprise. I gave him a high 5, as I haven’t had a more interesting dessert in Seattle, in a long time!
The staff at Fresh Bistro are outgoing and are having quite a bit of fun for their first week open. I think now is a good time to mention that they tend to use sustainable, fresh, farm-to-table ingredients, and that in our view they will be giving the other restaurant in West Seattle (of similar style) some solid competition this summer, as people will be looking for fun places to dine, and eat seasonal fare.
4725 42nd Ave SW
Seattle, WA 98116