Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Goldfinch Tavern - Seattle

To say I've been looking forward to this restaurant opening is an understatement.  I adore Ethan Stowell establishments, and when I read about the effort put into the perfect french fries, I hoped it would be open for our anniversary.  For our rehearsal dinner, a short twelve years ago, I was dying to have steak and fries for dinner.  Of course my stomach was in too big of a knot that I actually had a bowl of rice, so since then, I've tried to make a point to have steak and fries on the anniversary of our rehearsal dinner every year.  Enter:  Goldfinch Tavern.  It checks so many boxes.  

Goldfinch Tavern is located in the Four Seasons Hotel in downtown Seattle, in the former space of ART.  It goes without saying, the place is beautiful.  Check out the view from our table.  I'll admit it was maybe a little sweaty with the sun beaming in on me, but the view was so lovely that I did not utter a complaint.

Are you kidding me?  I live here, friends. 
Cheers to twelve years of martial bliss! 
Dear Ben wanted to skip the oysters, but I know how very much he loves oysters, and I could not let him pass them up.  Goldfinch has some great oyster options too.  He chose the Penn Cove, Chelsea Gem, and Virginica.  They were out of Penn Coves, and he really didn't care which ones he got, so he said, "Surprise me.".... so they did.  The large one, and the one dressed up in the pic with the red wine mignonette and peppercorn ice, is a Pacific.  This was his favorite of the three, and I can't remember the rest.  

We asked our fabulous server about his favorites from each section of the menu.  The beef tartare was one that he noted, and this was on my radar during the countless times I had studied this menu before arriving. The cucumber relish is what you see atop the beef, and though that sounds simple enough, it was truly much more extraordinary.  I'm finding that so much lately.  Less is more is not just a trite saying your dad says.  I mean, it also comes drizzled with a 12-year scotch, and four thick slices of grilled bread, so this is not merely a simple dish, by any means. Light, fresh, ... I didn't want to seem too eager, but I was.

The Fried Castelvetranos were also on my radar. I don't like chewing around the pit, but I understand this makes it a better olive - and certainly better for frying.  I liked it, but felt all right about offering Dear Ben the last few.

I so, so, so wanted the Hamachi Crudo with chevril and red onion, but guess what?  Dear Ben does not like goat cheese and onions.  So, I took one for the team, and we ordered the Ahi Tuna Poke.  Before you feel sorry for me not getting my first choice, our server shared that he had arrived at restaurant around 2pm that day and saw the kitchen crew cutting the fish a part.  It was fresh.  It was terrific.  Again, no-frills and simply prepared.  There was nothing standing in the way of the raw flavor of the tuna.  No fried wonton strips or chips, just seaweed, a touch of ponzu, paper-thin radish curls, and a sprinkle with sesame seeds. 

The Babe wanted the burger.  He did not want the "kid" burger, but insisted on the adult burger.  A half pound of beef?  Sure, our 5-year old can do it. He asked for the Beechers cheese and housemade pickles to come on the burger, but wanted the onion marmalade on the side - he hears his dad talk about not liking onions too much, perhaps.  Let me just tell you, this burger is amazingly delicious.  Peppery and flavorful. We stole a few bites, and from the look on Dear Ben's face, it looked like he was starting to second guess our order...

... then he tasted the Chef's favorite cut, the Mishima Ranch Wagyu Beef Culotte.

The same spicy pepperiness, with a black currant sauce, tangy wilted greens, and simply fried artichoke hearts. I can't imagine anyone eating the whole portion if you're taking advantage of other parts of this menu, so it's great for sharing.  Of course, we chose the fries for our steak-and-fries-tradition, and they really are stand-out.  I think the Babe's fries were better, ours could have used just one extra minute in the fryer, but life is still pretty great from where we sit.  I don't usually like dill seasoning, so don't be turned off by the "dill fries" in the name.  They have a subtle dill flavor, but the crispy outside and soft inside, make it a site to be beholded - errr, tasted.

Goldfinch Tavern embodies the word "tavern."  It's not just a place where alcoholic beverages are sold, but a place where people from all walks of life can feel comfortable.  Wear your Kate Spade dress or your Levi jeans, and you'll be genuinely welcomed to enjoy the ambiance and fabulous Pacific Northwest fare.  I'm hard to please, but this place is special.  Way to go, Chef Stowell and Chef Ritchie!  Can't wait to continue working my way through the menu while enjoying one of the best views in the city.

*Dined Friday June 26

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