Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Expensive dinner.

Today was a rainy day in Seattle, and I wasn't feeling so well, so we mostly stayed in, which has its own pleasures within a vacation context. I'm reading a very interesting book (published by Felony & Mayhem Press, how great is that?), and I also just bought and started that book called French Theory: How Foucault, Derrida, Deleuze, & Co. Transformed the Intellectual Life of the United States. Both the historian and I subscribe to the philosophy of vacationing that allows for chilling out in the vacation location, as opposed to the "you can read that book when you get home" philosophy, the "action-vacation" philosophy.

Anyway, around dinner time, it was raining pretty hard, so we decided to go across the street to one of the restaurants right on Lake Union. That's alert one, by the way, if you're trying to decide whether a restaurant is expensive--is it right on the lake where there are a bunch of yachts harbored? (Alert two: just look at the prices on the menu, of course.) But we went in anyway, and were seated in a really lovely dining room looking directly out at the lake, where the water was rough and the rain was falling with some intensity, and there was also a Tuesday regatta going on--sailboats, wind, rain, perfect.

The menu was expensive. As in, Ex.Pen.Sive. As in, it kind of made us laugh. But we decided to stay and eat, and ultimately there were some good things on the menu and lots of exquisitely prepared vegetables and salads, not to mention things like mussels and clams in a green curry broth. Not that that hasn't been done before, but it can be done well, and at this restaurant, it was. The salad was made of beautiful local lettuces--truly gorgeous, a purple lettuce that was almost black, with a lemon vinaigrette. It was pretty much a perfect salad, not overpriced, the kind of thing a certain type of restaurant can do impeccably. This was a crab house with a side mission of expensive steak. Anyway: we ordered our food, it was all very good, maybe overpriced by about 20%? Maybe 25%?

But the most hilarious thing about this place was the service. Lots of servers, and a hierarchy of servers and staff, all of whom were very serious about how good your dinner is and that you think so. We had a main waiter, who was excellent. There was a water guy, and then other servers who filled in as water guys when our glasses were emptying. There was a maitre d' host, and then another guy whom I would have pegged as the maitre d'host, except the other guy was clearly that guy, so maybe the intermediate guy was, like, Quality Control. Sort of an entrepreneurial, "is everything at Nirvana level?" guy, an independent source of information. At one point, in the space of about two minutes, we had like four people come by to check on us.

Also hilarious: with the awesome sourdough bread that is ubiquitous at seafood restaurants in Seattle, they brought out a tiny square plate with a triangular slice of sweet butter, over which was sprinkled pink Hawaiian sea salt. I laughed (only after the waiter had left), but it was kind of delicious, and don't think I won't copy it sometime when I feel like being extra fancy at some dinner party of my own.


  1. sounds like a fun vacation. Must eat at least one expensive meal per vaca. Remember the meal at the Tower in the National Museum of Scotland?

  2. nice! i'm loving the butter thing...

  3. Need to remember your chilling out vs. action vacations. We just returned from St. George, pretty much an a.v. (two hikes and one mt bike ride, two of which required some planning and negotiating) though I did finish Dune.

  4. Oh man, I just bought this smoked salt in Grand Rapids that you can smell from two houses away.
    I hope Seattle is drier than it is here!



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