Saturday, October 24, 2009

Restaurant Experience: Crush: Seattle, WA!

The great thing about being surrounded by the incredible chefs at the CIA is that they know great chefs in the cities they used to work in.  Luckily CIA-Greystone has former Seattle-area and now Napa Valley-transplant Chef Scott Samuel (  So, who do you ask for experiential dining recommendations when going to Seatlle for the first time..............none other than Chef Scott!

First on his recommendation list was the restaurant of husband and wife team, Chef Jason and Nicole Wilson. Chef Wilson's accolades include being named 2009 Rising Star Chef from and Crush is at the forefront of the Northwest farm to table movement and builds its menu around seasonality and freshness. I hope you were right on this one Chef Scott! Here goes............notice the Mrs. is waiting politely for the door to be opened for her. My pleasure.
The initial awe factor of the restaurant was based around the Shelly Buurman designed decor and the Verner Panton furniture. Actually, I don't know what any of that means, but the Mrs. had a ball on "Modern Furniture Row" on Western Avenue all day so I thought I would include some HGTV lingo that I had learned. Enough about that, welcome to Crush. Waiting to greet us was none other than Nicole Wilson herself,  maitre d' for the evening. You know the evening will go well when the owner shows you to your seat.

Out first, compliments of Chef Wilson was an Amuse of Honey-Maple Vinaigrette with Salmon Roe and Creme Fraiche. These food descriptions will be close guesstimates as I didn't land a menu for later review. Oh well,  I guess I will just have to use a little culinary intuition.

All loyal readers should be familiar with these. Classic French fine dining at its best, the Cave Aged Gruyere Cheese Gougeres. Out also came a couple glasses of Washington's own, Chateau St. Michelle Reisling. A favorite New World Reisling of mine!

I feel that their is no nicer gesture than for a chef to send his guests complimentary courses. It doesn't matter if it is a Coffee and Donuts at The French Laundry to end a gourmand experience, or something as little as an extra Chicken Nugget in your McDonald's to-go-order. Chef's know how to take care of people who show genuine interest in their craft. From the kitchen, Tuna Sashimi and Tuna Tartare. Thank you Chef.

First Course Appetizers, Seared Pork Belly with Rum-soaked Golden Raisins and Farmer's Cheese Polenta.

and Duck Breast and Pinata Apple Salad with Candied Hazelnuts, Blue Cheese, Frisee, and Endive.

Less is a good way to impress and this dish, compliments of Chef Wilson, was full of flavor. Butter Poached Lobster and Potato Gnocchi with Coral Butter, Tahitian Vanilla, and Orange.

Everyone always asks how we can taste any of the deliciousness pictured on this blog after so many courses. Here lies an example of the classic palate cleanser. Tangerine Sorbet with Mint Gastrique and Fresh Fruit. You don't have to have a Master's degree in Sensory Science to understand the phenomenon of sensory adaptation, but if you do, you greatly appreciate the thoughfulness of the chef in preparing you for the invigorating experience of the main course to come.

Main Courses: Washington Sturgeon, Braised Kale, and Butternut Squash Puree. Hints of fall throughout this dish! A little bit too light for my uber-oaky Napa Chardonnay, but even oak reminds me of the fall!

and Flat Iron Steak with Pomme Puree and Garden Carrots. One of your Napa Cabernet Sauvignion's, please.

Cheese course: Perhaps Edam.......with Walnut Croutons, Baked Figs, and Spiced Apple Compote.

Dessert: Chocolate Frangipane Tart. The Walnofer's can't go home with out their sweets.

Mignardise's of House-made Marshmallow's and a Chocolate-dipped Madeleine.  I forget that I can't leave chocolate lying around the Mrs.
Overall, Crush is one of the best restaurants I've had the pleasure to dine at while out here on the west coast.  If you are ever in Seatlle, tell your cabbie to take you to 2319 E. Madison Street. Crush will not dissapoint.

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