Written by on April 21, 2010 in I Eat Seattle, I Eat...Out with 0 Comments

(emmerandrye.com) – Upper Queen Anne (top of QA Hill)
How I heard of this place: The exact way I heard of emmer&rye baffles my mind. It remains a mystery, but somehow I knew of it and knew I had to try it. When I found it on the Seattle Restaurant Week list of restaurants, it was a done deal.
Type of cuisine: Seasonally inspired and locally derived cuisine. According to their website, Emmer is a celebration of our reliance upon natural, interconnected systems. Rye’s peppery punch is both classic and contemporary. Rye is a celebration of our varied American heritage. The story of emmer&rye began with a vision of the connection between food and community.
Ambiance: A cozy, Victorian home, where patrons are greeted in the foyer and seated in one of the many small but open rooms. Colors are very warm with food-inspired photo frames placed under antique wall-mounted lights. Dark wood floors and doors are reminiscent of an elderly man’s reading room or den. A space where men would gather to drink bourbon and enjoy intellectual conversations.
What I ordered: Before our meals, we ordered shucked oysters, bacon, smoked porter mignonette off of the small plates menu($5). We also ordered a board of artisanal cheeses, apricot bread and apple membrillo ($12 for four). Taking advantage of Seattle Restaurant Week, I ordered the roasted sunchokes and fingerling potatoes black truffle aioli (as did two of my other dining companions). The fourth in our party ordered the creamy parsnip soup with nettle-mint puree and toasted hazelnuts. For the main course, I opted for the wild salmon dressed with a radish and parsley salad and served with three large asparagus spears. Two of the others in our party ordered the warm goat cheese, farro fries, spinach and d’angou pear salad. Our fourth dining companion chose from the traditional menu rather than selecting off of the three course prix fixe: gathered & grown mushroom tart with goat cheese, leeks, spinach and pears. For dessert we ordered all three of the fixed price menu desserts: a mini butterscotch pot de creme with fresh whipped cream and an oatmeal cookie. The second dessert: rocky road brownie with marshmallow squares and roasted hazelnuts served over a drizzle of caramel. Our grand finale: rhubarb shortcake with rhubarb compote and syrup.
What I loved: I loved the setting, the comfort of a home, the company and the experience as a whole. Food-wise, I fell in love with the rustic presentation of the four cheeses and specifically the sharp Wisconsin cheddar. The salmon was beautifully seared crisp, remaining moist on the inside. The spinach was also very fresh and rustic. The black truffle aoili, while slightly on the salty side, was the perfect complement to the sunchokes and fingerling potatoes with roasted garlic. The mushroom tart was delicate, lightly pungent with the goat cheese and full of mushrooms. One of our dining companions, after trying the cheeses, exclaimed: “If I were a cow and had to make cheese…[I’d combine the flavor of the cheddar and the blue in the texture of the truffled brie].”
Why I loved it: It is always enjoyable to try a new restaurant and have only good things to say! Our server was all smiles, as were the hosts and the busser. It’s a beautiful site to find employees that are happy in their jobs and at ease in their work. As the restaurant filled up, it was delightful to see other neighborhood patrons in this neighborhood establishment and full of joy, eager to sample the gustatory delights of chef Seth Caswell and his kitchen staff.
Cost: Three course fixed price menu for $25? Awesome.

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