Steak. It is something that is universally appreciated (well except among vegetarians, vegans, and certain types of Hindus), though there are people into dining like myself that view steak as the equivalent of a food "cop-out" as even though it's good, it's something typically and usually enjoyed by either dilettantes or simpletons who are nowhere near being engaged in food as much as dining enthusiasts do. Those two types of people only view food as a source of nutrition but otherwise would view steak as an "extremely fabulous" dining experience whereas although dining enthusiasts like myself do greatly appreciate once in a while when we're in the mood to acknowledge the complexity of the simplicity of food, we would much rather choose foods with obvious dining complexities such as multiple courses of contemporary French cuisine, and even sushi where it's deceivingly simple but truly a complex food itself with actually extensive means of preparation to get where it's at unlike some naive individuals who simply think "it's just cut up fish on rice". In addition, the former types of people are simply one-noted, just like the food they are experiencing when eating steak that even they don't truly appreciate steak for what it really is. They bring it onto themselves as because they have such simple palates and only view steak simply as "delicious" without caring for other components (unless if they're true steak purists) such as those in extensively prepared dishes with multiple ingredients, their simple palates truly reflect their simple and uninteresting personalities; basically, they are what they eat. Before I get a comment of "just eat your damn steak", I do have to note my quip with "steak people" as they are the ones who I interact with in my personal life that ignorantly mocks me nor appreciates and do not give respect to the foods I eat (whether it's multi-course high-end gastronomy, sushi, or even foods of different cultures such as Chinese (and I mean real Chinese and not any of that "orange chicken"Americanized stuff), Vietnamese, or Filipino cuisines that those not familiar (referring to the simpletons and dilettantes) would go "eeewww" like a bunch of 5 year olds). They are usually the kind of people of whom I usually associate as people not only of opposite backgrounds along with their likes and dislikes, these are the people who I clearly cannot get along with as they usually are composed of people who like conservative and far right politics & other political beliefs, Pop music with no true artistic expression, trashy reality television shows, any sport (a big one), and other non-intellectual topics that cater to the ignorant masses (of which these people are a part of); oh and they're big bullies as well - a type of people who I really hate, or even just the type who would be bystanders who would "let evil triumph when good people do nothing". In addition, these people don't like to broaden their spectrum by being cultured and informed of situations outside of their protective bubble that they would perhaps even hostilely "protect themselves" by not wanting to try new things such as different cuisines; it's sad that they would be hostile to not want to try a bite of say, real nigiri sushi instead of the abominations topped with mayo and avocado while they stick to their grilled cheeses and mayonnaise sandwiches. I also imagine this situation of my disdain for "anti-foodies" (we gotta give them a name - people who have pathetically simple palates while they ignorantly mock those who eat unfamiliar cuisines other than a freaking Big Mac, in addition to rudely and hypocritically making fun of those who take pictures of food in order to actually get the pictures on the internet so that people could be better informed of where they're about to eat at while they make an exception for Selfies as for some reason, that's totally cool with them while taking pictures of food is "laughable") is applicable and relatable to not only my readers, but other dining enthusiasts as well. It is just so sad and oddly fascinating that a certain people who simply like steak and not appreciate anything else could be associated with such a backward demographic. Even so and despite my disdain, I am here to cover a fine end steak restaurant that actually caters to the true dining enthusiasts, while they may be very well infiltrated by the anti-foodies who may, for the better, see the light of a truly well-prepared dish, or groan like the troglodytes they are while at best be all like "that was interestingly alright". In addition to covering high-end French and Sushi restaurants, I am open to trying steak restaurants and covering them for my blog. Like what I preach, I should too be open-minded by trying steak restaurants and to understand steak purists and their passions, and maybe even understand what's going on in the mind of an anti-foodie.
Before I cover the oysters, I ordered one of their signature cocktails which were the Catch-22 that consisted of primarily of Calvados, Cardamaro - an artichoke-like wine based liquor, and Benedictine - a more herbal and sweeter liquor primary of the herbs Angelica, Hyssop and Lemon Balm; it was very delicious with herbaceous notes that accompanied well with the deep and apple flavors of the calvados as instead of getting the Eau de Vie from wine, it gets it from cider and then ages it to make calvados instead of cognac. It was a very delicious drink indeed despite it being earthy and darker that would better make it a cocktail later in the meal vs those made with clear spirits like a Martini. Also in the beginning of the meal, the friendly bartender/server/oyster shucker at the front asked if I wanted flat or sparkling or even tap water to accompany my meal and cocktail. If you know me personally, you know I almost always lean towards having sparkling as flat water, especially unchilled (from learning about atomic bonds from my physical chemistry courses, water when chilled into a solid, the bond length actually grows vs when it's a liquid which is something that you notice when water expands when it freezes - with that being said, I assume that the water feels lighter, less dense which is why people would much rather drink it cold than the obviously refreshing aspect of being colder thus drawing heat away from the body, as it feels less heavy on the mouth), feels heavier in the mouth which along with the much lighter carbon dioxide within the water makes sparkling water feel much lighter in the mouth than with plain flat water. Though it is a very large brand which might make it seem "less special to some" due to the commonality of the product, I must stay that regardless, I'm a huge fan of San Pellegrino that it's always a treat for me to drink the everso bubbly and distinctly flavored sparkling mineral water from Italy, which probably why it became so well known and the most likely used sparkling water available among restaurants along with its everso popular historical presence throughout modern times; certainly an elegant water that elevates the dining experience (and if you're under 21 that wants to impress his date with something special to drink, order that; definitely beats getting one's older brother to buy and sneak in a 6-pack of PBR).
Going from the right of the spoon handle in the pic above as if you're starting at the 1:00 position and going clockwise, I ordered one of each oyster and their position from the pic goes on as follows in referring which oyster is what: Baywater Sweet, Kumamoto, Samish Pearl, Hammersley Inlet, Sea Cow, Hama Hama, and Treasure Cove. Sorry I cannot comment on each oyster distinctly but I remember that all of the oysters were refreshing and delicious, and also that the medium-sized ones had more "juice" to them which meant there was more liquid inside them which made it more pleasant in terms of eating experience. One thing I can definitely say is that I greatly prefer the mignonette sauce and horseradish pairings from the Walrus and the Carpenter for their oysters than I do with the Cucumber mignonette at Bar Melusine. I'm not sure if Bar Melusine has the same sauces as with The Walrus and the Carpenter, but if so, it would certainly make the former a much ideal detour in order to experience the best Seattle raw oyster experience. If you don't know already or haven't experienced the following nor have dined there, there is a huge freaking wait at The Walrus and the Carpenter; by wait, I mean like 1 hour at least (going to be around two hours (and even longer if you're with a big group - I don't recommend going there with a big group as there will be those who will get cranky from the wait and your group will break down and want to eat somewhere else desipte them not knowing nor caring how epic of an expereience eating oysters are at The Walrus and The Carpenter)) if you arrive there around 5-7 pm at peak dinner hours which should be common sense to arrive any restaurant at or before 6 (but even more so before 5 for The Walrus and the Carpenter). With that said, there are those who certainly are a fan of the restaurant itself but not their massive wait times; so if Bar Melusine has their accompaniments for their Oysters, Bar Melusine is a secret alternative to bypass the wait at The Walrus and The Carpenter. But if they don't have the same what is assumed to be Champagne Mignonette, then, in my opinion, you won't have the same experience with eating raw oysters at Bar Melusine than you would at the preferable The Walrus and the Carpenter. With that said, that's how personally I find the mignonette to be better than the cucumber mignonette. Chances are that most likely they don't have it in order to keep the flavors and aspects of The Walrus and the Carpenter distinct vs its sister restaurant, and so that people would still go for the former restaurant and make them endure the wait. If you know Bar Melusine actually offers TWATC's champagne mignonette and other accompaniments, then please comment below. Otherwise if you're fine with the Cucumber Mignonette as it's fine even though I greatly prefer the one at the other restaurant, Bar Melusine is still a great alternative, and something for those that love drinking as it's a bar (obviously in its name) that also wants to provide drinks and cocktails for the wonderful raw oyster dining experience rather than to be annoyingly judged by your non-drinking friends who look down on you and inacurately label you as an "alcoholic" (real alcoholism involves being obsessed with drinking 24/7 that you disregard something important such as your job and to take care of your kids in order to drink) if you drink (while they hypocritically throw their judgements aside by drinking alcohol when someone they like or want to impress is there instead). With that being said, the oysters were highly delicious and still preferable to many places in Seattle offering Pacific NW oysters harvested from the same or nearby areas of WA state.
After going down on those delicious oysters, I had then received the Roasted Salmon with Rockwell Beans, Crème Fraîche, and Shallots. The dish itself is really hearty despite the salmon being overcooked and a bit hard; the salmon was still delicious although it did have a slight offputting fishy taste. What was great about the dish was that the Crème Fraîche provided a butteriness to the dish neutralizing the fishy flavors while adding flavors of butter on the palate while tasting the good delicious flavors of the salmon itself (or the "good fishy" kind without the rotting ammonia when a fish breaks down into smelly flavors and tastes when it is expired past a certain point; to be clear, even the bad fishy taste of the dish wasn't as bad to that point and was delicious overall as it was just overcooked). In order to feel full, the beans added a nice touch, along with being a great component to give a hearty-like stew feeling. And right before I ordered a Hibiki 12 year scotch by Suntory (the one in "Lost in Translation"), the hostess from Bateau next door (well, there's an open hallway actually that connects the two restaurants) actually came up to me and said that a table opened up that there was a cancellation, so I can have a steak from their limited quantity from the day, along with me telling her that I'll be out by 6:30pm in order to catch the Bourdain show at The Paramount; what a miracle!
So when I finally started to sit down, there were servers from Bateau that noticed and one had even congratulated me where she'd said, "When we give a table when we're busy, it turns out that the person's been really kind and polite to us staff" (for the record, some of you people should develop actual people skills as I do witness some immature, entitled behavior within high/mid-range restaurants that is ultimately rude to the staff while tainting the atmosphere for the rest of the customers in the building itself); afterwards, she high-fived me. With that happening, I now realized how much I've made a mistake for not reserving the place for myself weeks ahead as I thought I could have walked into the place for one; Bateau is one of the hottest restaurants in Seattle as of now (and still is after a year since its opening) that not even a reservation for one is guaranteed. After getting comfortable, I then received this what I remembered to be an aged bone-marrow appetizer with some sort of gravy. This certainly was very rich tasting with intense earthiness and umami while of course is loaded with beef flavor. As I was very excited and appreciative of this amuse bouche, I later learned from looking at the Bateau-geotagged Instagram pics that they change their amuse bouches which certainly is an ever so exciting treat every time, that's if you're living in Seattle and in the midst of transitioning to being a regular of this restaurant.
Before I continue further, the hostess actually had approached me with the list of whatever steaks were still available for the day when I was still sitting at Bar Melusine before I would walk over to a table at Bateau. Immediately, I chose a Carlton Farms 6 oz Filet Mignon served Black and Blue, topped with their famous Bone Marrow butter; along with their much talked about mashed potatoes. The hostess realized then that I was not kidding when I had promised I'd order quick and not be inconveniencing towards them and kept my word on that.
This steak was amazing! The flesh had that nuanced yet deep umami while the charred exterior without it being overkill complements each other in both ways. One being texture where the charred, slightly chewy & perhaps something like a near crunch provided a nice sensation to bite into while your tongue is experiencing the smooth flesh of the blue inside. The other being flavor as the char complemented the subtle yet pronounced flavor of the meat inside. Some people might worry about how something raw might taste "fishy" or "gamey", but they are mistaken; it is quite clean the taste is. You can tell if a steakhouse is a quality institution, let alone one that properly stores its meat by both looking at the rich pink of the flesh rather than a stale gray, in addition of course of tasting nowhere near being rancid as high-quality meat should have a very clean flavor. The filet mignon, though lean (hence one being able to taste the delicate yet deep umami, like with akami tuna/maguro) actually has the right amount of marbling in order to contribute to the pronounced fatty flavors like one would when eating a ribeye. In addition, the butter itself with the richness coming from not only the milky proteins itself, but the bone marrow added further a degree of rich sinfulness while the herbs refreshingly cut into the richness of the butter, providing another element that elevates the steak with fresh, herbal flavors while complementing the once again rich and pronounced flavors of the butter and what fat there is within the marbling of the steak. I am very impressed with how the restaurant was able to source its meats from highly reputable farms in America that rivals its Japanese counterparts by investing more into that deep, intricate flavor of the lean meat, compared to the extensive marbling of the Japanese steaks they are reputably known for of providing one hell of a buttery punch.
These mashed potatoes were more exactly a pomme purée. You can tell that all they did was to add butter and salt after puréeing the potatoes. It tasted really delicious while accentuating the simplicity of the overall dish while demonstrating in its flavors the mantra "less is more". Definitely, there is that Joel Robuchon influence as he is known for having the best mashed potatoes, ever. Otherwise, it's a decent comparison nonetheless that I still recommend trying it towards first-timers.
I ended up having one more Hibiki 12 year as it's an amazing Japanese whiskey that because it's blended, it has all sorts of characteristics of sweet, smoky, peaty, and earthiness in addition to being consistent in flavor through the years, unlike some single malts. It went well with not only the steak as I'm the kind of guy that drinks whiskey with his steaks, even though foodies say red wine is much more compatible due to having similar chemical compounds in each other, both the wine and the steak. However, washing down the raw and charred meat with whiskey has that degree of masculinity (while the women too can have and enjoy the same experience as any guy would) that would make Ron Swanson proud. To promptly end the meal in order for me to make the Anthony Bourdain show over at the Paramount at the downtown district next door, I was given complementary mint chocolate meringues which were very delicious and both a great way to cleanse the palate and satisfy one's sweet tooth with the mint being refreshing and the deep earthiness of the chocolate along with its sweetness made it very settling on the palate.
After the wonderful meal and the extremely funny and entertaining show by Mr. Bourdain, even though it was generally similar material as with the show the year before, along with the giddy of meeting the man the second time with the VIP ticket, I ended up going back to my hotel, The W for a nice relaxing dessert with a ginger ale from their room service after having 5 drinks over at Bateau. The assorted sorbets were: Sweet cream, lemon cream, and salted caramel. They were all very delicious as the sweet cream was sweet and milky in flavor, the lemon creme being refreshing while its cream component added a degree of earthiness that actually complements well with the citrus if it didn't curdle, and the salted caramel having this sweet caramel flavor that goes down easy while not too overly rich. This was certainly a wonderful way to conclude the day while watching free HBO in a warm robe.
Bateau certainly was very delicious with not only its quality sourcing of their ingredients, but also how magnificently prepared they are while showing a beautiful restraint that also allows the addition of complementing ingredients uplifting the steaks. I had plans to go to The Metropolitan Grill (aka "The Met") for my lunch the next day but didn't have time ultimately. Originally, I had wanted to compare Bateau, the French newcomer, to the traditionally American steakhouse such as The Met. But that should wait another time for my next return to Seattle. Certainly, it would be very interesting experiencing all of the finance, conservative, sports-obsessed, somewhat old-money brosephs at The Met vs the Nouveau riche, snooty and geeky tech boys (and girls) within the Bateau camp; look forward to it!