Bon Appetit named Bateau one of the 50 Best New Restaurants of 2016 as I began to write my review. No pressure, right?! Congratulations to Renee Erickson and her fantastic team!
To start off: make a reservation now, anticipating that it might be awhile before you actually get to partake in the deliciousness. July was a perfect time to enjoy a leisurely dinner with the windows wide open and summer sounds floating by. The abundance of white, the tall ceilings and wire light fixtures make for a bright, open atmosphere.
We had originally intended on choosing the tasting menu but changed our minds at the last minute. Don’t get me wrong – it looked great. We decided we wanted to try a wider variety of dishes, as each of the five course on the tasting menu had beef as the primary ingredient. Perfect for a steak restaurant, naturally! The table next to us decided on the tasting menu and I snuck a few covert glances – it looked fantastic.
The meal began with an explanation of the steak chalkboard – the focal point of the restaurant, followed by an amuse bouche of beef liver pate on potato tuille with sea salt, setting the tone for a lovely meal to follow. The chalkboard lists the steaks available for the evening, prepared by the house butcher earlier in the day. The steaks are listed in two categories, depending on which farm they were raised: Burk Ridge or Carlton farms.
Select your steak(s) and your server will carefully cross your chosen steak off the list so no one else gets the idea that they can have it too. I’ll be honest, I really wanted to borrow that long chalk holder and try it out myself. I think it would have fulfilled the daydreams of my younger self when I would play school with my sister and stuffed animals.
After choosing wine, our starters arrived. The beef liver pate has a nice, smooth texture and has a stronger flavor than a typical chicken liver pate (almost like blue cheese). It might not be the first choice for someone that doesn’t love pate or is trying it for the first time. The spot prawn dish was refreshing, served over a dish of ice. The light strawberry flavor with the crunch of radishes was a delightful combination. Although not necessarily pretty, the Bateau salad of chickpeas, veg and salami has a bit of kick from the red wine-dijon dressing. My favorite was the octopus dish with potato and sieved egg – reminiscent of Spain with the addition of the smoky chorizo. I don’t think a tapas bar in Barcelona could have done it better.
After a moment to sip our wine and settle in for the next course, our steaks arrived. Our server suggested pairing the steaks with accompanying butters: bone marrow butter on the 14 oz. rib eye and preserved lemon and brown butter on the 9 oz. tri tip. The four of us split these two steaks and it was the perfect amount (pro tip: the chef will cut the steaks for you if you’re sharing).
Then there were the sides. We chose the mashed potatoes and surprisingly fabulous brown butter braised radishes. We raved about those radishes for a while… Our server recommended adding one more side – triple beef-fat fried frites, which were as good as they sound and perfectly crispy (and it’s really fun to say. Say it out loud, I dare you.)
The meal ended with three wonderful desserts. Desserts seem to be an often – and tragically! – overlooked course of a meal. That was not the case at Bateau. These were well-executed desserts with complex flavors, and not overly sweet – a lovely end to fantastic meal.
We chose three desserts: the classic Boat Street bread pudding, roasted lemon sorbet and wood sorrel sorbet. The bread pudding did not disappoint – how could it, swimming in rum butter and cream?! The roasted lemon sorbet, topped with a delicate meringue, had a unique depth of flavor from the roasted aspect of the lemon. The wood sorrel sorbet was a special addition to the meal as it wasn’t technically on the dessert menu. We had spied it on the tasting menu earlier and asked if we could add a scoop to round out our trio of desserts. The creamy sorbet was both citrusy and earthy (and looked a bit like a hedgehog)!
Overall, Bateau was a wonderful experience – the food, the atmosphere, the pace. I love that Seattle lets you enjoy such a sumptuous meal in a relaxed, casual atmosphere. Our four starters, two steaks and butter + three sides and three desserts and a couple bottles of wine was just the right amount of food for an indulgent and leisurely summer dinner for four. At around $500, it’s a bit pricey but well worth it – perhaps a great choice for a special occasion or celebration.
Our chapeau’s are off to you Bateau! We’re already looking forward to our next meal here… in December when we can get in again.
Chateau La Roque Pic Saint Loup 2011
(Languedoc white – aligote)
Liver pate on potato tuille with sea salt
Chickpeas, fresh and preserved vegetables, salami cotto, red wine-dijon vinaigrette
Chorizo, potato, egg
Strawberry, hearts of palm, rhubarb, radish, jalapeno
Beef liver pate
Pickled saltanas, toast
Buttery mashed potatoes
Brown butter braised radishes, cumin oregano, mint, smoked orange
Triple fried in beef fat
14 oz ribeye
9 oz tri tip
Bone marrow butter (on tri tip)
Preserved lemon and brown butter (on rib eye)
Wood sorrel sorbet
(on tasting menu, we requested a scoop)
Roasted lemon sorbet
Fennel, meringue, green strawberry
Boat Street Bread pudding
Rum butter, cream