Brilliant Bistro in Seattle, B+

April 30, 2008

Seattle-bistro-2There’s no mystery as to why this Seattle lady looks so happy–she’s having dinner at Le Pichet. Though some American chefs who cook French and French chefs in America have succeeded admirably at recreating reasonably bona fide bistro food outre Atlantique, one very crucial ingredient of any real French bistro seems to elude almost everyone–the atmosphere. Not surprisingly, most attempts to invoke Paris in North America come off with a Disney-esque spin, or so I thought until I went to the absolutely delightful Le Pichet in Seattle (1933 1st Avenue, 206-256-1499). Low and behold, this place gets it all right–the fixtures, the lighting, the bonhommie, le tout, quoi! The food’s excellent, too–dining with friends, we started with tasting plates of delicious local oysters served a la Bordelaise with grilled chipolata sausage, a succulent Pate Albigeois–the finest pate I’ve ever had the United States, and then went on to a very respectable rendition of choucroute garnie (sauerkraut with homemade sausages), duck confit, and a hanger steak with a delicious sauce of beef jus, red wine and fava beans. A respectable selection of cheeses allowed us to finish off our Louis Claude Desvignes Cote du Py Morgon, 2006, a brilliantly juicy red, and the wine list was trove of great Gallic bottles at very fair prices, including one of my back-in-Paris house whites–Domaine des Gassagnoles Cotes de Gascogne. Bravo!