November is a great month for dining out – the $15 for lunch and $30 for dinner Dine Around Seattle menus can be ridiculously great offers, and ART Restaurant’s lunch menu looked to be an incredible deal. So, Dikla and I went to test out their entire lunch menu. All for you lovely readers, of course.
Tucked into the Four Seasons off 1st Avenue, the space is bright, but formal. It’s the kind of place where the hostess pulls out your chair for you, and you’re served crudités in a small silver bucket with a dipping sauce before you can order. It’s where meetings and wedding brunches occur over wine, where the dress code isn’t enforced but sticks to business attire. We arrived at 11 am on a Wednesday and the place was empty. We had a window table and a view of the sound, which includes a distractingly large storage building but is still gorgeous.
The lunch Dine Around Seattle menu is a prix-fixe three course meal, so I ordered the french onion soup, pumpkin ravioli, and warm apple upside-down gingerbread cake.
The french onion soup arrived in its own white tureen. It was definitely old school – full of translucent onions in a beefy broth, with the slice of bread floating on top covered in shredded gruyere. The bread managed to keep some crispness, but not so much as to be challenging to eat. I think I would just eat this for lunch on a rainy day.
Dikla had the butter lettuce salad, with a dill vinagrette that managed to highlight the lettuce and prawns without taking over the dish. The escarole salad, in contrast, was one hearty salad. With white beans, julienned granny smith apples, and shredded, salty pork in a mustard-apple vinaigrette, it was a taste of fall.
Moving to the main course, the ravioli were beautiful. Filled with a smooth pumpkin puree which was savory but highly reminiscent of a savory pumpkin pie, it was light yet satisfying. The brown butter sage sauce was flavorful but not overpowering. Even with roasted chestnuts, cubes of squash, and fried sage, it was a very delicate, light dish.
Then ART’s team also brought out the pork belly BLT and the arctic char for us to try. The arctic char was a sustainable seafood home run, as the tasty salmon relative has a “best choice” rating from the Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch. Even without the dining karma, it was a beautifully composed dish. The char had a crispy skin and nicely fishy flavor, paired with a lightly vinegared couscous and peppery arugula and radish salad for a range of textures and flavors. As for the BLT, that pork belly had a gorgeous fattiness, and the vinegared red cabbage slaw was crisp. I just don’t think it’s as exciting as the ravioli or char.
Dessert was a challenge, but only as I was stuffed. Dikla loved the pumpkin beer ice cream – beer fanatics should go read its review. I really enjoyed the ginger overload on the apple upside-down gingerbread cake. With all those soft, spiced apples and caramel sauce it didn’t need that gold leaf decoration – or any garnish, except maybe some vanilla ice cream.
Dine Around Seattle is going until November 29, and at $15, lunch is a steal. (And, if you don’t like the dessert options, it’s in the same building as the downtown Fran’s.) Go take a friend and feel pampered.
99 Union Street
Seattle, WA 98101