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Rover’s for Lunch

12-Feb-2005

Rover’s has been providing Seattle with amazing dining experiences for many years.  I couldn’t find exactly when they opened but I know they have been around since 1993 since that was the year they received their first James Beard award.

If you’ve been around Seattle you may have heard of "The Chef in the Hat".  That would be Chef Thierry Rautureau, French-born and trained but now a Northwest icon.  Rover’s is his place through and through.  You see it in the details of their location, dining room, ambience and, of course, in the creation and presentation of the food.  Dining at Rover’s is truly an experience. 

They are mainly known for their dinner tasting menus.  They offer both a 5-course and an 8-course Menu Degustation.  The 5-course is also available in a Vegetarian option.  And they also offer a full menu of other delicious choices. 

I’ve sampled Chef Thierry’s offerings at many events I’ve attended.  Like many of the Seattle chefs, he is very generous in donating his time, skills and food materials to many fund-raisers around the area.  However, for whatever reason, I’ve never managed to make it to the actual restaurant although it’s been on my list of "places to go" for years.  I think it was a combination of the cost and making sure I had a dining companion who would appreciate the experience. 

Recently, Rover’s began offering Friday lunch.  I thought this was the perfect way to get myself initiated into the true Rover’s experience.  I made a reservation and last Friday M and I finally got a chance to try it out.  At lunch you have the option of ordering from the menu or in trying their 3-course Menu Degustation.  At $35, the tasting menu is an amazing value!  M and I decided against the Menu Degustation, only because we decided we’d rather try a couple of different menu items and we thought we could pass on dessert. 

To start, M ordered an onion tart and I ordered the oxtail-foie gras terrine.  M’s tart was a rich, sweet, melt-in-your-mouth piece of heaven.  Slightly warm and almost gooey it was the perfect thing to warm you inside and out.  The terrine was unbelievable!  After taking my first nibble, I wanted to reach over and grab the piece I had given to M back!  I’m not sure how to describe it.  I want to say "melt-in-your-mouth" but that would be wrong as the oxtail provided a definite texture.  I guess the taste was melt-in-your-mouth, though.  This was one of the most fortuitous flavor combinations you can imagine.  It was rich but not overwhelming.  But just to ensure that it didn’t become so, there was a beautiful little salad of minutely shredded carrots on the plate that was a perfect palate cleansing complement.  That terrine was so satisfying that I could have stopped right there.  But of course we had already ordered our entrees so we had to eat more. :-)

We both ordered the same entree, which was from the tasting menu.  It was duck breast cooked to perfection, sliced into thin ovals, placed on top of a hill of winter vegetables and then dressed with a smoky, earthy, meaty reduction so good that I really wanted to lick the plate when I had finished.  My favorite vegetables were the miniature brussels sprouts that were only as big as the tip of my pinky finger.  I’m normally not a big brussels sprouts person. They are okay and there have been a few times that I’ve really loved them, but in general I can take them or leave them.  These were so tender, delicate and buttery that I found myself picking them out to make sure I enjoyed each and every one of them.   Of course, it didn’t hurt that they could be swirled around in the reduction before popping them in my mouth! 

Our waiter recommended a wonderful glass of wine to accompany the meal.  They offer several wines by the glass and also have several ½ bottles of wine for those who would like to pair a different wine with each course.  And there is an extensive full bottle list, too.  Our waiter provided perfect service throughout the meal.  I kept thinking I knew him but since this was my first time at Rover’s I couldn’t make the connection.  At the end of the meal I finally mentioned to him that I was trying to figure it out and he reminded me that he used to be at Lampreia and had been my server there a couple of times.  What a great memory he has since I haven’t been to Lampreia for a couple of years!  It’s that attention to detail that really makes him good at his work. 

As we finished our meal, the "Chef in the Hat" came out to personally thank us for coming and to make sure our dining experience had met our expectation.  I love it when a chef cares enough to take the time to do this.  Not only will I be back for lunch as soon as possible, but I’ll be planning a dinner there as soon as I’m back on someone’s payroll! 

Rover’s
2808 E Madison St
Seattle, WA 98112-4862
Phone: (206) 325-7442
Reservations: 
OpenTable

 

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