Tossed Salads and Scrambled Eggs

Canlis – Queen Anne, Seattle

Posted on: Thursday 05 May 2011

I had two restaurants in mind for a celebration dinner on Monday – Canlis and The Herbfarm. Canlis was booked for its convenient location on a weeknight and we had a cosy table with a panoramic view of Lake Union. The food, the wine list, the service, the ambience – it was the perfect fine dining experience.

Our evening commenced with cocktails in the lounge which is a dark, intimate space. We were overwhelmed by the 89 page wine list – wine by the glass or bottle, red or white, new world or old world, local or international. We couldn’t find wines from any of the wineries we’ve been to in Napa and Sonoma so the sentimental decision was between a Barossa (Australia) Shiraz or a Cloudy Bay (New Zealand) Sauvignon Blanc. While it is expensive at $60 a bottle, the 2010 Marlborough white was a taste of ‘home’ (or near enough), and not the cost of a flight home like the Penfolds Grange, with the 2004 vintage at $1,200 a bottle! I’m a slow drinker and I was determined not to waste the wine. We would have been there until midnight but thankfully, our waiter offered to re-cork the bottle for us to take home. We were giggling about it, not because of the effect of alcohol, but because most Australian and New Zealand wines are twist tops. When we got home, we took the bottle out of the custom Canlis wine bag and it had indeed been re-corked!

Amuse bouche

Chilled cantaloupe and red bell pepper (capsicum) soup

A surprising combination of flavours to whet our appetite.

First course

Peter Canlis prawns – sautéed in dry vermouth, garlic, red chilies and lime

The Canlis salad – romaine, Romano cheese, bacon, mint, oregano, and a dressing of lemon, olive oil and coddled egg

The prawns were fresh and succulent and I was reluctant to swap a morsel for some lettuce and a crouton. I don’t like salads, I prefer my vegetables cooked. A crunched through his salad and described it as similar to a Caesar salad without the sometimes heavy creamy dressing.

Main course

King salmon – grilled, with white asparagus, green asparagus and parsley

All-natural Nebraska filet mignon – naturally raised, grain-fed, 21 day aged beef served with carrots, cumin, savoury and melted shallots

Twice baked potato – a sixty-year Canlis tradition

The salmon was just cooked and is well paired with the contrasting texture of the asparagus. The sauce was so moreish that I mopped it up with the complimentary brioche bun. I tried a slice of the filet mignon and the beef is tender and medium rare as ordered. We both swooned over the velvety and decadent twice baked potato. As we scraped the bottom of the Stoub dish, we agreed that it can only be made with lashings of butter, large dollops of cream and shards of crispy bacon.


Malasadas – warm Hawaiian doughnuts, with passionfruit vanilla bean cream, coconut and macadamia nuts

Artisanal cheese

I always peruse the dessert part of a menu first and I was intrigued by the Hawaiian doughnuts. The malasadas reminded me of Greek loukomades and a doughnut dessert at Sydney’s Rockpool Bar & Grill. They are warm and doughy, with a delightful dusting of cinnamon sugar. There are three of them, each perched on mango, passionfruit and coconut.

There were generous servings of cheddar, chévre and bleu cheese. I had a small sample of each and the bleu evoked memories of the lovely Gippsland (Australia) shadows of blue, a gentle introduction to the pungency of bleu cheese.

Petit four

Panna cotta with lavender and almond sablé

These bite size accompaniment to the bill were silky and sweet.

By the time we were savouring dessert, all the tables in our area were empty. The waitstaff was hospitable and genuine. From the piano player to their cellar, from the seasonal produce to the promise of a beautiful summer (there’s been umpteenth promises of that by Seattleites since January!), Canlis was above and beyond our expectations. We came with anticipation and left smiling with full stomachs and warmth in our hearts. As we waited for the taxi home, our waiter held my coat over the open fire – he was our Alfred!


2 Responses to "Canlis – Queen Anne, Seattle"

[…] Flake, Neil Robertson’s new patisserie opened on Sunday and was sold out by midday. A Canlis and MistralKitchen alum, the Seattle food community was abuzz with Neil’s crumbles and […]

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