Tossed Salads and Scrambled Eggs

Cypress Wine Bar – Bellevue, Washington

Posted on: Thursday 26 May 2011

We were introduced to Seattle happy hour by an expat. If you adjust your dinner time to early or late, you can eat at some quality restaurants for a bargain price. I like that happy hour encourage people to dine out but sometimes I ponder how sustainable it is for businesses to maintain such discounts.

After heavy traffic en route to Bellevue, I was in need of a beverage and nibbles. We were at Cypress Wine Bar with a group of expat Aussies. Cypress Wine Bar is in The Westin Bellevue – it is an open space with a high ceiling and wide windows, we were seated near a fireplace with small tables and diamond-shaped lounge chairs. The appetizers and small plates are half price between 5pm and 7pm and some drinks are also on discount. All their wines are local except for the champagne and I ordered a flight of dry white wines. For $11, I was expecting sample size glasses but they were served in stemware and half full!

We ordered several dishes to share and I sampled the crab cakes, ribs, Mediterranean plate and the complimentary ciabatta. The two puck like Dungeness crab cakes were in a pool of honey mustard sauce with a side of wilted spinach in a Belgian endive leaf. The sauce is pleasantly mild and there is plenty of crab in the crab cakes. They’re pan-fried to a golden hue and the crispy, caramelised edge is a lovely contrast to the moist crab inside.

The ribs were thick batons in a syrupy glaze. I’m indifferent to ribs and these were okay. There was enough meat to make the effort to eat them but it does not fall off the bone nor melt in your mouth.

The complimentary ciabatta was my favourite antipasto. The bread is fresh and dense, drizzled with olive oil and an abundance of ingredients are piled on top. There is char-grilled asparagus spears, sun-dried tomatoes, marinated artichoke hearts and pitted black olives. It is sunshine on a plate!

The after work catch up evolved into a progressive dinner – appetizer at Cypress Wine Bar, main at McCormick & Schmick’s and dessert at The Cheesecake Factory. It was more a regressive dinner for me – the restaurants got darker and I ate smaller portions.

I had half a serving of grilled wild Alaskan halibut with tomato confit and mushroom risotto which was a heavy dish. The risotto was creamy and buttery, and olive oil was swirled around the plate. In a gluttonous moment, I added a side of onion rings. I gasped when the waitress placed it on our table – they weren’t onion rings, they were onion bangles! They were coated in a thick batter that was crunchy and salty.

Our evening concluded with cheesecakes. One slice each of key lime cheesecake, Godiva chocolate cheesecake and white chocolate caramel macadamia cheesecake between eight people and there were still leftovers. It was a sticky sweet good night.

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