Tuesday, March 5, 2013
Getting into the Toulouse Spirit
Seattle, WA 98109
I could easily use a ton of musical and pop culture euphemisms to describe everything I ate and drank at the Toulouse Petit Kitchen & Lounge, a lounge that takes its inspirations from deep down south. By cutting across the square where the Space Needle is located, the short hop from one side to the other was easy. My friend Jon Valentine and I walked through Queen Anne Avenue's Diner's Row to get here.
The building is located on the corner, Queen Anne and Mercer, and it only beckoned me to explore its dark history. The rustic atmosphere and black awning by the front door creates a mysterious ambience of what can get discovered within.
I had to try an aptly named signature cocktail, the Toulouse Hurricane ($10). The drink was smooth and sweet at the start, like an observer watching an approaching storm. When it hits, you better be prepared to rock! Okay, I admit I'm not a heavy alcohol drinker and any strong drink will send me for a loop. But in the way this cocktail worked, I was psyching myself up for it. This drink left me feeling whammied by Batman. Mind you, a particular song by the Scorpions kept running in my head and throughout the remainder of the night.
When considering my visit to Seattle was for Emerald City Comic Con and meeting the Dynamic Duo (Adam West & Burt Ward), my visit certainly started with a bang!
To hit a very exceptional restaurant at the beginning certainly was a good sign. I opted for their special $35 deal for three courses. My starter included a Dungeness crab salad. The flavours were nicely mapped out as I tore into it. The avocados and pistachios made for an excellent contrast amongst the greens that I had. While I wondered where the crab was, it was neatly buried in the middle. More could have been offered to balance the pineapple out, otherwise I thought this salad was rather fruit-heavy.
The non-appetizer sized version of the Crawfish Beignets was phenomenal; the red pepper jelly really needs to be tried to be believed. It can go well with a variety of foods. And I can see this being spread on my next turkey sandwich too. The tenderized crawfish meat was very succulent in its texture, and I could have asked for more, which I did.
The main course, a Gulf Shrimp, Crawfish over house-made Andouille over Creamy Corn Grit was just as delicious. I was being hit with simplicity with a corn and potato mash that was very flavourful. A light dash of salt and a hint of butter turned this dish into ambrosia. The shrimp was juicy and the andouille was tender. I couldn't find anything wrong with this dish and I felt the need to complement the chef.
Even the service was very exceptional. Since I was with a buddy who ordered one dish under my three, I took notice when the waiter asked when is a good time to bring out his meal. I should have gotten his name, but that kind of rarity of service by an individual who understands his job really needs to be commended. When he explained that meals offered under this special menu are a portion smaller than the usual, I was not surprised. And he asked if I wanted another order of the crawfish beignets before I could even ask. He read my mind!
Because I was impressed with the variety offered here, I had to return on another night to try the boar sausages. When considering the price to offering ratio, I would have liked two sausages, but I can understand this product is expensive to bring in. Very rarely will restaurants offer game meats. In the Seattle area, they have the benefit of Stewart's Meat Market who supplies exotic game meats and homemade products. To export them out one may get hit with restrictions at the Canadian border, but I think maybe the time has come for me to stay south of the line.
4½ blokes out of 5