Queen Anne’s Pretty Portage

August 21, 2008

A Saturday evening at Portage, located in Seattle’s Upper Queen Anne, cater-corner from Opal and directly across the street from How to Cook a Wolf, proved a very pleasant evening as the small (30 seats), jewel-box restaurant offered pretty plates and pleasing price points in a oasis of calm, yellow-tinged walls punctuated by bird-themed artwork. 

An appetizer of Diver Scallops, Wild Mushrooms, and Sweet-Corn Truffle Salad offered perfectly seared, still rare-in-the-middle scallops in a rich brown mushroom sauce with top notes of sweet local corn. The Heirloom Tomato, Ash-Crusted Goat Cheese, and Fava Beans salad included thinly sliced tomatoes with goat cheese crumbles and not-quite-as-many favas as I craved.

A perfectly frenched rack of lamb chops graces the plate at Portage on upper Queen Anne near downtown Seattle.

The Stuffed Lamb Chop with Parsley Mousse was a beautifully frenched stack of three chops, while the Côte de Beouf with Périgueux Sauce, a lovely pile of medium-rare slices, would please any beef-eater.

Bouillabaisse offered mussels, clams, salmon, and white fish (lingcod and halibut, perhaps) in a subtly saffron-y/tomato broth mellowed with just enough butter and a rouille-brushed crostini. 

Desserts ran the gamut from a rich Vanilla Pot de Crème with an airy-light tuile cookie to Snoqualmie Creamery Pistachio and Double Chocolate ice cream of Strawberry-Champagne and Peach sorbet to Peach Tarte Tatin with Peach, rather than the promised, Crème Fraîche Ice Cream. 

The wine list skews French, but with some well-known and -loved Northwest bottles such as Patricia Green Cellars Four  Winds Chardonnay (Oregon), Whitman Cellars Narcissa Red Wine (Walla Walla Valley), and Owen Roe Abbott’s Table (Columbia Valley).