April 24, 2012
It seems almost surreal that I am writing this Ode to Chez Shea, the über-romantic and sexy restaurant in the Pike Place Market, rather than the totally glowing Resto Review entitled, Chez Shea Shines Anew, that I had originally intended.
When SeattlePI.com announced last Wednesday, April 18, that the 30-year-old stalwart in the Market was closing its doors. . .to be replaced by a coffee company, no less (just what Seattle needs is another coffee shop. . .not!), I was heartbroken.
For over the 22 years we’ve lived in Seattle, we’ve dined there many times. Original owner Sandy Shea gave me a recipe for my very first Pike Place Market Cookbook. And then-chef Peter Morrison shared his Oysters Chez Shea recipe for my original Pike Place Public Market Seafood Cookbook. We had our favorite oh-so-French female server there and have known Lotta Hashimura, the general manager, for years.
If I had been able to write my review, I would have raved about the classically prepared Escargots, pictured above. Pure garlicky, buttery bliss in a single bite.
Or the absolutely decadent Prawns Barcelona. More garlic, crispy kale, sherry, and more butter. . .but also crunchy toasted almond flakes. And such a generous serving!
A lovely bottle of Meursault (French Chardonnay) paired perfectly with both dishes and was served at exactly the right temperature (not too cold, as is often the case with white wines in restaurants).
A bite of salad to pep up the taste buds again. This one included Anjou pear, orange segments, toasted Marcona almonds, and a sprinkling of fresh goat cheese for saltiness and tang. Don’t forget the Tangerine Vinaigrette!
This Dungeness Crab Salad is one of the most simply perfect things I’ve tasted in months–the freshest crab meat interspersed with green mango, wild watercress, paper-thin radishes, citrus segments, kaffir lime leaf, and Asian herbs, including cilantro and the magic ingredient–shiso–a Japanese leaf that has minty/menthol-y/astringent flavors, and that I love. This one was lightly tossed with Honey-Lime Vinaigrette. Perfect!
Chilean Sea Bass with darling baby zucchini and just the right amount of Saffron-Tomato Sauce. . and a beguiling ring of Parsley Oil.
Spencer’s Rack of Lamb Persillade aligned with military precision and sauced in a Rosemary Jus. . .
RIP and thanks for the memories, Chez Shea.