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.
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).