April 26, 2009
While listening to a podcast of a workshop from the 2007 annual conference of the International Association of Culinary Professionals on culinary tourism, I discovered a new acronym. . .FLOSS. FLOSS stands for Fresh, Local, Organic, Seasonal, and Sustainable, which perfectly describes the mission at Urbane, the new restaurant in the Olive 8 Hyatt Hotel and Residences in downtown Seattle.
We loved this place, which preaches FLOSS without getting all pretentious and precious about it. Take the Artichoke Salad, for instance, a lovely mound of marinated artichokes (although the menu claimed they were “braised,” I don’t think they’d ever touched a flame), fava beans, and tender baby pea shoots. This dish was the essence of spring, served with a flurry of freshly grated Parmesan and lightly dressed in a lemon-y vinaigrette.
Seared Halibut with Nettles and Carrot Emulsion (denser, richer, and infinitely more satisfying than the trendy foams served everywhere nowadays!) was perfectly cooked and so beautiful I (almost) hated to eat it.
Although we were trying to make a movie and didn’t have time for dessert, we were tempted by the Syrup-Poached Rhubarb with Lemon Pound Cake and the Trailing Blackberry Blintz. The wine list is made up of entirely Washington wines (hooray!), with a cavalcade of venerable names such as Betz Family Winery, DeLille Cellars, and Fidelitas.
Ambience here is upscale, with a glittery bar and a dining room that looks out over the streetscape yet is divided into sections by hanging metal beads which keeps it intimate. There aren’t any tablecloths, the bread comes in a handsome wooden bread box, and service is warm yet unobtrusive.
We noted happy families, groups of young women celebrating with a girls’ night out, and older folks like us. This is the kind of restaurant with something for everyone that makes you want to return for the next intriguing dish, since the FLOSS-y menu is ever-changing.