Monday, February 13, 2012

Purple Cafe and Wine Bar

My wife and I decided to drop by Purple Cafe and Wine Bar in Bellevue, Washington for a quick bite to eat a few months ago.  I had eaten here once or twice before, and wanted to give my wife an opportunity to try her first risotto.  
Unfortunately, it was not a great first time for my wife.  The herb risotto was not creamy enough, and did not even taste as if it had been made with stock.  It was missing flavor, and the garlic came through with such a tang I doubt it was roasted off before being used.  Overall, I was sad (especially so since the picture turned out about as good as the risotto tasted).  

My wife loves calamari.  She liked this calamari, but did not love it.  She fell in love with their thick, spicy aioli.  It was just too bad that the calamari were greasy, and a little too chewy (overdone).
My wife's dinner, the BLTA was good.  She loved her fries, and the avocado was ripe and tasty.  The bacon was clearly of good quality, and the bread was fresh and inviting.
Then there was the lamb shank.  The arugula mashed potatoes were delicious.  Such a simple idea, and one I plan to implement at our home.  The dish, however, came out more room temperature than hot.  The jus had a great flavor, and the tapenade was cold.  It seemed that was not an accident, but it took an already under temp lamb shank and sapped what excess heat it had right out of it.  There was that, and the fact the tapenade had a sour note that I could not place, which either was an enzyme that reacted poorly with the jus or was just a bad olive or two.
The creme brûlée on the other hand was very good, and was clearly torched to order - the ONLY way to serve it.  
The waitstaff was not exactly bad, and not exactly good.  We did not order wine, and that clearly resulted in C-quality service.  Average, and the meal was average.  Unimpressive risotto, greasy calamari, cool lamb, it was not a good showing.  I have had some meals here that were better, and a special mushroom risotto was actually good.  I guess that means you cannot be certain how good the meal will be that you will receive on any given night.  Kitchen standards are important, and with so many restaurants out there, we will not be back.

Purple Cafe and Wine Bar
430 106th Avenue Northeast
Bellevue, WA 98004
(425) 502-6292
2.5 of 5

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