Monday, October 15, 2012


My wife and I decided to celebrate a special occasion at Crush in Seattle, Washington.  It is a French restaurant in a small converted home in the Central District/Madison Valley area, and had a strong reputation for good, innovative food.  We ordered the tasting menu with the foie gras supplement.  My wife called it the “sampler,” and I think the waiter took pity on us and was extra helpful. 

The amuse bouche was a little potato soup with chive and truffle oil.  On the show “Chopped,” the judges always harangue participants for the use of truffle oil.  It taste too strong they say.  It ruins the dish.  In this case, I didn’t think so at all.  The potato soup was very lightly seasoned, so the truffle oil added the “seasoning” that made the dish work.  It was a nice start.
While we are off track, I should take a moment to mention the delicious mocktails that I had.  One was a cucumber sour, the other a cardamom lemon drink.  They were both fantastic, and actually well worth the $5 price tag.  I was very impressed by the creativity of the bar, given the no-alcohol constraints with which they were saddled.

The next course was barramundi.  The squash bits were again the most delicious I have ever eaten.  The fish itself was cooked perfectly, moist while having the crispy skin you can see below.  The natural flavors were enhanced by the seasoning and I would order this dish again too..

I would like to take a moment to talk about their bread.  It was fresh, and very, very good.  My wife loved the little pretzel-y ones, and I devoured the cheese topped buns with a vengeance.  If they sold these out of a little stand adjacent to the restaurant, or in the front, I would come by and by them by the dozen!  The butter also did not disappoint. 
Next came the bacon and eggs dish. The flan was delicious. I was impressed by how they imparted a smoky flavor into the dish.  The salmon roe had a nice salty explosion and the sweet contrast from the maple syrup was nice.  This said, this dish was one of the less successful ones to me, and would have benefit from a bit more crunch. 
Hamachi.  This dish had a very nice balance of flavors. For me, the heart of palm purée stole the show because it was just so delicious. It was simple,and luscious.  I had no idea heart of palm can become that delicious, but now that I know I will play with it in my own kitchen.
"Spotted Prawn" Gnocchi. I tasted my wife’s lobster emulsion, and it had a much stronger flavor than mine.  Mine was light, but clearly "seafoody." Hers was clearly lobster.  This ding aside, I didn't care. The course was phenomenal, the best gnocchi course I've ever personally eaten. The spot prawn was so fresh and sweet, my only complaint was the dish wasn't five times its size.  The gnocchi was not toasted off, but that did not negatively effect the texture or dish like you might imagine.  No, this dish was brilliant.
Dating our experience, in the middle of our dinner we heard a loud "Did you just call me a prick, Chef, Jason Miller" before a customer stormed off. He then cried out “You’ll see my review shortly.”  Who knows, maybe the guy posted something nasty on Yelp.  I can’t imagine a real critic would have reacted in the way he did, in particular over the issue at hand (the cooking of the foie gras).  The name of the chef, it should be mentioned, is Jason Wilson, so you can imagine how definitive his review was.

Foie Gras.  This course came as an add on to the normal tasting menu.  We had heard it was well worth the money, and we were not led astray.  It was delicious, an intriguing "apple pie" themed dish.  To me, this was totally genius and something I never would have considered. For my taste, the foie was perfectly seared with a nice temp at service. I like mine to be seared on the outside, mid-rare in the center, and warm.  My wife became giddy while eating this. Though I wasn’t quite as hot on the dish as she was, it was very very good.
The Snake River wagyu beef course, following after the heels of foie gras, certainly delivered.  After her giddy gobbling of the foie, my wife then quickly declared this may have been the best dish of food she had ever eaten.  Her father will be crushed, because he grills steak right.  However, the rich, hearty truffle flavor from the Oregon truffles they use at Crush, with the Trumpet mushrooms (which my wife ate happily in spite of herself) and butter made this dish a fatty yum explosion. Mmm.  I think the mushrooms might have stole the show, but this again was a highly successful dish of food.
After such a rich dish, the pear and pink peppercorn sorbet was a nice break. It was a nice mix of texture and flavor, and the peppercorn created a delightful zing.
Finally, they fed us chocolate cake and praline ice cream.  Honestly, these let down the rest of the dishes because they were not memorable. The cake was moist enough, but it just wasn’t great.  I also happened to be a little sad that Crush didn’t share their homemade pop rocks they were parading around to a few of the other tables.  Oh well.  So…. in the end, Go here for a special occasion...
2319 East Madison Street 
 Seattle, WA 98112 
(206) 302-7874
4 of 5 (my wife will tell you 4.5 or 5)


  1. "her father may be crushed because he grills steak right" made me laugh. Joe, you should insure your tongue. You have an ability to pick out flavors like no one I know.

  2. 4.5 is right. I still think about that wagyu beef and trumpet mushrooms. I had forgotten about the gnocci and shrimp, which is a shame, because that was downright delicious.