Friday, June 1, 2012

Sutra in Seattle

We've been trying to make the most of our time before the baby comes, so a couple weeks ago we were able to finally visit a restaurant I've been dying to try, Sutra. Located in Seattle's Wallingford neighborhood, across from Molly Moon's, Sutra is a prix fixe vegan dining experience with a new menu every two weeks. Maybe that sounds a bit hippie dippy, but I promise you won't be disappointed. This isn't the tofu/seitan/raw-veggie type of food, it's cooked, incredibly fresh and bursting with unique flavor kind of food. It's definitely a splurge for us and not something we could do often, but I can't wait to go back!

Arthur and I both agree that this is the type of place you want to go with another couple or a group. It's a slow eating experience, which is perfect for talking in between courses. We went with our friends, Dan and Carrie, who are moving out of Seattle soon.

There are limited days the restaurant is open and they only have 1–2 seatings per night. The room is really small, so only about 30 people can fit in the dining area, and it's a cozy fit. The meal starts out by everyone finding their seat and ordering drinks. Drinks could be ordered individually, but they also had two drink pairing options—one alcohol and one non. Dan got the alcohol and Carrie the non, so they each got a new drink with each course. I can't fit very much in my stomach, and I wasn't sure if I was supposed to drink kombucha (one of the drink pairings). I also don't drink coffee, which was the final pairing, so it didn't seem like a good fit for me. Arthur just decided to get a beer.

After everyone was settled, the chef came out and spoke about each course on the menu and where most of the ingredients came from. I believe everything they served was local and some was even hand foraged, like our Devil's Club Chutes! He also gave a shout out to everyone that helped with the meal and then the first course was served.

We started with roasted cauliflower-leek soup with a rhubarb-bulgarian carrot chile float served with a salad of little gem baby romaine, pickled ramp bottoms, pink beauty radishes, and candied pecans with a horseradish-truffle dressing. This was my favorite course. The soup was out of this world and the spicy rhubarb drizzle was such a delicious add! I can't wait to try to make this at home. As I mentioned, the menu changes every two weeks to keep up with the in-season produce, so no two menus are generally the same.

The next course was fennel seek smoked lentils with tamari, shimeji mushrooms, fried devils club chutes, and peppercress finished with a hempseed and wood sorrel sauce. We were all blown away by the smoked lentils. They had the kind of smoke flavor you would get from smoked meat. Arthur said he remembered hearing the chef say they smoked the lentils in a smoker out back, just like you would smoke fish. We want to try doing this ourselves if we ever get the chance to. This is the kind of plate I won't ever forget. I had never had devils club before, or actually ever even heard of it. They were covered in "pokey things", but didn't poke your mouth when you ate them. I wasn't sure if I was supposed to be eating these being pregnant, but I took the risk because they were so good!

Our entree for the night was asparagus, cippolini onions braised in pomegranate molasses, ramp top, parsley-sunflower seed pesto lasagna, with a tomato-cashew cream sage sauce with goose tongue (still not even sure what this is), fried capers and nicoise olives. Honestly, I didn't really care for this course. The super sweet onion and pomegranate molasses mixture was a strange contrast with the more classic lasagna flavors. I was also getting really full, and only ended up eating about half of this. Arthur said he didn't love this course either, but he ate all of his.

Last was a super rich and dense raw cacao lavender fudge with a cinnamon-fig sauce. This was the perfect way to end the meal and not too sweet. We were all laughing though that the only silver we had left to eat with was a spoon that was almost bigger than the fudge piece itself.

It was a lovely meal with wonderful company. I look forward to taking more friends and family there. At the beginning of the meal, Dan mentioned how his problem with vegan and vegetarian food is that he doesn't ever feel like he gets full or has anything substantial on his plate. But by the end of our meal he said this definitely hit the spot, especially the second and third courses. If nothing else, it's a great experience to expand your palate and try some new foods. I am confident that even a true meat eater would leave full from this meal.

I was stuffed to my max, but Dan and Arthur were up for a scoop of Molly Moon's to finish off the night. So we walked across the street for some ice cream before saying goodnight and heading home. Such a great evening!

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