Review of Rover's

2808 East Madison

206 325 7442

At one extreme, there are the restaurants that seem totally corporate. There is a set of rules and the food, for better or worse, flows from the rules. Then, at the other extreme, there are the restaurants that reflect the vision and talents of one particular person. Rover's is at this extreme and Thierry Rautureau, the chef, is an extremely talented and imaginative individual.

The restaurant is located well east of downtown in an interesting residential neighborhood. We often overestimate the time to get there, so we wind up exploring the local nursery, vintage clothing shops and the windows of rival restaurants. Of course, we always wind up eating at Rover's, and we always wind up ordering the longer tasting menu. This is a marathon of wonderful, well paced treats and it makes for a wonderful evening.

He usually starts the meal with something special. His egg shell full of scrambled eggs, chives, creme fraiche and caviar reminds us of the one at Jean Georges, but it is somehow lighter and even better. One the meal opened with a little filo pastry cup full of smoked salmon, caviar, chives, herbs and baby carrots, all unified by a magical champagne emulsion.

Then comes the sea food. This is Seattle. So it's on to seared ahi tuna, haricot vert and an eggy potato salad with tart cherry tomatoes, or perhaps sea scallops with foie gras, beets and mushrooms in a curry flavored sauce. Mr. Rautureau is open to many influences, including those from the Indian subcontinent. There are usually two or three seafood courses, so stand by for the sea bass with smoky bacon or mushrooms and a red wine reduction, or lobster with a summer truffle soup.

Before the meat course, there is a break for sorbet. This is delightfully old fashioned, and the pinot noir sorbet makes for excellent punctuation for the meal.

As for the meat course, it could be guninea hen or roast squab, or in season venison or boar. At some restaurants, this would be the heart of the meal, but here it is just another note in the symphony.

We have, on occaision, tried the cheese tray. Rover's has excellent cheeses, but sometimes, we are ready to wind down and head for dessert.

The desserts, or rather, the collection of desserts, may include little lemon meringue tarts, almond cakes with strawberry and mango sauce, lemon mousse on a sugar cookie or a miniature panetonne with a collection of berries and berry sauces.

By now, the evening song is over, and we are ready to wind down with our star spangled herb tea.

What more can we say about Rover's? Come for dinner in the garden, or in the dining room, and let Thierry entertain you, as only he can.

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