Restaurant Review: Loulay Kitchen & Bar, Seattle, WA

Hello and happy Friday!  I haven't posted a foodie review in a while, and my only reason is lack of time because I've been traveling so much lately.  I know, I don't deserve any sympathy, so I'm just going to tell you about a fabulous new restaurant that my guy and I tried on Wednesday evening called Loulay Kitchen & Bar.  Loulay is James Beard award winning Chef Thierry Rautureau's new creation, named for his hometown of Saint Hilaire de Loulay in France.  Also known as the "Chef in the Hat," Chef Rautureau is a Seattle icon at this point.  He ran a well-loved high-end French restaurant called Rover's in the Madison Park neighborhood of Seattle for 25 years (just closed last summer), and added a French-American cafe called Luc in the same neighborhood in 2010.  If you aren't a Seattleite, you might know Chef Thierry Rautureau from the Top Chef series: he was a contestant on "Top Chef Masters" seasons 2 & 4!  Loulay Kitchen & Bar just opened in December, and was a perfect choice for our date night.  Check out the details of our meal below!

First up: an amuse-bouche of calamari with a roasted red pepper sauce.  I wish I remembered what the waiter said was in the green compote, but sometimes I get so excited at the sight of food that I miss the entire verbal description...

We ordered two small plates as starters.  Below are the crab beignets: dungeness crab fritters with harissa aioli.  Bite-sized, crispy and delicious.

Our second starter was the french onion soup with rich veal broth, and a baguette covered in gruyere floating on top.  Salty broth, sweet onions, gruyere...a French restaurant staple.  Nothing exceptional, but I was in the mood for soup on a cold evening, so it did the trick.

We also ordered one medium-sized dish and one large dish to share.  For the medium-sized dish, we picked the seared foie gras on golden raisin bread pudding with a blood orange gastrique.  The butteriness of the fois complimented the bread pudding very well, making this a great pairing!

For the large dish, we chose the duck trio: duck leg, duck breast, and duck sausage with flageolet beans and a cassis demi-glace.  This is a dish that I have tried at other French restaurants, and it tasted exactly as I expected.  The duck was cooked perfectly, the sauce just the right level of sweetness.  Predictably delicious.

Sharing plates means that there is always room for dessert.  Besides, it's a separate stomach, right?  We selected the beignets with sour apple, malt ice cream, and caramel as dessert #1.  It has been a while since I've had the Seattle favorite Tom Douglas donuts, but I think these may have been better.  I'll have to make a trip to Dahlia Bakery again to judge, but these were fantastic.

For dessert #2, we decided on the Chef's hot chocolate with toasted brioche and salted butter.  I didn't use any of butter, but the toasted brioche were the perfect size for dipping!  I was a little disappointed that the brioche were a little burned, but that didn't stop me from dunking away.

We shared a great selection of dishes from Loulay's current menu, and there were others that I would like to go back to try (especially the braised rabbit with wild mushroom, arugula, and pappardelle).  I like that the pricepoints are much lower than Rover's: we had four dishes, two desserts, and three drinks for a total of just over $100 (not counting tip).  To us, it was a good deal for the chef, the downtown location (6th and Union), and the quality of food.  Service was good as well, we were seated and served promptly and I had no complaints.  Overall a great choice for date night, and I'm happy to have another quality restaurant close to the downtown theaters.  I'm sure they will be busy before shows!

I hope you enjoyed this visual food tour of a new Seattle restaurant, and that you have a wonderful weekend!  Also, because it's Superbowl weekend and a big deal for Seattle, happy Blue Friday and Go Hawks!  =)


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