Thursday, January 13, 2011

Sutra @ Seattle

A lot has been said about this out-of-the-way place. I have wanted to try it for such a long time. And, last weekend, we did it! We had dinner at Sutra. It is one of THE things to do when you are in Seattle. Well, I can now take it off my must-eat-at list.
About the restaurant, it is a small hole in the wall. Very average in ambiance. The open kitchen is a hop away from where you sit. In fact, I have seen people wanting to sit at the counter so that they can see the Chef plate the food for each course. The food is a fusion of everything on earth, and the seating is communal. Of course, if you are in a group of four or more, you will get a table for your group. If you are a couple, you will most likely share a table with another couple. Works great if you are garrulous.We had a nice time chatting with the couple sharing our table.
Sutra Seattle

The counter @ Sutra
The owners are down to earth and very humble. They are passionate about the food they prepare and are also environment conscious. You can read more about them here. They use local organic seasonal produce and their menu changes every few days.They usually serve a pre-set four course dinner and have options of pairing it with alcoholic or non alcoholic beverages, one for each course.

Alright, here's our experience at Sutra -

We had made reservations for Friday, Jan 7th for their 6:30 pm seating. The darn traffic on I-5 delayed us and we got there at 6:40 pm. I was worried that we would miss the gong banging and the utterance of prayer by Colin, the owner / Chef. Upon entering the restaurant, I saw everyone peacefully sipping their drinks, indulged in small talk. I was pretty sure that the first round of drinks had been served. The waitress ushered us to a table and  I was thrilled when she mentioned that they were yet to start with their ritual ( that is, the striking of the gong). They had served complimentary drinks while waiting for the food to be served. Phew! We got lucky. We shared the table with another couple visiting from San Francisco. The waitress then brought over the menus. The dinner was pre-set and we chose the pre-set non alcoholic beverage pairing. One drink for each course, and each drink complemented the food. If the food was a little bitter, the drink was sweet and such like. While we waited, the waitress got us a 3oz Sparkling Mineral Water-Housemade Cherry Lavender Syrup & a Grape Granita Drop. Ever had something like this? I wonder how many combinations the Chef would have to try before deciding on one that's perfect.
Mineral Water-Housemade Cherry Lavender Syrup & a Grape Granita Drop
At 6:50 pm, the Chef came out, banged the gong, greeted everyone with a "Namaste!" and uttered a small prayer thanking all the farmers for the produce and briefly described the menu for that day.

The gong @ Sutra
Then, the first course was served. First, the drink - A 4oz Lemongrass-Ginger-Cranberry Sparkling Elixir. I have never had Lemongrass in a drink and it tasted quite good. Very exotic and paired well with the Roasted Cauliflower-Urfa Biber Bisque with a Pickled Radish-Asian Pear-Fennel- Caper Salad , our first course.

Lemongrass-Ginger-Cranberry Sparkling Elixir
The Roasted Cauliflower Bisque was served in a small glass and was hot till the last spoon. It is the finest soup I have had so far. So creamy and thick and flavorful. The Radish-Pear salad had an Asian flavor.

We took our time, relishing every bite, slurping the soup, sipping the drink and chatting with the other couple.

Our plates were cleared and the drink for the second course was served - a 4oz Local CommuniTea Kombucha on Tap. Kombucha is a fermented tea that is usually drunk for medicinal purposes.

Local CommuniTea Kombucha

It was paired with House Smoked Pui Lentil-Sunchoke-Molasses Port Glazed Cippolini Onion-Arugula Cake topped with Olive, Tangello, and Shiso finished with Truffle Oil and a Balsamic Reduction.

Whatever it was and however it was made, it tasted out of this world. More banter and more eating and drinking followed.
The drink for the third course was served - a 4oz Blueberry-Echinacea-Hibiscus-Blood Orange Sparkling Elixir. I later discovered that Echinacea is a flowering plant. What? Oh, whatever. Just get me more of that!

It was paired with Celery Root-Cheese Pumpkin (varietal)-Sesame Gnocchi with Yellowfoot Chanterelle-Hedgehog Mushrooms served with Steamed Lacinato Kale-Roasted Carrots with a Sage-Mirin-Tomato-Saffron Sauce finished with Parsnip Chips.

Again, something very different. I am amazed at how innovative the Chef is. Imagine coming up with a different exotic menu each week. Won't you run out of ideas?

The grand finale of the wonderful dinner, the Dessert was then brought out. The fourth course drink was an option of French Pressed Pangaea Coffee or Sutra Blend Tea. I asked for the tea, but wasn't very impressed with it.
Dessert was Chocolate (Theo’s) Coconut Mousse Torte with a Cashew-Date Crust finished with a Cinnamon-Huckleberry Glaze.

Am a sucker for Chocolate and loved it. The best part was the huckleberry glaze. It is now my favorite berry!
The dinner was  $35 pp and the non-alcoholic beverage pairing was $12 pp. Dining at Sutra is not just about the food, but the whole experience. Who even thinks about the farmers and spends a couple of minutes thanking them for their exhausting labor and effort? The calm and serene atmosphere has a spiritual ring to it. The food is prepared and served with love and can never not be delicious. I think everyone visiting or living in Seattle should try it at least once. You will love it!
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