Just returned from a weekend in Seattle, and had a chance to try some of the restaurants I had read about on this board. Some brief reactions:
1. Matt's In The Market--Lunch was delightful. Panroasted salmon in a matsutake mushroom sauce. Salmon perfectly spiced and cooked. Sauce contained huge chunks of the delectable fungus. Friendly wait staff--and other customers at the counter.
2. Le Pichet--Ordinary. Home-made charcuterie appetizer was generous (and the smoky-flavored tongue was very tasty and melted in my mouth), but the other meats were nothing special--including the pistachio salami, which looked great but was bland to the point of tastelessness. Beef stew, a special that evening, was ok, but had little of the wineyness of a reak beef bourguignon.
3. Mistral--A revelation. The best meal I have had in an American restaurant (including some of the best of NY, SF and LA) in years. Fantastic, perfectly prepared scallops--and I don't like scallops--in a brown butter parsnip soup with carrot foam; perfect balance of flavors and textures. Foie gras seared with paper-thin slices of crispy apple--again, a brilliant dish to look at, taste and feel in the mouth. Every course was incredible, and the wine pairings perfect. Chef Belickis visited with us for about 20 minutes, and he was charming. After dinner, rather than calling a cab for us, the chef ordered a town car to take us back to our hotel--and he picked up the tab!
4. Dahlia Lounge--A real disappointment. Potstickers absolutely missed the point: they were seemingly deep-fried (rather than crisp on the bottom and soft and slithery on top) and insides were dry rather than bursting with juiciness. The rib eye steak--usually the best combo of flavor and texture--was neither tasty nor tender, and while ordered rare was delivered medium rare at best. The fresh donuts (really donut holes) with a mascarpone icing on the side were, however, quite wonderful.
All in all, a mixed experience, although the highs were very, very high indeed. Thanks, Hounders, for the help.