My dear wife took me to Bastille last night for my birthday dinner (THANKS AGAIN, Sweetie).
We enjoyed our food a lot. We shared a Salade Verte in vinaigrette with toasted hazelnuts; she chose the nightly special Cassoulet; I had the (flatiron) Steak Frites au Poivre with marrow butter. Oh, and half of a Grand Central baguette. We ended with coffee and the Maple Creme Brulee. All pretty pedestrian choices. My steak was juicy and tender--in a sous vide way--and the pepper sauce flavorful enough to justify dumping in the frites. My wife's cassoule, done with Navy beans rather than Tarbais, came piping hot (reportioned and finished in a cast iron cocote for 20 minutes) and with good texture. The creme brulee was the proper temperature, not straight out of the reefer, very maple-ey.
Minor disappointments? I normally happily add extra salt to everything, but here everything but dessert (even the salad) was served over-salted, well beyond what I enjoy. The extensive wine selection is heavily skewed to $$$, seriously disproportionate to the food quality and prices. One of our glasses--the recommended Chateau La Croix Bordeaux--was unsound (oxidized) and sent back; another, also recommended Cab Franc, while sound, was so poor that it should not have been offered at any price--lemony, no varietal characteristics, and no mouthfeel. Service was friendly and polite, but a little uneven--e.g., our check was switched with another table's, coffee cups served 5 min apart (and tepid).
One last strange thing... Up front, the restaurant is basically divided into thirds, R-to-L: --bar/dining, main dining and enclosed deck, and you can eat in all 3. The bar area seemed alive with laughter and smiling people. We noticed that in the main and deck areas, though, none of the other diners seemed to be smiling--at all. A strange pall, considering the very casual cafe atmosphere they've created here. Maybe it's the economy.
Thanks Again, Sweetie. ILY.
Interested in others' experiences there, too.
Bastille Cafe & Bar
5307 Ballard Avenue NW, Seattle, WA 98107