The American Lamb Board sponsored a wonderful dinner at Russell’s in Bothell. A barnful of fabulous chefs were on hand to create dishes from various parts of the lamb, including host Russell Lowell, who gave a little lesson on carving the marvelous critter. I enjoyed offerings from Adam Stevenson (Earth & Ocean), Thierry Rautureau (Rover’s), John Sarich (Chateau Ste. Michelle), and Eric Banh (Monsoon) – whose Vietnamese lamb stew with lamb shank and lemongrass-grilled rack of lamb with tamarind sauce were my favorite dishes of the night.
But I also appreciated Lowell’s spit-roasted baby lamb Merguez sausage, as well as his seared lamb rack with stone ground mustard demi. And what a wonderful place for a meal. Be sure to check out all the nooks and crannies of the unique barn.
The next day was a special meal at Salish Lodge. I’d been to watch the waterfall in the past, but this was my first time to the Dining Room. Some highlights of the meal:
Salt-cured foie gras torchon: A very playful dish, with the gooseberries, raspberries, and lavender marshmallow, but I ultimately prefer my foie gras simply seared instead of moussed, foamed, etc.
Native-caught Columbia River cedar-wrapped salmon (with morel mushrooms, heirloom potatoes, snow peas, leek blossoms, celeriac-apple puree, and lemon confit): The concept was great (and another visual treat), and all-in-all it was a tasty dish. I especially liked the leek blossoms. My dining companions and I talked a lot about the salmon itself, which some of us thought was too soft and mushy. Some wondered if it was overcooked; some said that it was truly fresh, with wild salmon tending to have a softer texture.
American Kobe rib-eye steak (with butter-braised lobster tail on three generation fry bread, and summer green and yellow bean salad): The beef side of the entrée was my favorite course of the night. I was glad for that kind of cut of beef, as it’s one of my favorites. I took home a portion of the steak and thin-sliced it to add to the bowls of cold Korean noodles. Delicious! I also enjoyed the lobster tail and accompaniments, though the fry bread felt a little forced and a bit unwieldy to eat.
The dinner at Salish showed me that a trip to Snoqualmie can be a feast for the eyes both outside the lodge, and inside its dining room. Now that Executive Chef Brad Komen and Sous Chef Matthew Mina have joined Chef de Cuisine Jack Strong, it will be interesting to see how the food there evolves.