Testing a Tasting Menu at Goldfinch Tavern

goldfinch logoI’ve been following chef Joe Ritchie around (in a non-stalking way!), enjoying his cooking at Cave B Inn, Ray’s Boathouse, and most recently Mkt. He recently moved from the intimate atmosphere of that Tangletown restaurant to Ethan Stowell’s newest opening: Goldfinch Tavern at the Four Seasons Hotel Seattle.

Things have changed since ART restaurant was the main act at the Four Seasons. Some lament the loss of the cheese and chocolate buffets, but change is good. It’s a major makeover, with the restaurant rather casual for a high-end hotel. Really, it’s an upscale tavern, with nice (though somewhat industrial) views of Elliott Bay.

With focus on the food, I can say it is solid. Goldfinch Tavern was generous in inviting me for a meal, with Ritchie recommending the tasting menu route to explore more of the offerings. (There’s an emphasis on regional seafood, and also a strong beef selection.) As I’ve come to expect from his cooking, the flavors were fantastic, with enough ingredients to make the dishes interesting, but the preparations not too fussy.

(All around me, at virtually every table, people were eating burgers both during happy hour and beyond it, and I must say that the rare beef looked incredible. I will return to give the burger a try.)

Oysters with peppercorn ice and red wine mignonette

Oysters with peppercorn ice and red wine mignonette

My favorite bite of the night: geoduck crudo with cucumber, celery leaf, and pink peppercorn (photo courtesy of Four Seasons Hotel Seattle, as I experienced photo failure on this dish)

My favorite bite of the night: geoduck crudo with cucumber, celery leaf, and pink peppercorn (photo courtesy of Four Seasons Hotel Seattle, as I experienced photo failure on this dish)

Hamachi crudo with Taggiasca olives, horseradish, red onion, and chervil (with the geoduck, proof that crudo is an especially delicious thing to order at Goldfinch Tavern)

Hamachi crudo with Taggiasca olives, horseradish, red onion, and chervil (with the geoduck, proof that crudo is an especially delicious thing to order at Goldfinch Tavern)

Beef tartare with 12-year scotch and cucumber relish on grilled bread

Beef tartare with 12-year scotch and cucumber relish on grilled bread

Beet & Dungeness crab salad with endive, orange, and tarragon (beet and crab is a surprisingly nice combination, and the citrus pulled it together well)

Beet & Dungeness crab salad with endive, orange, and tarragon (beet and crab is a surprisingly nice combination, and the citrus pulled it together well)

(Quillisacut Farms) Goat cheese bruschetta with Bing cherry compote and (fried) sage - not a dish I would have ordered, but a tasting menu means delicious discoveries

(Quillisacut Farms) Goat cheese bruschetta with Bing cherry compote and (fried) sage – not a dish I would have ordered, but a tasting menu means delicious discoveries

Mushroom ravioli with porcini mushrooms, ricotta, and parmigiano reggiano (the marjoram was a great touch)

Mushroom ravioli with porcini mushrooms, ricotta, and parmigiano reggiano (the marjoram was a great touch)

Mishima Ranch wagyu beef culotte with black currant sauce, wilted greens, and fried artichokes (there was a side of roasted morel mushrooms) - flavorful preparation of a favorite cut of beef

Mishima Ranch wagyu beef culotte with black currant sauce, wilted greens, and fried artichokes (there was a side of roasted morel mushrooms) – flavorful preparation of a favorite cut of beef

Refreshing sorbets to finish: rhubarb and strawberry aperol

Refreshing sorbets to finish: rhubarb and strawberry aperol

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