2011/09/05

Nawlins in Queen Anne

Well, maybe not. But I'll start by saying that I have nothing but good things to say about Toulouse Petit Kitchen & Lounge.

It was serendipitous that I found the place. I belong to Open Table, a service that allows you to book a table online and gives you points (eventually redeemed for vouchers) for doing so. Open Table operates in many cities, so I set it to Seattle and checked out the results. I looked at restaurants by type of cuisine. Near the top, I saw "Cajun/Creole/Southern." Our kind of food, and cuisines we don't get often enough. The category led to Toulouse Petit. The menu looked fantastic, and reviews that I saw were overwhelmingly positive. So I booked for Saturday night.

Toulouse Petit is not in the least petit! It's quite a large room, with the usual exposed high ceiling, and the walls faux finished and decorated with rows of lit candles. Quite lovely! We usually get annoyed when WE food reviewer Andrew Morrison spends several paragraphs of his review on decor, but we really appreciated this room ourselves. Still, only one paragraph!

One interesting thing about the room was that it was "energetic," the word review sites often use to describe a room that's far from quiet, but Sweetie and I could have a conversation with no problem. It's not a quiet, romantic place, but the combination of the sounds of people having a great time and the ability still to hold a conversation was very pleasant.

The menu is large, and we were a bit overwhemled at first. Our server brought us some slice baguette and butter while we were pondering. We decided to go with the prix fixe menu, a lovely selection of "first," "second," and "third" plates for $33 (with some items costing a bit more). Sweetie started with a salad of heirloom tomatoes with artichoke hearts and arugula. I went with the Toulouse seafood gumbo. Sweetie enjoyed her salad. I was having mouth-gasms over the gumbo. It exploded with flavour, and it was loaded with crawfish, shrimp, and Andouille sausage. I could easily have ordered a bowl of that and been happy. It was well worth the extra two dollars.

For our second course, we decided to share one order of crawfish beignets (done a bit like fritters) that came with two different spicy sauces, and one order of Dungeness crab ravigote over fried green tomatoes. The crab plate was generous and tasty, although not as distinctive as I thought it might be. The beignets, on the other hand, were to die for. Again, we could easily have kept those coming.

We might have done a share thing for the third course, especially with risotto on the menu that sounded lovely, but we couldn't resist going for full portions of "Gulf Shrimp, Crawfish, and Housemade Andouille Sausage over Creamy Corn Grits." Oh baby! This was seriously rich and seriously good. The grits were so nice a creamy because of a sharp cheese that was blended in. We took it slow and enjoyed every beautiful bite.

To accompany this feast, we ordered a half litre of a Viognier from the Columbia Valley in Washington. I like Washington and Oregon wines, and it turned out that my nose for a good wine to match the spicy seafood worked quite well. The wine was fruity enough to stand up to the food, and we enjoyed it very much.

We were groaning happily. While Sweetie was away in the washroom, our server came back to ask if we wanted dessert. We had already agreed that we didn't, but I figured it couldn't hurt to look at the dessert menu, right? Well, I should have thought that a Cajun/Creole restaurant would have bread pudding, something neither of us can resist. So we decided to split it. It wasn't just any bread pudding. We're talking white chocolate bread pudding with whiskey sauce, blackberry compote, and vanilla bean ice cream. Wow. It's a good thing that we split it!

Oh, washroom note. They were quite nice and clean, but the most notable thing were the taps. Instead of a standard spigot, there was a kind of sluice! Or maybe a trough? It worked great, and looked really cool. Should have taken a picture, because I can't find anything on the web that looks like it.

Toulouse Petit has really embraced "recesssion" cuisine that so many high-end restaurants are doing, offering great food for very reasonsable prices. Really, it was a memorable meal from start to finish. We've heard the brunch is amazing. I hope we can make it back for any meal of the day before too long.

1 comment:

Aerin said...

The food sounds fantastic - i have to see if our pastry chef friend can reproduce dessert!

I've seen those "sluice" faucets as well, although I can't remember *where* at the moment... Kinda cool though. I also like the new Tyson hand dryers. WHOOSH!