Monday, March 7, 2011

Late Night Dinner at Toulouse Petit

Me and my hurricane at Toulouse
On Friday night Matt and I had dinner at Toulouse Petit on Queen Anne (601 Queen Anne Avenue N, Seattle 98119 or www.toulousepetit.com). I had been wanting to go to this particular restaurant ever since it opened about a year ago, but it never really worked out until last weekend. Of course, our timing couldn't have been worse since it is currently Mardi Gras and this is a creole/cajun restaurant. So a table was nearly impossible to come by and we had to settle for a 9 pm dinner reservation because that was literally the earliest available table.

When we got to Toulouse at precisely 9 pm on the dot we still had to wait for 10 minutes for our table to be ready, but it gave us a chance to look at all the Mardi Gras fanfare they had on display. The candles that line the walls (which are normally plain white tea lights) were purple, green and gold. There was a giant mask on the wall and all of the servers were wearing masks. There were purple, green and gold beads and balloons everywhere . . . let's just say they were quite festive.

Finally, the hostess told us our table was ready and gave us menus. The menu at Toulouse is overwhelming to say the least! It is 8 pages long and extremely eclectic. It took us about 15 minutes to look over the whole thing and get an idea of what we wanted. I asked the waitress for recommendations as well, but she was useless . . . "Oh, everything is SO good. You'd be happy with anything you order." Hmmm, we're already here, so there is no need for your generic marketing: for the love of GOD just give me a damn recommendation. I absolutely hate servers who are so laissez-faire about their jobs that they can't take a moment to rack their brains and help out a customer. Enough of my rant for now though.

We started by ordering hurricanes, which I had the week before when we came here for drinks. The hurricanes at Toulouse are a boutique version of the New Orleans, Pat O'Brien's original. The original hurricane is essentially fruit punch kool-aid and a TON of rum, and is quite tasty. Toulouse's version is a mixture of real fruit juices and rum, is also quite delicious, and won't turn your tongue an unnatural shade of ruby red (which, for me, is a plus).
Hurricanes!
Next, after much debate between the two of us we ordered appetizers. We ordered the sinister shrimp and the steak tartare (see photos below). My favorite of the two was the sinister shrimp. They were very spicy as the name would suggest, but they came with this wonderful, smokey, creamy, chipotle sauce that was so good I almost wanted to lick it off the plate. Since licking the plate is frowned upon in polite company I restrained myself, but wow was it yummy! The steak tartare was good, but it's not really my thing. Matt loves it so he really wanted to order it. He really loved it and ate most of it. I thought it was fun that they left the over easy yolk in the shell and presented it to us. My favorite part of this dish was the gravy-like sauce on the side. It was really spectacular, and went very well with the steak.

I will say that the actual steak was a bit grey in color, which suggests to me that it wasn't freshly cut and had been sitting a bit too long. The tartare tasted fine, but the discoloration left me a bit afraid that we might get sick later . . . we were both totally fine, but one shouldn't have to worry about this sort of thing at an upscale restaurant.
Sinister Shrimp
Steak Tartare
Now came the very daunting task of choosing our entrees. I chose the butternut squash and white truffle risotto, which Matt picked out of the whole menu as what I would order before I even told him. He is getting good at predicting my menu choices; maybe I am getting a bit too predictable. He ordered the cajun meatloaf, which I actually considered ordering myself, but it seemed like a bit too much protein for me at that time of the evening (see photos of entrees below). I really liked my risotto, but I have to say that I didn't really get any butternut squash flavor out of it, which was a bit strange for me. It was creamy and decadent and definitely truffled, but no butternut squash. The mushrooms in it were divine and added a great flavor. I would definitely order this dish again. Matt's meatloaf was amazing. It was spicy and flavorful and the potatoes that came with were creamy and delicious. Next time we go to Toulouse (which will hopefully be MUCH earlier in the evening) I am ordering the meatloaf!
Cajun Meatloaf

Butternut Squash & White Truffle Risotto

Overall Toulouse Petit was fun and had great food. However, if I could make one change it would be that they edit their menu down a bit: take 15 things you do GREAT and throw out the rest. The prices at Toulouse weren't too steep either. Our bill came to just under $100 (without tip) and we got a LOT of food and a great night on the town for that price, which, in Seattle is a steal.

We'll go back to Toulouse for sure, but the next time will be for brunch (which I hear is fabulous). I checked out the menu and they have a bananas foster french toast, which looks heavenly . . . I'll find out and report back!

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