Ethan Stowell has confirmed that Noyer, his ultra-high-end eatery in Madrona, will not be built out at the original location.
Plans had called for Noyer (“walnut tree” in French) to take over the garden and storage space behind Stowell’s popular, new steak-frites house, Red Cow (1423 34th Ave.).
“It’s not good enough,” Stowell said, of the location.
No word yet on where the new location will be, although Jason Wilson has Crush (2319 E. Madison St.), his house-restaurant, listed for sale. It’s just a mile away and more centrally located and has better parking.
Noyer was envisioned as a private-event venue for extravagant, multi-course dinners with amazing wines, in the $400-per-person range.
In any event, construction of the Madrona location had been put on hold over the summer.
Two high-end restaurants close to Madison Park are actually available, should Stowell (and his backers) be interested. In addition to Crush, listed for about $1 million, there’s the Madison Park Conservatory (1927 43rd Ave. E.), which closed six months ago.
Some extra kitchen help
In the meantime, if $400-a-plate sounds a little too steep for you and you’d rather drink some of those bottles in your own cellar, there’s a new way for folks to entertain at home.
Murmuring voices on the patio, the tinkle of glasses and your table set with finery, while your kitchen is in the competent hands of an experienced professional chef putting the finishing touches on dinner.
The menu? You’ve selected that yourself, but you didn’t need to shop, chop or mop — that’s all been taken care of by a new website called Kitchensurfing. In mid-July, Seattle became the sixth city for this marketplace, where carefully vetted freelance chefs post a variety of suggested menus (at prices that begin around $40 per person, comparable to restaurant meals) for customers who want to entertain at home.
A second concept: You’ve got a lovely place (view, gourmet kitchen, wine cellar) of your own, but throwing a dinner party comes with its own problems. If you don’t have the time and energy to cook a fancy meal yourself, you’ll need call for delivery.
At any given moment on any given night, there are plenty of talented restaurant chefs who aren’t working in professional kitchens. Maybe they’re between jobs, maybe it’s their day off, maybe their ambition is “personal chef.” At any rate, there is lots of talent out there.
There’s a sort-of-similar site called Munchery also coming to Seattle this summer. You select the meals you want from a website, the food comes from a commissary setting and the delivery guy texts you when he’s getting close.
A delivery service called Bite Squad has been around for a couple of months now; it places orders directly with restaurant kitchens.
Another new outfit, called Blue Apron, will deliver ingredients to your house.
And yet another, this one backed by Howard Schultz, called Gathered Table, offers to put together menus if you’re really at a loss.
Also, Nic Norton at Cafe Parco (1807 42nd Ave. E.) would be more than happy to put together a winemaker dinner for you and a few friends (10 is a good number). Pick the date, and he’ll come up with the winemaker. Then, chef Celinda Norton gets to work on a menu.
Lost in translation
Did you attend the Bastille Bash in Madison Valley the weekend before Bastille Day? This was the third time around, and it was pretty well done, all things considered. An impressive roster of corporate sponsors, an expanded footprint (four blocks along East Madison Street, plus a spur along 29th Avenue), flags, banners, tents, street performers, traffic wardens, platoons of volunteers, wine gardens, spirits tastings, bottle sales, food stalls, musicians and singers on three stages — altogether admirable, a very popular event and a showcase of European culture.
I do wish that someone had paid more attention to proofreading the signage. There’s no such thing as “Le Toilette,” to name the worst example. And even when you use the correct gender, “la toilette” in the singular refers to morning ablutions. It’s “les toilettes,” as natural a term as “restrooms” in English.
But it was particularly hilarious to see Harbour Pointe Coffeehouse (2818 E. Madison St.) getting a “chicken slider” wrong on its menu, calling it “tiré curseur.” In a badly flubbed translation that we can sort of blame on Google, it used the term for the sliding closure on a baggie. (It got worse: They called a salmon slider “Saumon de Poulet.”)
Virginie Blackmoor of French Truly, who holds her monthly French movie nights at Harbour Pointe, was appalled.
RONALD HOLDEN is a restaurant writer and consultant who blogs at Cornichon.org and Crosscut.com. To comment on this column, write to MPTimes@nwlink.com.