For K’s birthday she wanted to go somewhere fancy for a fun evening. I had heard very good things about Altura and been given a gift card by a friend so we went for a latish seating, 7:45, that stretched into a three-hour marathon evening. I’ve had more food with other tasting menus and the relatively long breaks between a few of the courses was nice. The kitchen was fairly small and very oddly shaped, it was long and narrow. Bar seating ran the length of the kitchen and sat 15+ to give you an idea how long it was, while the cooks and chefs had to squeeze past each other to get from one end to the other.
I would say this is the best meal I’ve had in Seattle or anywhere else for that matter. Everything was perfectly cooked and the flavors were intense and memorable. Like many other places the mussel was covered in a smoke filled glass top that hit you when they took the glass away, after recently getting a Big Green Egg smelling wood smoke makes me very happy. The beef carpaccio was a very pleasant surprise, I told them I’m not a fan of beets and it was supposed to be bone marrow roasted beet, I was expecting some other vegetable as a substitute. The abalone was my favorite, the burnt honey was fantastic and there was a good amount of spice to the dish which would have been enough with the vegetables, the abalone was just icing on the cake. The pigeon was my second favorite, you can see the huge salt flakes on the meat which really brought out its flavor and I loved how the skin was charred while the meat was still barely cooked.
Altura is moving to a tasting only menu soon, a smart move I think since almost everyone I saw was doing it anyway. Being able to focus on one menu for the entire evening will make it easier on the kitchen and perhaps make the food that much better, but I think that will be hard to do.