Review – Cafe Juanita Tasting Menu (Kirkland, WA)

Introduction

I figure since my wife and I have been on a tasting menu tear of late and that we’re gonna be hitting up some restaurants in New York for our upcoming trip, I figured we’d actually try out all the ones in Seattle.  For reference, I thought Canlis was overrated.  Herb Farm is ridiculously overpriced and definitely NOT worth it.  Scout so far has been our favorite.

Cafe Juanita was featured on one of those ‘Top Restaurant Lists” in Seattle.  I usually ignore those lists, but the other restaurants they had listed were spot-on, so I figured they couldn’t be wrong about Cafe Juanita.  For reference, here’s one of those lists that will make you roll your eyes (Cafe Juanita is #1 by the way.)  With all this hype, I HAD to at least try it out.

 

Reservations

I had booked reservations for a Wednesday night on Open Table.  We had no problems booking a table.  When we got to the restaurant, it was probably only half full, so you’ll have no problems on a weeknight (not sure about weekends.)  We made a note on the reservation that we were going to get the tasting menu, which they recommend you do.

There were only ~10 parking spots in front and all were full when we arrived.  We parked on the street at an apartment complex behind the restaurant and walked ~5 minutes.

 

Conclusion

The pictures and quick comments will follow below.  The vibe wasn’t as lively as Scout.  We both had the wine pairings (which were very generous pours,) but my gripe was they didn’t pour the wine at the table.  This doesn’t really matter at the end of the day, but I think it’s just a bit more sophisticated when the sommelier comes out with the bottle, explains to you the grape, and then pours the wine.

Overall, while the food was okay, it wasn’t innovative enough for us.  Plus, I prefer more seafood in my tasting menus. It was also pretty pricey (nearly the same price as Scout,) so if the food wasn’t better and the ambiance wasn’t better than Scout, why would I ever go back?  Save your money and go to Scout instead!

 

Pictures

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The meal started off with some prosciutto and a glass of vermouth on the rocks.  I’ve never had vermouth on the rocks (or not inside a martini,) and it was delicious.  I asked for the brand and it was Contratto Vermouth Bianco.  I may pick up a bottle to sip at home now.

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I was excited to eat caviar on the ground for once.  It was okay (I’m not a caviar connoisseur so probably wouldn’t know the difference.)  The noodles were a bit on the salty side, which I relayed to the server.  It paired well with the wine though.

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This endive salad was pretty good though.  There were bites were I thought it was heavily dressed and some bites were just fine.

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My wife loves foie gras, but I’m not a fan.  She loved this course.

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This one just sorta doesn’t belong.  It was a pasta(?) with a parmigiana foam.  Either way, it was too “filling.”

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The usual meat course to end the night.  Nothing too special here.

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My wife’s dessert, which was pretty good.

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This has been IG filtered.  This was my chocolate and passion fruit ice cream dessert.

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Oooph.  At least I used my CSR for 3X.  I told my wife we are eating at home for the next couple of months.