Seastar Restaurant & Raw Bar – Elegant restaurant with semi-fancy food.
As much as we wanted to write our first 4-star review for the site, we disappointingly were unable to give 4 starts to Chef John Howie’s Seastar Restaurant and Raw Bar. With two locations — one in Bellevue downtown and one in Westlake, it is certainly a special occasion place and an elegant seafood dining experience. Everyone here is dressed decently, nails done, and no flip flops in sight.
We ordered the Chef Tasting Menu, which sounded quite reasonable at $75 for 5 courses. An additional $39 for wine pairing. We were pleasantly surprised with the first dish, thinking this might be our first 4-star restaurant. Copper River Sockeye Crudo to start with avocado and meyer lemon. It was light, nicely seasoned, and fresh. I loved the crunchy, salty black Hawaiian sea salt finish. However, this is when the pleasant surprise and hopefulness faded. The Atlantic Diver Scallops were overcooked for me, OK on Candace’s plate. The polenta souffle was nice and crunchy on the outside, but pretty grainy on the inside. The popcorn shoots had a hint of corn taste, but tasted like eating petals of a flower. No bueno.
Photos by Sean.
The Seared Alaskan Halibut was served over a morel and English pea risotto. The peas were undercooked (this is like the third pea risotto we’ve had this month! Be more creative, people!) and the morels tasted as if they were dried and rehydrated. You could literally squish the water out of them and they had no flavor whatsoever. The risotto itself was cooked nicely and the sauce was done well. The halibut was overcooked and rubbery. Neither of us finished it. The Filet Mignon was served with porchini mushrooms, individually baked potatoes au gratin, with a luscious veal glace. The mushrooms and glace were the best thing on this plate. The filet was not overcooked, but somehow mysteriously very dry. The potatoes were raw.
Lastly, dessert was the overly dense Cheesecake baked with dehydrated strawberries, a rhubarb compote and a campari sugar puff (a fancy name for cotton candy). The cheesecake was not light and fluffy, but tasted like straight cream cheese from the package. The cotton candy was whimsical and pretty, but didn’t do anything for the dish. Plus, cotton candy sucks. The pairing of the late harvest Gewurtztraminer dessert wine was delicious though.
Lunch is offered Monday through Friday 11:30 am to 2:30 pm. Dinner is served Monday through Saturday from 5:00 pm to 10:00 pm and Sunday from 5:00 pm to 9:00 pm. The Raw Bar is open Monday through Friday from 11:30 am to closing and on the weekends from 5:00 pm to closing. Happy Hour is Monday through Friday 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm and Sunday from 5:00 pm to 10:00 pm.
Summary: the Chef Tasting with Wine Pairing is a nice dining experience, but unfortunately, the food just wasn’t as nice as the service and the atmosphere.
Recommendation: It’s a nice place to take your parents or family out for a special occasion – graduation, family birthday, etc, but it’s not for food lovers.
Seastar Restaurant and Raw Bar | 2121 Terry Ave, Suite 108, Seattle | (206) 462 – 3609