I had the recent pleasure of dining at Crémant, a captivating, authentic French bistro in Madrona.
Barring unforeseen circumstances, I plan to eat my last meal on Earth in a French bistro. To me, the rich decadence of traditional bistro fare is a reminder that you’re alive. Though most cardiologists agree that joie de vivre and fois gras become mutually exclusive after a few consecutive evenings, the French still manage to outlive us by 5-10 years, n’est pas?
Given my vigor for all dishes French, my recent visit to Crémant hit the spot. In a day and age when Americans are so insecure of their own culture that they’ll only eat “Freedom Fries”, my faith in humanity is restored when witnessing chef/owner Scott Emerick’s faithful execution of the most unabashedly French dishes that have existed since Louis XIV. For example, the Foie Gras Salade Royal ($14, pictured above)is an increasing rarity among restaurants and gourmet food shops, but its inclusion on the menu signals a steadfast allegiance to everything good about French cuisine. Furthermore, this particular foie gras had a noticeably fresh flavor and texture that paired well with the sweet crunch of the pistachios and green beans.
My personal favorite dish was the Os à Moelle Rôti ($12, pictured above), three roasted marrow bones served with a pile of salt and a small spoon. Again, I commend the chef for his inclusion of this staple. I would gladly return for lunch and order several more plates.
Unfortunately, there were a few negatives to the meal as well. Besides the foie gras and marrow bones, which were plated with generous pinch of sel gris, there was a prevailing undersaltedness to many of the dishes, including the pork rillette, salt cod and potato puree, and braised pork shoulder. And, although the wine list at Crémant is fine enough to make an Alsatian blush (little wine humor), my glass of red was served about 10° too cold, which is a shame when your wine list includes $140 Burgundies. If these critiques seem picky, that’s because they are. There is a clear attention to detail and an adherence to the French culinary attitude of perfection at Crémant, so these small, correctable mistakes stood out even more.
I will gladly return to Crémant, hopefully before the eve of my death. I wonder if they’ll accept my prescription for bone marrow?