In true Seattle fashion Art of the Table (AOTT) offers a relaxed, casual, ‘lick-your-plate’ aesthetic.  The atmosphere says ‘come as you are,’ but the menu gets down to business with bougie prices and descriptions that require an interpreter (did we mention it’s bougie?) But hey, we’re here to celebrate a birthday and a first team outing – so we are ready to go big! Bring on the 7 course tasting menu.

Money Score

A tasting menu is always fun, but we find the $125 price tag (sans vino) to be a bit high for the meal.  To nav this experience, we recommend going a la carte – or if you decide to do the tasting menu, choose your own adventure with the wine. Adding the wine pairing options adds $70 per person and the experience is much enriched by putting that money towards a special bottle of vine-ripened happy juice  

Consciousness Score

AOTT’s commitment to locally sourced food impressed us. There was a nice representation of regional wines, but only one Pinot Noir (from the Columbia Valley). They are billed as a neighborhood restaurant, and the service and kitchen staff were from diverse backgrounds, which we love to see!

The ambiance was pleasant overall – it’s a lively atmosphere but not too loud, and the exposed prep area gave the place some comforting open-concept charm. It’s especially great if you like to make sure the Ratatouille mouse isn’t your chef for the evening.

We also much appreciated that the restaurant took the time to call ahead about dietary restrictions.  

‘All The Feels’ Score

The laid back, modern ambiance made us feel comfortable, and the exposed prep area created an air of charm. The staff’s timing for our instagram-worthy courses was spot on, but we weren’t all that thrilled with our server. He may just have been having an off night, but we sensed an air of disdain regarding our comments and questions. Do not try to out-bougie us, sir, we will win.

What We Ordered

The restaurant called us early to make sure they could accommodate any special dietary restrictions, which was great since our group has some annoying ones (me). As a pescatarian and former vegetarian, the FOMO on a tasting menu can really get to me, so this was much appreciated.

2013 Gilbert Cellars Horse Heaven Hills Cabernet Franc ($79/bottle)

As you’d expect in Seattle, AOTT has an extensive cocktail menu, but their wine menu and modern cellar-like ambiance make it the perfect setting to indulge in a bottle and conversation.  Order the local Gilbert Cellars 2013 Cabernet Franc – coffee and dark fruit notes make it a real show stopper, and it pairs perfectly with many of the wide variety of unique flavors on the menu. You might even say the pairing is “elevated,” but that wouldn’t stop me from straining my eyes from a massive eye roll.

Alaskan weathervane scallop crudo

(Daikon, citrus, cilantro, ponzu, prik nam pla)

The prettiest item on the food menu and our winner for most unique texture and flavor. It’s almost too pretty to eat, but a pack of hungry women will beat out artistry every time. The scallops are soft, fresh-tasting, and dissolve in your mouth.  Bites of grapefruit and a citrus marinade make this a light, refreshing way to awaken your palate.

Torchon of foie gras

(Buttermilk pancake, caramelized beet tartare, satsuma, orange gel, duck quacklins, pecan butter, cocoa nib vinaigrette)

Foie gras in its traditional form is nothing short of perfection, so why change it by making it into a strange gelatinous, overly sweet paté? I can get behind a good pun — duck quacklins, anyone? — but otherwise, this one can be skipped.

Sunchoke agnolotti

(Perigord truffle, mushroom rage, red onion soubise, pine nut brown butter, fried parsley)

Presentation is lovely, with mouthwatering truffle slices perched atop handmade raviolis that are a bit al dente (not ideal). However seeing the truffles without being able to smell them is a bit of a dagger to the heart.  If truffles aren’t your thing, you may actually love this dish – but beware if you’re craving this delicious fungi  like a truffle pig in the forest . Disappointment follows.

Cascade aqua farms Arctic char

(Brussels sprouts, pickled beech mushrooms, radish variations, dashi curry oil)

Our menu favorite! The Arctic char is fresh, tender, and soaks up the tasty curry oil. This dish captures what you want from a place like AOTT – locally sourced, fresh, seasonal cuisine with a special flavor twist.  The Brussels sprouts and cute beech mushrooms are a tender and tasty accompaniment. Real talk: If this group can agree on a favorite, it must be good.

Magret duck breast

(Caraway cabbage, gnocchi grilled apple, turnip, pickled mustard seed, quince, duck jus)

Beautifully presented, however inconsistent preparation. One was underdone and the other perfect – if you feel like taking a gamble go right ahead.

Dinah’s camembert

(Roasted Bosc pear, onion jam, anise seed honey, parmesan-pecan shortbread)

Alas camembert in the states is not as potent and rich as in its homeland of France (yes, I’m a cheese snob, get over it), but we loved that cheese was locally sourced from Vashon Island. Order this for a light refreshing dessert with a hint of saltiness, complimented by sweet pear and a crunchy shortbread.

Lemon polenta cake

(Citrus salad, orange curd, vanilla bean ice cream, sumac sugar, almond bark)

Our second favorite all around. Flavors of citrus, crunchy almonds, and vanilla ice cream are simply delicious yet light on the stomach. Just the thing to digest this slightly over-priced, but nevertheless tasty meal.