Canlis- Best Restaurants in Seattle
After being an ardent fan of Canlis since my teenage years, I’m thrilled to finally be adding this one of a kind gem to AsianFusion’s list of Favorite Restaurants Around the World. I can think of no restaurant in America that better deserves all the accolades it has received. Steeped in 60 years of rich, inspiring family history, Canlis sets the gold standard for what all fine dining restaurants should strive to be today.
Stepping into this waterfront haven surrounded by hefty doors with intricately carved handles, slabs of dark grey stone and enormous windows that allow you to get lost in the reflection of Seattle in rippling waters is to step back into an era where class and quality actually meant something. Superlative service from every staff member begins with a very warm welcome and continues with authentic smiles, soft-spoken words and team work orchestrated with precision.
If the Ritz Carlton makes us feel like ‘ladies and gentlemen’ in the hospitality industry, then Canlis makes us feel like “princesses and princes’ in the culinary industry. Distant twinkles of the Seattle skyline complemented the awesome glittering of ladies’ gowns and baubles in the dining room, muted only by the men’s pristine, crisp suits- all a testament to the utmost respect that Canlis and its loyal guests have for each other and themselves. Yes, there is a dress code here and I, for one, can’t decide whether to give a standing ovation or kowtow to the justified audacity that Canlis has as one of the last remaining high class legends in America.
Canlis defines refined sophistication with a genuine sense of joie de vivre, not a scent of stuffiness in the air…
A trio of carefully crafted amuse bouche and a spectacular Watermelon Gazpacho teased the palate into the coming hours of one mouthgasm after another. The Pork Belly with a savory Mint Coulis melts on the tongue, its alluring, robust sweetness solidifying its place as one of the two best pork belly dishes in America. Hamachi Sashimi with yuzu and tart green apple pays homage to Seattle’s Asian influence- its piquant clean lines a light segue into the heavier dishes of the evening.
A firm, flaky Halibut daringly seasoned and perfectly seared seemed to have arrived from its watering hole not long before being served on my plate. Wagyu Tenderloin dissolved nearly at first taste, its warm juices blending with the divine savory bean purée. Every bite slowed just a little more in hopes of making the evening last just a little longer. But what would such a gastronomical celebration be without an artistic rendition of banana gelato with swaths of chocolate and peanut butter crumble or an ultra smooth Vanilla bean crème brulée…
If Monet were a chef, the dishes at Canlis would be his masterpieces- heartbreakingly gorgeous, emotionally profound and technically flawless. From treasured childhood memories to new but equally sweet moments, as long as Canlis continues for generations, I will keep returning with generations of my own family to be part of an extraordinary legacy.