Thursday, August 23, 2018

Canlis Restaurant Seattle Extraordinary Wine Dine Experience

Canlis Restaurant Seattle for Extraordinary Wine Dine Experience

One of the highlights of our Seattle Culinary and Washington Wine Tour was our dinner at Canlis Restaurant in North Seattle in the Queen Anne district overlooking upper Lake Union. Our son Ryan was also in Seattle at the same time and he arranged our dinner at Canlis.

Canlis is a family owned and operated restaurant run by second generation Mark Canlis, his wife Anne Marie, and brother Brian. Growing up  in a restaurant family, he joined Canlis in 2003, after graduating from Cornell University and serving as a Captain in Air Force Special Operations. He and Anne Marie met while opening famed restaurateur Danny Meyer’s fifth restaurant, Blue Smoke, in Manhattan. Mark returning to Seattle to take over the family business that is Canlis. He and Anne Marie reside on Queen Anne with their three children. More on our visit and study of the historic district and its Prairie Style and other architecture to come.

Speaking of architecture, Canlis is as much about the atmosphere and the experience as it is the food, wine and service. The restaurant is an architectural landmark in a special setting with a special view overlooking upper Lake Union. Its a masterpiece and there's not a bad seat in the house.

The Canlis website tells the story this way: "This is the story of building a restaurant from scratch, in a location “way outside of town” for a city that would “never appreciate fine dining.” It is the story of our great grandparents risking everything, our grandparents doing the same, and then watching our mom and dad do it again. It is a legacy rich with tradition, but not like you might think. Here, we’ve made a habit of breaking our own traditions for the sake of someone else’s. Canlis is something more: the recognition that the story that matters most is your own."

So, how fitting it was that our Canlis dinner was a mini family affair as wife Linda and son Ryan
joined me at this legendary family restaurant. Moreover, a subplot to the story, our niece Anna Long, married last fall into the Van Hoed family, farmers, wine growers, viticulturists and winemakers from the famed Walula Vineyards in the
Canlis Lake Union night view
Columbia River wine region. One of our goals for the week was to taste Den Hoed wine, which conveniently was available on the Canlis winelist. Our bottle of Andreas, the Den Hoed flagship was a highlight of our Canlis dining experience, and our Washington Wine experience.

Speaking of the Canlis winelist, it has had a twenty-one consecutive Wine Spectator Magazine Grand Awards dating back to 1997, only one of a handful in the world to be so honored for that length of time. During that time, Canlis has helped train four Master Sommeliers and nine advanced sommeliers, an extraordinary achievement. They have also collaborated to produce wines with world renowned producers Alois Kracher, Buty, Jean Milan, Hirsch, and Guiborat & Fils.

The Canlis menu offers a choice of hour course selections in a price fixe format.

Our opening wine selection
We started with the Canlis Salad, a signature dish featuring great grandmother’s recipe, with bacon, mint, and lemon.

My second course was the Haiga Rice, simmered in a brown butter dashi with dungeness crab, preserved strawberries, and hazelnuts. This was delicious. Ryan had the the Soured Corn Strascinati with burnt wheat, basil, and goat cheese. Linda had the Salmon, glazed in caramelized onion juice and grilled with fava beans and gari (shown below).

For the third and 'main' course, Linda had the Smoked Carrots with onion jam, beans, and celeriac. Ryan and I had the Ribeye Cote De Boeuf with spring onions with a sauce of grilled brassicas and preserved berry vinegar. This was a perfect complement to the Cayuse and the Den Hoed.

For the finale we had a selection of the offerings:

Soufflè with orange Curaçao, crème anglaise, and warm madeleines
Après Soleil - Apple galette, mustard, and caramelized onion,
and the highlight of the three,
Blueberry Mille Feuille, Lemon curd ice cream, vanilla custard, and bee pollen

For our wine flight accompanying dinner we chose the following:

Bruno Paillard Champagne Rose' Premiere Cuvee
Cayuse Vineyards Walla Walla En Chamberlin Vineyard Syrah 2011
Den Hoed Andreas Wallula Vineyard Horse Heaven Hills Cabernet Sauvignon 2012

Den Hoed Andreas Wallula Vineyard Horse Heaven Hills Cabernet Sauvignon 2012

Named for the patriarch founder, Andreas Den Hoed married Marie Den Hoed in 1956 and they planted their first vineyard on their property that year. After two years in the Army Andreas returned to the farm. In the early years, they paid the bills growing mint. He continued to plant more vineyards as resources allowed expanding acreage almost every year. In 1988, their two of his sons Bill and Andy joined the business as partners in a new project, with acreage planted to vineyards. Their sister is the mother-in-law of our niece Anna.

Interesting, Anna is a Long, not to be confused with the Long Shadows wines affiliated with the Den Hoed grape growing and wine making collaboration. Both she and her husband Nick are offspring grandfather's who were farmers and have uncles who continue to tend the family land.

The father and sons team continued to expand in the Yakima Valley for the next 5-6 years. After several years of searching, in 1997, they purchased a 550 acre parcel of land bordering the Columbia River in the Wallula Gap. Since then the vineyard has earned a reputation as one of the finest in the region. It is sited in a picturesque growing location nestled high above the mighty Columbia River south of of the town of Kennewick. The wines produced from this vineyard have proven to stand the test of time and can stand up and hold their own against the best wines of the new world. The 100% Cabernet Sauvignon Andreas became the namesake and flagship wine of Andreas Den Hoed.

The 2012 vintage of Den Hoed was crafted by winemaker Gilles Nicault of legendary Long Shadows. We visited the Long Shadows tasting room and report on that in a parrallel blogspot.

Being our first tasting experience of Den Hoed wine, and being priced below the median on the extensive Canlis winelist, we were dubious yet had high expectations. The Andreas met our most lofty hopes and expectations and was a highlight of our extraordinary meal.

This was crafted by collaborative winemaker Gilles Nicault (from Long Shadows) 168 cases were produced of the 2012 Andreas , 100% Cabernet Sauvignon, aged 30 months in 90% new French Oak. 

Dark garnet colored, full bodied, it was rich concentrated intense, yet nicely balanced, smooth polished and elegant, bright vibrant sweet ripe dark berry fruits with prunes accented by a layer of sweet mocha chocolate and notes of graphite, dusty leather, herbs and sweet oak on a long silky sinewy tannin laced finish.

RM 93 points.

The Den Hoed grower's description of the Wulula Vineyard and what makes it special. "Considered by some to be the best vineyard site in Washington state, Wallula Vineyard is a picturesque growing location nestled high above the mighty Columbia River south of Kennewick. The vineyard is planted on south-facing slopes which vary from 2% up to 30% grade and its perimeter totals 9 miles of varied terrain.  Of this perimeter, the shore of the Columbia River provides nearly 3.5 miles of waterfront. From the river's edge at 320 feet above sea level, the property climbs a distance of nearly 3.5 miles to its peak elevation of 1367 feet. The lower elevations of the property provide ideal growing conditions for ultra-premium reds while conditions at the upper elevations allow for high quality whites to be grown. The river is of utmost importance as the water acts as a massive insulator where during the day heat accumulates quickly and at night it provides a cooling effect once the sun goes down."

We look forward to acquiring more Den Hoed wines and visiting the property in the Columbia Valley.

Our plates:

 Haiga Rice, simmered in a brown butter dashi with dungeness crab

 Salmon, glazed in caramelized onion juice and grilled with fava beans and gari

 Ribeye Cote De Boeuf with spring onions with a sauce of grilled brassicas

Blueberry Mille Feuille, Lemon curd ice cream, vanilla custard, and bee pollen

 Après Soleil - Apple galette, mustard, and caramelized onion

Canlis nightview to northeast ...

More to come ...