My cousin Sal from San Francisco has all grown up. She's about to be married! With the limited amount of time and logistics, Viv and I booked our flights for San Francisco sans nos enfants. That's right, we ain't bringing the kids for the wedding. That means more sleep and more eats! So, possibly disappointed in not seeing her nephew since he was one and not ever even meeting her niece, Sal decided to take a short trip into Seattle and then drive up to meet us for lunch. Wow, that's dedication. Naturally, she had to pick the coldest week so far to visit. Lovely. At least she gets to see snow. For some odd reason, she and her fiance did not have any desire for Asian food (despite the obvious places to eat around here). Therefore, I thought long and hard about a place to eat that had good food and something touristy. I briefly considered Salmon House on the Hill since it holds a place in my heart (not the food, but the restaurant itself). You see, my uncle worked there in the 80's and we would frequent the place quite often. Moreover, that was where Viv and I had our first date as well. Sentimental, good view, yet not necessarily great food (decent, but not great). Then I remembered Fraiche which had an even better view and supposedly better food. Keep in mind, we went for brunch and that is only a partial sample of their eats. But then again, the view is so spectacular during a sunny day...
So Sal decided to start with the Caesar Salad, which was lightly dressed. So much so, she thought they had forgotten the dressing. This was to her liking though since she doesn't like her salad slathered with too much moisture. The crunchy lardons added the much needed saltiness to the crisp romaine. Originally, we were both seduced by the mention of a Squash and Lobster Bisque, however, there was some miscommunication and it was in fact, unavailable.
Scrambling to find a replacement, I merely rattled off the first thing I could remember from the menu being the Arugula Salad. Imagine how I felt when my main had the same salad as a side... Doh! At the very least, the actual salad had thin slices of apple underneath, some frisee and a Parmesan crisp on top. The salad was quite refreshing and light. The apples provided some sweetness to balance the bitterness and peppery notes. As for my main, I had the Chorizo and Leek Omelet. There was a bounty of mild chorizo spilling out of the fluffy omelet. The leeks and carrots were still slightly firm, which added a nice crunch, as well as a pleasant rawness. I loved the fried cubed potatoes. They were super crisp and I suspect they fried it twice.
My dad had the Smoked Salmon Benny which was served with the same potatoes and the same arugula salad. Not a negative by any stretch of the imagination. Just pointing out the arugula... I guess I shouldn't have ordered the salad! So as you can readily see in the picture, the free-range eggs were perfectly runny and aesthetically-pleasing. The English muffin was toasted nicely crispy which held up to the egg yolk and Hollandaise. And about that Hollandaise... It was very good. Good consistency and well-balanced with a nice hit of lemon while still buttery enough.
For my mom, she went for the meat (like she always does) in the Steak and Eggs. This was prepared a bit differently than typical versions. Rather than scramble eggs, the grilled flat iron steak was topped with 2 fried eggs and a demi-glace. The steak was prepared a perfect medium-rare and was quite flavourful. Getting a bite of each component made for a tasty eat.
Sal ended up with the Lobster Quiche which yes, came with the same arugula salad. Argh. Why did I order a whole plate of it??? The slice of quiche was a fairly healthy portion that she struggled to finish. It was quite heavy with lots of lobster essence as well as chucks of meat. It wasn't the fluffiest of quiches, yet it wasn't incredibly dense either. The crust was buttery and flaky. Her fiance decided to go for the Pemberton Beef Burger with caramelized onions, house smoked bacon, aged cheddar and fries. The fries were crispy and appeared to be double-fried. The burger itself was not bad, but the beef was not exactly juicy. It probably had something to do with it being cooked all-the-way through. He never had the choice to have it done any other way (probably not ground to order). In the end, he still liked it.
With everyone practically covering most of the brunch menu, Viv was left not many other choices. Hence, she opted for the Grilled Chicken Sandwich. In addition to the crisp lettuce and tomato, there was a spread of truffle mayo on the crunchy bread. This was actually quite strong and added a good amount of flavour to an otherwise mild piece of chicken breast. It was, however, grilled nicely and remained moist and tender. Lastly, for the kiddies, they shared an order of the Brioche French Toast served with maple syrup, Chantilly cream and fresh berries. If you are wondering where all these accompaniments are in the picture, they were served on the side since my son only likes syrup. As for my daughter, she had everything. I swiped a piece of the French toast from my son and I don't think he even noticed. He's so disinterested in food, I often wonder if any of my genes are in him! As for the toast, it was pillowy soft and there was just enough egg soaked in. I personally loved the egg-on-egg thing going on. As we were finishing up, everyone soaked in the sunshine (which has been a rarity) and the gorgeous view. In terms of the food, it was solid, particularly for a brunch. If I had to compare, it probably comes out ahead to Salmon House on the Hill in terms of food and view (since it is higher up), yet it comes at a higher price point as well.
- Outstanding view
- Food (brunch in this case) is above-average
- Service is attentive
- Solid experience, but it comes at a cost