When Thierry Rautureau closed Rover's earlier this year, we felt a keen sense of loss without one of Seattle's finest French restaurants.
Well the sun also rises, and it just came up on Thierry's new downtown spot Loulay Kitchen. Unsurprisingly, it's great.
The food here is spectacular if not quite so purely French. Meals begin with a beautiful amuse-bouche of poached quail egg and creme fraiche, or pureed walnuts and pea with truffle.
The stellar menu highlights dynamic, seasonal small plates from top to bottom. Our early favorites include the Dungeness crab & grapefruit salad, the duck trio of leg, breast, and bacon with flageolet beans, and Pacific cod with celery root puree.
The place has a unique layout, with tons of seating options. Settle in at the six-seat counter to watch the chefs or grab the romantic single table up on the glittering balcony.
To help you deal with the cold snap, he's also serving up the single best hot chocolate in Seattle: almost as thick as pudding, you use it as a dip for toasted brioche smeared with salted butter.
Roll over, Rover. Loulay is here to stay.