Restaurant Review: Artisanal Brasserie

Artisanal Brasserie at the Bravern in Bellevue has French brasserie written all over it

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With its black wicker chairs and ornate, feathery-plumed flower arrangements, Artisanal Brasserie at the Bravern in Bellevue has French brasserie written all over it. But it’s the unique cheese counter at this second outpost of chef Terrance Brennan’s New York French bistro—manned by a knowledgeable cheesemonger who steered me away from the underripe Époisses and toward a sublimely runny Gorgonzola Cremifacto—that deserves attention. A selection—your choice or leave it in the hands of the professional—of three cheeses (about 2 ounces each, $16), arrives with pleasing accompaniments, such as apricot mostarda (an Italian fruit and mustard condiment) and membrillo (quince paste).

Less pleasing is the uneven kitchen: Multiple visits at lunch and dinner yielded a few standout dishes, such as duck bourguignon, the crisped leg reclining over a smooth parsnip purée, napped with deeply flavored red wine sauce ($25.50); a fantastically seared and sliced hanger steak ($22.50); and diver scallops topped with a fine supreme of blood orange and the teeniest croutons to provide surprising crunch ($24.50). But just as often salads arrived under-dressed, chocolate mousses grainy and apple tarte tartin just-from-the fridge chilly. Chef Brennan may need to tighten up the kitchen crew, but for now, you can assemble a fine meal at Artisanal if you keep to the cheese plate and main-course parameters.

Lunch and dinner daily. Bellevue, 11111 NE Eighth St. 425.372.2200 $$

Originally published in March 2010

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