Restaurant Review: Ventana

The quiet Ventana has few high points

Category: teaser headlines


While some restaurants cultivate a fervent following months before opening (think Ballard’s Delancey), Ventana opened its doors quietly, with nary a ripple among the fooderati. And if the food continues on its current trajectory, crowds are likely to remain unmoved. The former antique furniture store is well-appointed with lots of warm wood, taupe tones and splendid views of Elliott Bay. Chef Joseph Conrad’s (formerly of Qube) mostly small-plates menu offers a hodgepodge of items, including a chile-relleno-stuffed burger with bacon and Humboldt Fog goat cheese dressing ($13), with a patty so overworked and overcooked, it had the texture of grandma’s meatloaf. A bone marrow gratin arrived thickly breaded, stewing in a puddle of creamy, broken grease ($13) topped with a superfluous truffle oil.

Ventana is not, however, without high points: The coriander, honeydew and Thai chile broth that surrounded a potato raviolo ($8) was an inspired combination, a wonderful balance between sweet and hot, though pricey for two bites. The star on the menu is lacquered duck breast ($15), seared medium-rare, its rosy flesh fanned over an artistically composed plate of cauliflower purée, crisped cauliflower and three wafers of delicate cocoa tuile with a rivulet of cocoa-accented duck jus running through it all. And for a perfectly decent start to a night of bar-hopping: lightly batter-dipped truffle fries ($6) and a Bloody Boar cocktail, with bacon-infused vodka and rimmed with chorizo salt ($10). Dinner nightly. Belltown, 2323 First Ave. 206.441.4789 $

Originally published in March 2010

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