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Fearless Critic restaurant review
Upmarket restaurant

Tue–Thu 6:00pm–8:00pm
Fri noon–1:30pm
Fri 6:00pm–9:00pm
Sat 6:00pm–9:00pm
Sun 5:00pm–8:00pm

Features Date-friendly, good wines
Bar Beer, wine, liquor
Credit cards Visa, MC, AmEx
Reservations Essential


Madison Park
2808 E. Madison St.
Seattle, WA
(206) 325-7442
Beard-winning French

The food at this conspicuous-consumption grande dame is not strictly classic French, but neither is it the work of a bunch of fiddlehead-fern Frankensteins. It’s nouvelle cuisine, mostly, with some local touches. Roast quail is simply adorned with figs and duck prosciutto; scrambled eggs are both perked up and made richer with a lime crème fraîche and white sturgeon caviar; and simple foie gras preparations (seared or made into mousse) are paired with seasonal chutneys like rhubarb-beet or nectarine.

The wine list is a vast work of painstaking global research, including many older vintages, even, refreshingly, in half-bottle format. Although markups are reasonable by restaurant standards, there are few choices under $50. But Rover’s is not without its flaws. It’s in a converted house that feels like grandma’s dining room dressed up for the holidays. The place seems to embody the tastes of a bygone generation of upper-class patrons, a caricatured version of old-time elegance that requires and sparks little imagination. The menu brashly advertises Panama-hat-wearing chef Thierry Rautureau’s cult of personality, hawking his cookbook. It’s all a bit off-putting. So are the prices; tasting menus run up to $135.

But even if the execution isn’t always perfect, there is perhaps a time and place to dine this way, on occasion, with special ceremony, pomp and circumstance, and preposterous head-wear.

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