Henri de Toulouse- Lautrec's cock was as huge as the scallops at Taste were delicious.
The Seattle Art Museum boasts an exquisite collection of art,


SAM's Taste Pretty Good, But Lacks Taxpayer-Funded Performance Art

Henri de Toulouse- Lautrec's cock was as huge as the scallops at Taste were delicious.
The Seattle Art Museum boasts an exquisite collection of art, and also a restaurant: Taste at SAM. The interior of Taste resembles the usual modern style, with sleek fixtures, clean lines, and some kind of lamps hanging from the ceiling. Frankly, I was disappointed because I expected Taste to look more museumy; in fact, what I REALLY wanted was a table in the middle of the Hermitage, but unfortunately the Russian government doesn't allow eating inside museums, not even if you bribe the security guard with some vodka and offer to buy his wife. At the very least, they could've piled a huge horde of gold coins, with swords, crowns, scepters, and other kingly accessories sticking out of it, and let diners swim through it, Scrooge McDuck style.

Luckily the menu appeared to be kingly enough for me. It's short, with maybe 15 different items on it. Everything appeared to be pretty tasty, so we ordered a few things. The baby lettuce salad ($9) was beautifully composed. Mesclun greens and frisee were tossed with batons of apple, diced chives, mint, and radishes sliced so thinly, they looked like translucent portals into some pastoral fairy land where frogs wear vests, hardworking centipedes slake their thirst by drinking dew from acorn caps, and matronly ladybugs leave baskets of freshly- baked muffins at the door to your two bedroom toadstool. There were even edible flowers!

Unfortunately, it sucked.

There was just too much going on. There was no salt at all. The apples were tasteless, and the vinaigrette was very watery. Plus the radishes, while admittedly cool-looking, were too skunky-tasting. If you could've just looked at this salad instead of having to eat it, it would be much better.

Seared polenta ($6) was similarly picturesque. A big, pregnant full moon of polenta perched atop a pile of braised kale. The polenta had a fragile golden crust and a silken center. The kale was dark green and glossy with olive oil; it looked like an ivy-covered wall at a prep school. Like the salad, though, it was more of a feast for the eyes because the kale was TOO FUCKING SALTY. If you ate a piece of it with a bite of polenta, things balanced out a bit, but I didn't want to do that.

What was going on here? Two dishes in, and Taste was less than impressive. Plus, the service was retarded: the salad came out immediately. Then. We. Waited. For. Over. A. Half. An. Hour. Theneverythingelsecameoutatonce. I was starting to become offended, the way millions of huffy ignorant gasbags were offended by Robert Mapplethorpe (bullwhip up the ass? I'll take two, please).

Luckily the scallops pulled through. A half order ($13) featured three qualicum beach scallops, seared a glowing caramel outside but medium rare inside, accompanied by a gleaming smear of butternut squash puree and a colorful relish of finely diced green and red peppers. The flavors and textures were perfect: sweet, briny, crunchy here, creamy there. I felt as surprised and delighted as the hookers Henri de Toulouse- Lautrec hired probably felt when the tiny, trollish, retarded Frenchman whipped out his monster anaconda schlong.

Gnocchi ($18) were pretty good. These had a light and pillowy texture, sautéed until bronze outside, with lots of chanterelles and big snowy flakes of shaved reggiano in a cheesy buttery sauce that teetered on the knife's edge of being gloopy, but ultimately wasn't. It was cold outside Taste that night; this was just the thing.

Better still were the braised pork medallions ($24). Three rounds of pork, varnished a rich mahogany outside but a rich maroon within, nestled down in a whipped pool of mashed potatoes. Neat piles of roasted beets and baby turnips were seated nearby, and the whole thing was drizzled with a thin stripe of demiglace. This was fucking great: The turnips were sweet and spicy and, like the beets, still had a bit of a crunch to them. The potatoes were as finely textured as Leonardo's brush strokes; the pork, with its hearty flavor, was as porky as the things Leonardo liked to do to young boys. My main problem with this dish was the description of the pork as being cut into "medallions." That's not a fucking medallion, dude. When I think about medallions, I think of something an old-time vampire would wear, and not the irregular nuggets that Taste tries to pass off. Still, a minor quibble.

We closed out with Theo chocolate cake ($7). This was a flourless chocolate cake, dusted on top with a couple crystals of sea salt, and accompanied by yogurt ice cream, raspberry coulis, and a couple chocolate sticks. The yogurt ice cream was great: not too sweet and very creamy, with a tart twinge in the finish. The rest of it was pretty dumb, though. Flourless chocolate whatevers are as overrated as Jean-Michel Basquiat, and let's hope it comes to a similar end. Too soon? HERE'S what's too soon: the swiftness with which your mom puts out.

Overall, I like Taste. The presentations are lovely, as befits an art museum; and for the most part the food is good. If there's anything at all I would change, it's that there wasn't NEARLY enough smutty performance art, funded by irate taxpayers. Note to Taste: Can you please hire Andres Serrano as a waiter? Thanks.

Rating: 7 Basquiats out of 10

Taste is located inside the Seattle Art Museum at 1300 1st Ave.

For reservations call 206-903-5291

PS Do NOT miss the Picasso exhibit, on display at SAM through January, you fucking philistines.

comments powered by Disqus