While I was dissecting Luc for this week's restaurant review, I could hear the hisses of Thierry Rautureau fans. "Don't you know who you're writing about?," the fuming specters scolded.
Honestly, I do and I don't. I'm familiar with Rautureau's resume, and understand he's accomplished much to make Seattle proud. But as a newcomer to the city, I've never dined at Rover's, the fine-dining institution where the behatted chef built his reputation. I don't have fond memories of celebrating birthdays there, nor can I reminiscence about the first time I tasted a certain French specialty under his tutelage.
If my budget allowed, it would have been interesting to experience both restaurants and acquire the context needed to assess what Rautureau's kitchens are currently contributing to the local dining scene. I briefly considered doing so on my own tab, as I wondered if visiting only one restaurant was akin to listening to only one track on an album. But I wasn't tasked with sizing up Rautureau; my job was to assess Luc, which is the only Rautureau enterprise available to eaters with average incomes. I'm responsible for reporting back on food, service and ambiance, not the chef's legacy or the quality of his oeuvre.
Speaking of Rautureau, it's interesting to note I never saw him in the many hours I spent at Luc. Early reviews of the restaurant suggested he was a constant presence in the dining room when it opened. I first went to Luc braced for hand-shaking and back-slapping, but nothing of the sort occurred. There wasn't anyone on the floor to soothe guests who had to endure long waits for drinks or deal with the wrong order. It might be time for Rautureau to return.