after4ever (320) Brier, Washington | April 7, 2014
- AMBIANCE 3/5
- SERVICE 6/10
- SELECTION 7/15
- FOOD 7/10
- VALUE 4/10
- OVERALL 10/20
Had a complete prix fixe dinner tonight with flights matched to apps, entrees, and desserts. My buddy James had the same sequence with different wines and in some cases different dishes.
The place tries really hard to be big and substantial, almost imposing, for a little corner spot in a brand new office tower. Enormous multi-ton steel doors with cool die cuts and back lighting, polished concrete everywhere you look (counters and floors alike), heavy wrought iron stools and chairs. Friendly and efficient young staff. Not insanely wine knowledgable but can more than hold their own against the very solid wine list Purple offers.
And Purple is most definitely here to _sell_ wine, not hoard it--flights, pairings, bottles, a huge list of by the glass. They donít even store bottles on their sides. They clearly expect to sell them long before any corks ever dry out. Thatís a fully respectable choice, especially given how many bottles are in direct exposure to huge windows at all their stores. They best be hustling them out the door.
We had goat cheese and roasted red peppers with pita points--plenty of red pepper but more of a creme fraiche flavor and consistency than chevre. Pate with crostini--rich and flavorful, very dense and chewy crostini. Nice olive oil with awesome sweet yellow peasant bread...tough to sop any balsamic, but whatever.
Salads were great, very bitter, with some pickled daikon (or something or other) alongside. J had the pork chop, which was just a well prepared mild piece of clean white pork with some cool vegetable sautee here and there. The white salmon came out with lavender flowers, vegetable frisee, heavily toasted skin on, and some great puree and grain underneath. Very well executed and clearly the dish they were most excited about putting some flavor to. Some dry shortcake for dessert.
All the wines paired well, all were tasty and interesting on their own. Great Oregon pinot with the fish, nice muscat with dessert, a decent pinot gris with the salad, and a couple other nice-enough whites. The problem was that all of this with tip was $182. I would be completely thrilled if they could have given us all this for $50 less. As it was, I was happy to be able to pay James back a favor I owed him with dinner, but startled enough by the price that I donít need to come back too awfully soon. Not that they donít deserve the business, itís just that I could buy dinner for two for a week at decent cheap places for that kind of scratch.
Packard (31) Kirkland, Washington | November 12, 2009
- AMBIANCE 4/5
- SERVICE 10/10
- SELECTION 10/15
- FOOD 10/10
- VALUE 7/10
- OVERALL 16/20
There are four upscale Purple Cafeís in the area; I havenít been to the Seattle one yet, but we have a track record in Woodinville, Kirkland, and Bellevue. My wife doesnít drink beer for medical (so she says) reasons, so we have a constant issue of finding good wine for her and good beer for me. Our current favorite compromise on the Eastside is Cafe Veloce, but if the monthly commission check is generous, then itís off to Purple Cafe. This is a yuppie place, especially in Bellevue and Kirkland, with the Woodinville location serving a more refined and genteel group of baby boomers. Obviously a great selection of wines at better (sometimes bargain) prices than many of the other wine bars in the area. They have some outstanding Washington wines that may be first (Efeste Final-Final $50) or second label wineries ( Amavi cab from Walla Walla - $50). Let the servers guide you. But what about the beer? When they first opened their Woodinville store, we hounded them regularly to get some decent beer. They responded and now have a small selection that represents some of the best of breed. Only a couple of drafts, with local favorite Mac and Jackís African Amber and Georgetownís pilsner. Twelve bottled beers, but some good stuff: Bear Republic Racer 5, La Fin du Monde, and Dogfish Black and Blue. Bad news tonight, there were no stouts on the list. The outstanding thing about this place is that they will have perfect food to pair wtih the beers, and the bartender (and some of the servers) have been educated about what goes with what. Tonight, the wife had a risotto with chanterelle and marscarpone, and I had the duck special. A bit pricy (good luck getting out of there for less than $120 for two), but itís nice to have some decent beer choices along with a great wine selection.Go to Costco and buy a gifit card for Purple Cafe for 25% off. P.S., I apologize in advance for copying this same review to all three locations where Iíve been.