Saturday, July 16, 2005


Last week our kids were both at camp, so we took an opportunity to get out a bit. On Monday night we went to Campagne, which is a French restaurant at the Pike Place market. The restaurant is much nicer than the website, which has annoying scrolling images.

The room is not large, and has some windows with views out to the market and the sound (I could see a sliver of sound from where I sat) but I wouldn't categorize it as a "view" restaurant. The maître d' and waitstaff were very competent if restrained in that French sort of way. The menu tends towards bistro fare, done in an upscale manner.

I started with a salad of butter lettuce and watercress with salt-cured mackerel with a verjus vinaigrette. The vinaigrette was creamier than I expected, but tasted good. There were small pieces of mackerel, pale yellow and a bit hard to see amidst the dressed lettuce, but the combination was very nice. Debbie had a charcuterie plate, which had some of the tastiest paté de campagne I've had.

For a main course, I decided to have the steak frites. The steak was an onglet (hanger steak), served with anchovy butter. I asked for it rare, and it came very rare, just like I wanted it. The butter was chock full of anchovy goodness, and I smeared it on the steak as soon as it arrived. I guess they serve it on the side for the squeamish. The fries are fried in duck fat. I have to say, I've had fries both here, and in France, in lots of different places, and these were the best fries I've ever had, bar none--golden, delicate, flavorful. Debbie had the salade Niçoise, which was done using fresh tuna grilled rare, rather than canned tuna. I gather using canned tuna is more traditional, and it's what we got in Nice, but I think it's a lot better with fresh tuna.

For dessert, I went for the tarte aux pèches, a little peach tart with cardamom ice cream. I decided that this would go really well with a glass of Sauternes, which indeed it did. The ice cream was amazing--just enough cardamom to give it a good flavor without hitting one over the head. The tart dough was soft as silk. Debbie had the crêpes au citron. They were served with a lemon coulis that had a really deep lemony flavor.

Summary: highly recommended. I don't think I'd show up without reservations, as the dining room doesn't have very many tables.