(All comments & opinions are my own)
Fall has a distinct feeling, a distinct smell and certainly a distinct flavor that wraps you in warmth and comfort. BOKA Restaurant + Bar in Seattle just launched its fall menu and I was thrilled to sample some of the extraordinary fall dishes and cocktail pairings put together by celebrated Executive Chef Peter Birk and Bar Manager Cory Duffy.
It’s incredible how Chef Birk’s masterful menu takes you on a fall journey from the end of a warm Indian summer into a brisk fall day and ending on the cusp of a bitter winter. I think you’ll see what I mean.
Duffy skipped the traditional food + wine pairings in favor of concocting many wine-based cocktails that created a harmonious marriage with each dish. Nail – hit on head! I called him a cocktail chemist!
While not all of the cocktails I sampled are on the menu, many of them have cousins that are available every day.
A beautiful starter was the F/V St. Jude Albacore Tuna Sashimi with Avocado, Grapefruit, and Coriander Vinaigrette paired with a Gin & Tonic with house made grapefruit coriander tonic.
It was a gorgeous nod to the end of summer – bright and fresh.
The cocktail chemistry and pairing chemistry absolutely came out on Course Three. The theme here: black tea. This Black Tea Martini with a Claret Mousse was crazy cool. I was dumbfounded listening to how Duffy was able to layer his cocktail. You can see those three layers clearly in this picture with a foamy froth sitting on top.
It was paired with a Crispy Duck Breast, a black tea custard, chanterelles, and roasted grapes.
This dish caught some of the contemporary lighting reflecting off the walls, but it was quite fitting in that I consider it a contender – if not the winner – for “most creative.” We were fortunate to have the chef explain how he decided to roast his grapes – an idea I had never considered.
Venturing a little deeper into fall, Course Four marked a dramatic change in heartiness. The chef prepared a Braised Lamb Shoulder with root vegetable ratatouille, delicate squash and mission fig. My love for vegetables is endless and I found this to be a lovely tribute to the seasonal bounty.
This course paired with my favorite cocktail – a Dark Rum Punch. Very rich, very smooth, very sexy. You can find a similar punch on the Signature Cocktail Menu.
Finally, the Fifth Course dropped us off on winter’s doorstep: a 42 Day Aged Long Valley Ranch Petite Filet with roasted marrow, lobster mushroom gratin, and buttered demi-glace.
Chef Birk – as I learned – is a soft-spoken man with a passion for his craft. For over a decade, he has developed strong relationships with local sustainable farmers, fishermen and ranchers. As he explained, some of the vendors make their only stop at his door, so you can be sure many of his dishes are fresh and local.
Blocks away from the stadiums, BOKA is a popular destination for Seahawks and Sounders fans who want to fuel up before the games. I noticed quite a few people wearing Sounders scarfs around the dining room.
And if you would like to have your own multi-course experience, you’re in luck. BOKA is taking part in Seattle Restaurant Week which launches today. Click Here for the $28 dinner menu.