Madison Park, Seattle
Madison Park Conservatory is a food lover’s haven. Set just off Lake Washington, the restaurant feels like a cozy home overlooking the beach, insulated from rain and wind. With local art on the whitewashed walls, blues playing in the background, wrought iron lamps hanging from the ceiling, and dark wood floors and tables, the restaurant has a decidedly and pleasantly Pacific Northwestern vibe.
With a heavy emphasis on local and seasonal foods, MPC has one of the most creative menus I’ve seen in a long time, with fascinating combinations of flavors that actually work together. We got the chicken liver pate to start, which was served in a small bowl and topped with jam, and had a few slices of grilled bread and pickled grapes on the side. The grapes were a completely unexpected touch that both added to the dish and to the sense of culinary exploration.
For my entrée, I ordered the tagliatelle with nettles and foraged mushrooms. While foraging for food doesn’t seem to be the most efficient way for a restaurant to source ingredients, the way MPC unpretentiously leaned into that very trendy foodie stereotype was impressive. I had never had nettles before and thought they had an intriguing texture, chewy and rubbery in a good way – kind of like seaweed. The dish had a very subtle lemon flavor and a light brown butter sauce and while I enjoyed it, the food lacked the punch or the richness I was expecting – I had anticipated either a deep mushroom flavor to shine through or a bolder spice to bring out more flavors from the ingredients.
While the execution of my entrée didn’t quite live up to its promise, I was hugely impressed with the menu, aesthetic, and ambition of the restaurant, and I would certainly be curious to try MPC again in the spring to see what they do with a whole other season’s worth of ingredients.More information: Madison Park Conservatory http://madisonparkconservatory.com/
1927 43rd Avenue East
Seattle, WA 98112