No Dessert for You! {Purple Café & Wine Bar Seattle}

**Update 3/31/11: A representative from Purple contacted me soon after this post, expressed his concern at the situation and kindly offered a gift as an apology. I declined as the intent of the post wasn’t compensation, but rather to share the experience. I was very impressed with the way they handled the situation both in speed and professionalism. Thank you, David!

Have you ever heard the saying that you should never write a letter (or an email these days) angry? Well, I’m starting to think the opposite is true of blog posts… at least for me. I tend to get fired up in the moment when things go badly, but I’ve usually calmed down by the time I sit down to write. I suppose calming down is a good thing. What’s not good, though, is forgetting how fired up you were in the first place.

Anyway, B and I have one of two routes we take home. Most days we take SR-520. If traffic looks especially bad, we’ll alter our route and go the long way to I-90. The I-90 path leads us straight through downtown and past Purple Cafe & Wine Bar. On a couple of occasions, we’ve pulled straight up to Purple and stopped for dinner on the way home. Purple was one of the first nicer restaurants B and I visited after moving to Seattle. We soon found our favorite item on the menu- Lobster Baked Mac and Cheese. So, so good! It gives me a stomache thanks to the gluteny pasta, but I still choose it every time without a second thought. They have a great cheese selection, great wine and awesome mix and match mini desserts. They also have a beautiful bar area. Even though in the colder months, it can be more than a bit chilly,we often choose to have dinner at the bar.

B and I (especially B) are still on the high from a great weekend. Kentucky is in the Final Four and we had a great time celebrating and hanging out this weekend. Of course, reality set in today when Monday showed up uninvited. How do we ease the pain of Monday? An early Thursday night dinner, of course. We arrived early (just before 6:00) and had no trouble finding a seat at the center of the bar. They really should turn the heat up a little. It was freezing in there.

In the past, we’ve had a couple very cool bartenders. They’re normally an interesting bunch who is well equipped to handle tourists, business people and neighborhood locals all together. Tonight was an exception. Apparently someone forgot to tell our bartender tonight that offering service and some degree of hospitality are basic tenants of his job. Everything took forever. From getting menus to ordering drinks to ordering food, to getting another drink, to asking for a dessert menu (that never came) to getting the check, everything was a painful wait and every request was greeted with the stoney, disinterested stare of the bartender… when we could get his attention at all. I felt like I should apologize for taking up space. He was busy. He wasn’t that busy.

I suppose I’m a difficult customer. I don’t like service that’s so precise it makes me uncomfortable. I also hate feeling like a burden. Tonight’s service fell firmly in the latter category. The service was truly awful. The good news is the food was still worth it. We each ordered a Dubonnet Rouge (a French wine based aperitif) from Bardstown,Kentucky since these last couple weeks have been all about Kentucky. When we sat down, B wondered out loud if they make any wine in Kentucky. I assured him they do not (as if I know) literally at the precise moment the 70+ page drink menu fell open to the page with this particular KY Dubonnet Rouge. It reminded me of something between a port and sangria with a little cinnamon flavor as well. I could definitely make this my summer drink. 

Dubonnet Rouge

To eat, we started with the Prawns and Shoestrong fries. While the prawns (actually shrimp) were overcooked, the sauce was great and the shoestring fries were outstanding. It’s tough to make a good shoestring fry. Chances are they’re either too thin and crispy or too thick and limp. These were perfect. For dinner, we both had the obvious choice- Lobster Baked Mac and Cheese. As usual, it didn’t disappoint.

Prawns with Shoestring Fries


Lobster Baked Mac and Cheese


I wish I could tell you about my dessert… but our friendly bartender never brought me the menu I asked for. Oh well. I suppose he saved me the calories. We’ll go back to Purple. It may not even be that long before we do. We’ll probably make a reservation, though, or scope out the bar area on the lookout for Mr. Cranky Pants bartender. We’re all entitled to a bad day at work every now and then and maybe this was his. I won’t let him keep me from my favorite Mac and Cheese ever!

Purple Cafe and Wine Bar Seattle on Urbanspoon



  1. I’m going to go ahead and assume you’re header is a tribute to the Soup Nazi on Seinfeld. Nice.

    Great post!
    Sorry the service was so crappy, but glad to hear you’ll be back. Although I’ve only been there once I really like Purple Cafe and will definitely try that mac & cheese the next time.

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