There are certain Seattle restaurant staples that, for whatever reason, B and I haven’t visited. Le Pichet is definitely high on the list of restaurants we hadn’t visited, but that had been recommended to us for years. We were finally prompted to visit after a conversation with a bartender at Cicchetti. We mentioned that we love Café Presse (Le Pichet’s sister restaurant) and he insisted that we should visit Le Pichet right away. It took us about two months to get there, but we finally made it.
Though we’d never visited before, I had looked inside when we walked by and it looked tiny and always packed, so we made a reservation to be safe. Turns out, we probably didn’t need one since it wasn’t super busy when we arrived at 7:00, but an hour later they were packed. They’re true to their French ambiance, seating unrelated parties at the same table. Technically, the people who sat next to us were at their own table, but there wasn’t so much as a centimeter between their table and ours, so there you go. Though I’m not a fan of this arrangement, I wasn’t all that thrown by it. They tried to seat at least 3 other couples in the seats next to us before a couple finally stayed. Even they tried to inch the table away from us (succeeding literally by an inch). Maybe it was us.
To start we shared the Grand Assiette. In retrospect, the Petite Assiette would have been more up our alley, but the selection was very nice. I didn’t notice the Langue de boeuf (beef tongue) on the menu when we ordered, but even after finding out what it was, I tried it. It wasn’t bad, tasting just like any other beef, but the texture freaked me out. It was very… tongue-like in texture. B tried a little too, but most of the langue remained on the plate. It’s the two slices in the middle that literally look like tongues sticking out at you.
For dinner, B went with the onglet grillé sur lit de scarolle, beurre aux anchois et pommes frites… in other words, Steak Frites. This is his usual staple in a French restaurant. He said it was good, but not the best he’s had and still prefers the Steak Frites at Café Presse. The frites were pretty great, though.
I opted for the confit de canard, sa galette de polenta, sauté de fèves et potage au cresson. Basically, duck confit with polenta. It was amazing. B was super jealous of my duck. It was a bit too much food, but they did a beautiful job with the preparation.
For dessert, B and I opted to share a Chocolat Chaud. No photo. I was starting to feel self-conscious dragging the camera out of my bag squashed in between two packed tables. It was delicious, though. It was more the texture of hot pudding, a bit thicker than a drinking chocolate. After our extremely rich dinner, we barely made a dent in the cup between us, but it was delicious.
Le Pichet has the potential to be pretentious. They’re devoted enough to their French-ness that it could all go awry. At least on our first visit, though, it didn’t. It was so easy to forget we were actually sitting a few feet from 1st Avenue, the pace was pleasantly slow, the service was polite, informed, and with just a touch of French attitude (but not enough to be off-putting). With Place Pigalle, Café Campagne, and Marché in the neighborhood, it certainly says something that Le Pichet is not only still holding its own, but is going strong. Perhaps next time will just be a drop in for Chocolat Chaud.