We had an unexpected dinner at the Water Street Cafe in Olympia, Washington. Being that it’s a small city, my expectations weren’t high. I was very pleasantly surprised.
The service was impeccable. Our server (Kyle) was personable, knowledgeable and accommodating. From start to finish, he kept our glasses filled – from water, to wine to coffee. The proper utensils were always set prior to the course and the timing between courses were perfect.
Starters – perfect share sized tapas. Enough to whet an appetite without filling any of us up. Pork belly was rendered perfectly with a crisp skin atop fork tender morsels. Cauliflower was tasty but did not reflect any culinary skills. It was overpowered with the abundance of garlic and butter.
Entrees – Pastas (Butternut squash and Lamb ragout penne) were al dente and had fresh flavors. Good profile but typical. Meatloaf was decent. The main flavor of the kale was butter once again. It was an odd pairing with meatloaf – possibly meant to be just a plate filler or garnish originally but it filled 1/3 of the plate. The highlight was the steak. It’s been a while since I’ve had a perfectly cooked medium rare. I would bet that it would have been 140F if I had taken a temperature. Soft and warm red center with a seared firm crust. Great sear, great quality and great sauce. What’s not to love?
Dessert – I’m diabetic so I couldn’t indulge but I did take a bite. This course marred the experience a bit for my friend as he’d been looking forward to his chocolate finish. It was so dry that it went unfinished between 4 diners.
Ambiance – It would probably be more scenic during the day as it’s right on the lake; however the atmosphere is cozy and the music complemented the experience. And it offers an unobstructed view of the State Capitol.
Overall, I would definitely return. If you find yourself traveling through the capital of Washington, make this a destination for a road trip treat.