A Hasty review: Canlis (Seattle)

Food: 3/5
Service: 3/5
Value: 3/5
Ambiance: 5/5

Overall: 3/5

It is with a heavy heart that I say that Canlis will NOT be my restaurant for special occasions!

$300 for dinner (without wine) is to be expected for a restaurant with such good acclaim. However, for that price, I expect my taste buds to be tantalized. Perhaps my expectations were simply set too high.

Expectation No 1. We would like to receive what we order. My husband is a meat and potatoes guy, so not giving him the twice baked potato he ordered with his meat is a huge faux pas. After my husband received his entree sans side, he waited patiently for a few minutes before asking someone whether his accompaniment was on the way. He was advised that there was a mistake and it would take too long to order it now. Instead, a bowl of truffle fries appeared, and we were advised that it was complimentary, as if they were bestowing a favor upon us. If we were interested in fries, we would have ordered fries. So they sat at our table as a reminder that we did not get the requested sides.

2. I had indicated I’m diabetic and shouldn’t indulge in sugar. They had two of my favorite starters and I had informed the server that I was having a hard time deciding between the foie gras and tartare. After seeing my uneaten dessert, the server indicated I should have forgone the dessert and had two starters, or simply just have two courses instead of three. It was a tad annoying that he provided this information after my meal rather than before. But, again, it was not enough of an issue to mar our dinner.

3. The meals themselves were done well. Meat and seafood were both seasoned well and cooked perfectly. They were a tad zealous with their citrus on the sabayon; but, other than that, the food was good. But, I had expected “memorable” or “impressive,” so “good” was a disappointment.

4. When we were ready to leave, one of the valets approached us and asked, “Do you have an extra key to your car?” Yeah, he locked it in. At this stage, there was NO apology. He simply indicated that he would call an auto service. But I didn’t want my car potentially damaged by a forced entry and I did not want to waste any more time that night. We told the manager he would pay for our cab home to get our extra key and back. The manager seemed at a loss for how to deal with the situation — a further disappointment with Canlis’ operation that night.

At a restaurant that boasts impeccable service, the entire experience was disappointing. I’ve been in Seattle for over a year now and have tried over 100 restaurants — from casual to fine dining — and this one was the most disappointing based on the high expectations.

So, be warned: Go for the romantic ambiance. Go for the extraordinary food art. Go for the experience. Just don’t expect amazing food.