Sunday, May 22, 2016

Restaurants by Lake Washington Showdown

There are so many options to dine by the water in Seattle. The question is which waterfront do you want to check out? There are several bodies of water around here, and we have mainly explored Lake Washington thus far.

Seattle had its restaurant week in late April, and we picked a restaurant based on the midway point between our work and our friends in Redmond.

I remembered Kirkland as a well-to-do neighborhood. It's still highbrow but, I didn't expect the area around Bin on the Lake to be pretty and relaxing too!

We strolled around the park by the restaurant  before dinner and poked fun at the parade of fancy people arriving by boat to eat at the various restaurants near the dock.

View of Lake Washington from the park at Carillon Point

A good way to avoid traffic if you can afford it!

View from Bin on the Lake

The restaurant week menus were a bit disappointing at all of the participating restaurants because they were very similar by cuisine and you can tell that they were heavy on the filler or common ingredients - tons of pasta, chicken, flat iron steaks, and salmon. Bin on the Lake was one of the few that stood out to me because it was seafood-centric and the desserts weren't just "choose a sorbet flavor."

I'm not an oyster fanatic, but apparently our friend recognized the kind of oysters that we got as the appetizer just by looking at them. I was very impressed, Bing!
Mignonettes with red wine vinegar

Mike definitely isn't an oyster person, so he opted for a very warming carrot bisque.

Charred baby carrot bisque with preserved lemon crema, carrot greens, and crispy prosciutto

The main course dishes were very well done but on the small side. However, after finishing all three courses, we felt sufficiently full. The restaurant week portions are definitely the "shared" appetizer portions on their regular menu, so the $30 meal per person is almost the same as ordering 3 "shared" dishes on a regular day. But regardless of how much of a deal restaurant week actually is, we enjoyed celebrating friendship and breaking up the work week with delicious food!

Wagyu flat iron steak with miso glazed potatoes, braising greens, and black garlic demi

Pan seared scallops with braised oxtail, brown butter parsnips,
chanterelle mushrooms, and arugula

A tip for future Bin on the Lake customers, get the doughnuts and skip the skimpy cheese plate!

Cheese plate

Ricotta doughnut holes with lavender sugar and caramel

We had another great dinner by Lake Washington after work recently because Mike had an off-site meeting in the Leschi neighborhood. We have never been in the area and were surprised at how pretty it was as well! Bin on the Lake is on the east side of the lake and looks towards University of Washington with the Olympic mountain range in the distance while Bluwater Bistro is on the west side of the lake and looks towards Bellevue and Mercer Island. It also has an awesome view of Mount Rainier!

View of Mount Rainier from Bluwater's parking lot!

View of downtown Bellevue

Happy hour appetizers here are pretty awesome! I never liked American-Chinese crab rangoon but Bluwater's are so delicious!

Dungeness crab and cream cheese wontons
 with mango coulis and Thai sweet chili sauce

 The clams are simple and fresh.

Steamed local manila clams

The main course dishes are also very well done. I love it when the sides are not just an afterthought.

Fish and chips

Parmesan crusted rockfish with herb roasted red potatoes and sautéed green beans

Overall, I think Bluwater wins in terms of food, portions, price, service, and view, but Bin on the Lake focuses on more elevated dishes and it's still a great option!

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