Dinner at Pair

Every once in a while J and I go to concerts at the University of Washington, and are always in search of good places in the area to eat beforehand. Friday night was Pilobolus, and I wanted to try somewhere new. I had heard of Pair, a neighborhood joint featuring small plates and a nice wine selection, when it first opened, but somehow never quite got around to trying it – I don’t think I realized how close it was to the campus.

They don’t take reservations, and traffic was disgusting all over town, so we cut our other errands short and headed there early. Parking was no trouble at all, always an oddity in Seattle. We got there right at 5, claimed a nice table out of the sun, and watched as the place completely filled up over the next hour.

For starters we ordered a basket of gougères. You may think that we’ve eaten enough of these in the last couple of weeks, but I wanted to see if they were different from the ones I made. Actually, they were exactly the same, except for having chives instead of cumin or rosemary – tasty! We also ordered a bottle of wine, and based on our server’s suggestion I picked a Cooper Mountain organic Pinot Noir. It was nice – fruity and acidic, very supportive of the food and not too forward.

We ordered four small plates to share for dinner, and I really liked the way the server brought them – we had a first course of trout fillets with chermoula and almonds on a small pile of couscous, along with a plate of pan-fried kabocha squash gnocchi with fried sage leaves and butter. The flavors went together fabulously. Then we were brought a pork chop in apricot sauce and a dish of shredded brussels sprouts with bacon – again, it was a perfect pairing. And that pork chop? May have been the best pork chop either of us has ever eaten in a restaurant. Wow.

For afters J got the vanilla crème brûlée, just because he can’t not get crème brûlée at a new restaurant. It was very good, with a strong vanilla flavor, but a very light sugar crust. I got a glass of Margan Botrytis Semillon that was crisp and sweet. A French press of excellent coffee finished things off and kept us awake for the long evening and drive home.

What a great place – nice feel, nice staff, and great food. We can’t wait for the next concert so we can try it again!

photo from Pair website

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