TMA'ed while singing along to La Vie En Rose (cover) by Daniela Andrade
Mari: The lingering smell of paint when we walked in through the red door of Saint Helen's was expected. Their grand opening was only three days before we visited for lunch.
Temi: For being open such a short time, they seemed to be busy. I had made a reservation for four, but we were late so we lost our table. Luckily there was room at the bar, where we ordered coffee and waited for a table to become available.
Mari: The space was more the issue than the number of people. The restaurant from the outside seems deceivingly big, but in reality the indoor general dining area is quite small. The tables lining the wall of windows and the wicker chairs reminded me of a French café. The French music playing definitely helped to set the atmosphere as well.
Temi: They had a small selection of starters, tartines and main dishes. I thought this was great, sometimes less options are better. I got the Pastrami Tartine, Mari and Keia both got the Salmon Tartine and my friend Neiw visiting from out of town got the Black Cod Nicoise.
Mari: I really wanted to try their sandwich, but alas it had ham in it. The salmon tartine was as fresh as their décor. After having crème fraiche at Westward and now mixed with salmon lox, I’d say I'm definitely a fan. The pickled onions added a slight tangy sourness to it. I'm glad I asked for the orange cream soda because it turned out be just as refreshing.
Temi: The pastrami tartine had pickled brussel sprouts. Brussel sprouts have over time become one of my favorite vegetables, who would have thought pickled brussel sprouts would taste so good! The tartine was definitely on the saltier side, but that was expected with the ingredients in play. Overall, the unexpected ingredient combination tasted great.
Mari: By now I should know that small plates never satisfy me, but I guess they leave room for dessert. I had been eyeing the cake earlier behind the bar. I figured the chocolate must be really good since it was practically gone. Let me caveat this by saying I'm not a fan of icing. I love light icing, like whip cream. Although the icing was the way I like, I didn’t particularly like the texture of the cake. It was a little too dry and the sprinkled salt on the icing was not subtle enough.
Temi: One thing I should add, they do add 20% service charge in lieu of tipping. We've written quite a bit about how there seems to be this shift in the restaurant industry to adjust for the $15 minimum wage (in Seattle) as well as adjust the scales between front of house and back of house. Don’t be surprised if you see some price changes in some of your favorite Seattle restaurants.
We decided to be less basic this past Sunday and actually have lunch instead of brunch. Saint Helen's is one of the new Josh Henderson restaurants that recently opened last week. It is right by U-Village and next to his second Great State Burger (opening soon). It's definitely not a stuff your face brasserie, but food shouldn’t always be about stuffing your face. Sometimes it's about enjoying flavors, and letting your taste buds have new experiences. If that's what you are looking for, go to Saint Helen's. Plus, you'll have room for dessert.
Ambiance: Fresh French
Wait time: 10 mins for food. 30 minutes for our table after missing our reservation
Food: French- American Brasserie
Would we go back? Yes, maybe for dinner this time?
Halal Friendly? Limited options
Price: Not too cheap, not too bougie, just right
Creeping on a chef using chopsticks to meticulously plate food.