I had an incredible birthday weekend as my Fiancé Jordan as he surprised me with a romantic dinner at one of my now favorite restaurants on Capitol Hill, the ever elegant and quaint BATEAU by Renee Erickson.
Jordan knows how much I love any restaurant with a story It makes the experience of dining there that much more engaging and memorable. This birthday dinner did not disappoint.
Chef Renee Erickson always dreamed of owning her own farm – a place where she and her business partners would be able to raise beef, poultry, and lamb for the restaurants in a manner consistent with their values and standards. A place for staff retreats, farm dinners, parties and a place to build community.
In 2014, Chef Renee was able to purchase land on Whidbey Island and with the help of her then farm manager Paul House, she started to see her dream come to life.
“BATEAU,” French for “Boat,” is the outcome of this dream. The reimagined steakhouse menu is a collaboration between then and now, with Boat Street Cafe’s bread pudding featured among dishes soon to earn a following of their own.
Chef Renee and the farm is a part of Sea Creatures Restaurant Family. their restaurants include The Whale Wins, The Walrus and the Carpenter and, since last November BATEAU and two adjacent establishments on Capitol Hill – Bar Melusine and doughnut shop General Porpoise.
But enough with the pleasantries, let’s get to the dinner.
If you like your beef cornfed and wood-charred and prefer to eat your steak in a dimly lit, mahogany- heavy dining room, BATEAU isn’t your steakhouse.
The aesthetic here suggests a bespoke butcher shop sitting in the back alleys of Paris.
As you walk into BATEAU your met with a light and fresh airiness or peonies blooming in the entryway as reclaimed French boxes house the menus.
A chevron-patterned wood floor and rough slate table top anchor Renee’s signature white on white decor. Also for those who know me, know I love white :).
Overhead lights encased in wood baskets float effortlessly overhead like boxy kites while diners eat seated along parallel, leather cushioned banquettes. Windows on one side overlook the sidewalk; windows on the other side frame carcasses of beef hanging in the aging room. The site is a steak lovers delight.
Large chalkboards next to the aging window list the weights and prices of the cuts du jour. Each day at opening they list the cuts, and as they are ordered by diners they are strikes off the board, so when they are gone they are gone.
Butter-basted and pan seared to what the kitchen deems the correct doneness for the cut, they are mouth watering exceptional.
Beef at BATEAU is butchered and dry-aged in-house. Specialty cuts from LFdA ( BATEAU’S Whidbey Island Farm) and other farms with similar commitments to quality, sustainability, and animal welfare, are sold by weight alongside inventive sides, triple cooked frites, and decadent deserts. Service is friendly yet refined.
The whole menu looks decadent so it was difficult to choose, but with dinner being early in the evening we decided to dive right in as the best steaks would not last long on the board.
What we dined on specifically.
*Steak Tartare— beet green sauerkraut, dill, cured yolk, rye toast 16
Dry Aged Beef Meatballs—broken black barley, kohlrabi, horseradish 11
21 day dry aged 5oz Petite Top Sirloin 25
56 day dry aged Sirloin Tip 10oz 49
Bateau Salad—chickpeas, fresh & preserved vegetables, salami cotto, red wine-dijon vinaigrette 13
The entire dining experience at Bateau is smooth sailing, from the moment the host takes your coat, to the petite chocolate chip meringues that come with the bill. If you live or are even in the Seattle area, I highly suggest carving out a relaxing evening and visiting BETAEU, you won’t be disappointed.
“At Bateau, we endeavor to express what’s happening at our farm and to gesture toward our beginnings at the Boat Street Cafe, while also creating something new and exciting.”
— Chef-owner, Renee Erickson