Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Requiem for Dot's Bistrot

It’s sad as fuck when something magical vanishes, while something that sucks continues to exist. Just as it’s a shame that Philip Seymour Hoffman is dead while Ashton Kutcher continues to plague the world with his spittle, so too is it a GOD DAMN SHAME that Dot’s Bistrot closed last week while the following shitass restaurants are still open:
1. That’s Amore
2. Perche’No
3. Bucca Di Beppo
4. Cheesecake Factory
5. Melting Pot
6. Patty’s Eggnest
7. Charlie’s
8. Snappy Dragon
9. El Camino
10. You tell me what number 10 should be

But I’m not here to poke fun at Perche’No for the tenth time; I’m here to eulogize Dot’s, which you obviously didn’t know was delicious because if you DID, Dot’s would still be open.

I first encountered Dot’s in its original incarnation as a neighborhood butcher and sandwich shop. There was a glass case where you could buy whole raw chickens or pork chops or Dot’s house-cured bacon, or slices of porchetta, or terrines and pates. If you didn’t feel like buying raw meat, of course, you could get a porchetta sandwich ($9), made with the very same porchetta you could buy from the case. A big slice of porchetta was pan roasted and served on sliced sourdough and topped with a big variegated red and green pile of coleslaw. The porchetta was succulent inside, with a shattering crisp curl of skin around the perimeter, and the coleslaw was crunchy and creamy and this was a delicious sandwich. To the max.

But then a few months ago Dot’s retooled and started serving dinner, and that too was awesome. Frisee salad ($10) was the typical salade lyonnaise, with a big pile of frisee, hidden beneath a bale of bitter herbs were big chunks of smoky bacon and croutons which were super fucking crunchy. Perched royally atop the pile was a gleaming white areola of poached egg, which when cut into bled its delicious golden heartsblood all over the place. The greens were dressed with a glittery vinaigrette, shiny as a newly minted coin, that mixed pleasurably with the egg yolk. This was a sincere treat with every bite. A sincere treat. With every bite. Sincere. Treat. Every. Bite. Please nominate me for a James Beard Award.

Cassoulet ($22) was similarly awesome. Some people call things “cassoulet” but they falsely invoke the name of this painstakingly assembled French stew. You can’t just throw a few invisible shreds of duck meat into a pool of canned beans and some tomato sauce and call it cassoulet. Real cassoulet takes forever to make and it is so meaty as fuck, King Meatyass himself would think twice about laying siege to cassoulet’s carnivorous fortress. Dot’s cassoulet was fucking hardcore: you got a whole duck leg confit, submerged in a big silken pile of beans. Many lardons dotted this meaty landscape, and a couple torpedoes of sausage were lounging around in there too, pointed directly at your stomach and armed to detonate your hunger.

The Death Star of Dot’s dinner menu was the Cote de Boeuf ($90) and before you snicker and say “NINETY DOLLARS THAT’S WHY THEY CLOSED” I’ll have you know that the price was for TWO, jackass. We got a giant dinosaur steak, a 32 ounce ribeye that was actually like an entire cross section of a cow. It was two inches thick, charred to an almost apocalyptic crust on the outside, pleasingly seasoned, served medium rare. You didn’t get to choose how the steak was cooked and that’s how it should be, because if you want a $90 well done you should just hand over your money and get nothing in return because you are breathtakingly stupid.

With the cote de boeuf came a choice of two sauces: we picked a velvety béarnaise sauce and a red wine and shallot reduction which was easily sixty fathoms deep and as dark as my fantasies. All you can eat sides were also included. These were the chef’s choice, but luckily for us he chose wisely. A ramekin of roasted turnips was caramelized and piquant with flakes of red pepper. Braised greens (of some kind) came dotted with more of the aforementioned lardons. And potatoes gratin were creamy and cheesy, almost like mashed potatoes they were so tender, and with a scattering of parsley on top. And true to the menu, every time they saw us finish a dish of the sides they brought another.

We barely had room for dessert but we somehow managed to cram a crème brulee ($8) in anyway. Cracking into the perfectly caramelized brulee with your spoon revealed an unctuous and citrusy crème beneath, and I almost forgot to mentio that this thing was big enough to go ice skating on top of it.

I have no idea why Dot’s closed. Honestly I only ventured in there for dinner because Restaurant Roux had an hour-and-a-half wait. I was shocked that we were able to get a table for four, with no waiting, at 8:00 pm on a Friday night. AND the food was fucking tasty as fuck. So what went wrong? Was it the location? I wouldn’t think so because as previously mentioned, Roux was packed like your mom’s colon and it’s basically across the street from Dot’s. I’m guessing they had super expensive rent and there were so few tables, they probably had to turn them over too many times in one night to turn a profit. But that’s just my armchair quarterbacking, so take it with a grain of salt.

I really hope the team at Dot’s reopens it somewhere else. And when I say “somewhere else” I mean “not Seattle.” Fuck Seattle, Dot’s. Move to White Center or Burien or Tukwila or maybe some place along Aurora in Shoreline or Edmonds. Artists must live where the rent is cheap. Go south, Dot’s. Or north. But for fuck’s sake you motherfuckers have GOT to bring Dot’s back from the dead like vampire Jesus.

Rating: 8.5 jesuses out of 10

Dot’s is closed so there are obviously no reservations to be taken, nor fucks to give.