On Friday night, we (finally) had dinner at The Coterie Room in Belltown. We’d put it off a number of times for a number of factors, including a menu that, in my opinion, seemed to be priced pretty high, probably some sort of belief that it would never top the visits to the space’s previous tenant, Restaurant Zoë, and a mediocre experience at SPUR, the neighboring McCracken Tough spot. With less than a week left on a solid Amazon Local deal that Brittany Tracy had scored, it was as good a time as ever.
We made reservations for 8:45 on Friday night via OpenTable, and stopped for drinks on the way over, as we were ready to head out well before our reservation time. It was a pretty buzzing crowed in the restaurant when we arrived, and our table wasn’t ready just yet, so we headed to the bar for a glass of bubbles. Upon being informed that the Jaillance Vin Mousseaux wasn’t available, we ordered another bubbly option, and were soon greeted by the hostess and shown to our table – a solid option near the window, in a corner. [ed note: I'd make more of a big deal about the fact that when we asked about our initial wine choice, we were told it was "like Champagne," which is a fascinating description...but I'd be merely be foreshadowing what was to come.]
Our server was, to sum it up, either in the weeds or simply in a rush. All the time. You know when someone’s upper body is front of you but clearly his or her lower half is beginning to walk away? Yeah, that. So we waited a few minutes, I managed to accidentally tip over one of our flutes (it was quickly replaced with a new glass, props to the hostess for my miscue), and at some point, our server arrived. She was polite and nice, but in a rush to take an order or something. Not really sure what. We asked to open our bottle of wine (2006 Mark Ryan Winery “The Dissident,” photo: right), and were helped with another member of the staff, who was super happy to open our bottle and provide us with a decanter.
Ultimately, we chose to go with a three-course option that included beef carpaccio, the fish of the day (cod), and we selected different desserts – a pear galette and a pudding cake. For me, the dessert was my favorite. The carpaccio and cod, while built from super good ingredients, were lackluster, in this diner’s experience. Honestly, I have the same issue with The Station in Woodinville, when it comes to how it’s actually cooked. Great toppings and overall ingredients on the pizza, but I find the actual final product “meh,” though the beer options are super fantastic – and I’ve eaten there three times.
For this visit to The Coterie Room, I wanted to try a number of things here after hearing absolutely nothing but amazing things about this spot and SPUR from any review online and from a lot of others in town. Ultimately, I think our meal was all coming in with some huge expectation based on reputation, leading downhill to a well-created, but frankly flat, experience from the moment we sat down. If a place opened last week (or last month) I might expect that, because kinks are being worked out, but not from a place where the entrees range from $24-48 or thereabouts and not from a place that gets four solid stars on Yelp over 150+ reviews – just not great QPR. We most certainly didn’t eat at the restaurant all those people are raving about.
At this point, I don’t see any reason we’d go back. If someone can convince me otherwise, I’d be happy to hear them out, but after a “meh” SPUR trip and a wildly “meh” meal this time around, it’s not worth my money or time. On the other hand, we’ll continue to visit Tavern Law and Needle & Thread, as both have provided some of the better cocktails in town.