One of the great Seattle culinary institutions, RN74 is the lone Michael Mina restaurant in the Pacific Northwest. A man with an incredible vision and talent, Michael Mina hails from Ellensburg, Washington and spent many years as executive chef at Aqua Restaurant in San Francisco. Shortly after, Mina's culinary and business vision led to the founding of his company Mina Group, with partner Andre Agassi in 2002. Today Michael Mina has over 40 restaurants worldwide. He is the executive chef at his two namesake restaurants in San Francisco and Las Vegas, which each have earned a star in the Michelin Guide.
RN74 has nearly celebrated a decade of fine French dining in Seattle.. Located on 4th Avenue in downtown Seattle, the decor of RN74 is unlike anything in the area. Despite being ten years of age, the restaurant still appears as modern and avant garde with its train-station like display of wine. Earlier this year in January Chef Shawn Applin was named as executive chef of RN74, having previously worked for James Beard Award-winning chef Christine Keff at Flying Fish (chef de cuisine). Having dined at RN74 many times already this year, I have been particularly impressed with the consistency of the way his proteins are cooked. For instance, he makes the star of his bouillabaisse fresh fish which is always perfectly cooked.
RN74 relies on the talented Jeff Lindsay-Thorsen to carefully curate a wine list that is truly one of the best in all the Pacific Northwest. Jeff takes a very thoughtful approach to his wine list, having a Sommelier Select wine section for great wines like the 2006 R. Lopez de Heredia ‘Tondonia Reserva’ Rioja (WWB, 94) for under 100 dollars. Feeling like one of the top Oregon Pinot Noir producers out there? They also have the 2007 Big Table Farm ‘Willamette Valley’ Pinot Noir (WWB, 93) for under 100 dollars. On top of these value selections Jeff has some seriously cool older First Growth selections as well as a stellar Burgundy collection that rivals anything in the Northwest. Pricing for many of these wines can be inexpensive to moderate, which really entices the consumer. He also has several of his W.T. Vintners wines on the list that are not to be missed as well as Washington heavyweights like Avennia, Andrew Will, Baer, Cayuse, K Vintners and Gramercy Cellars.
Yesterday I was in the restaurant for the start of Seattle Restaurant Week and I wanted to see how Chef Applin would approach this challenge. We steered towards one of the mainstays, the Spiced Poached Prawn Cocktail to start which veers towards simplistic but the flavors of the rub marvelously complement the succulent prawns. I had brought my own wine the 2015 Brewer-Clifton Chardonnay (WWB, 93) which I thought would be a beautiful, balanced wine to pair with a host of foods.
We started with a mezcal cocktail which was marvelously crafted by the lead bartender. Over the past year I have seen their bar program be elevated to a place where their signature cocktails should not be missed.
One of their signature dishes, the Classic Beef Tartare is magically balanced with the right amount of acoutrements, including a quail egg. I devoured that delightful dish rather quickly.
My wife had ordered the Hudson Valley Foie Gras Terrine which I have to say was one of the stars of our meal. The dish came with black figs as well as toasted hazelnuts which made this a perfect seasonal preparation. It was also just the rough amount of Foie Gras.
Next we had our main dishes and I opted for one of their mainstays, the Pan-Roasted Mary's Free Range Chicken. This was cooked to perfection and was incredibly soft and flavorful, combing a rich chicken stock based brown sauce with their Herbed Parisienne Gnocchi, wild mushrooms, and heirloom squash. This dish screamed fall with its fresh mushrooms and earthy tones and I have to say that the 2015 Brewer-Clifton Chardonnay was a scintillating match for this dish with its rich texture, brightness, citrus tones and salinity.
My wife had been craving pasta and their homemade pasta dish, the vegetarian Carrot Cavatelli was hugely impressive and was also perfectly cooked al dente. The star of the dish to me was not only the flavor and texture of the fresh pasta but the pasta sauce which was also delightfully earthy and showing a rich veggie stock flavor.
Dessert was nearly as good with homemade chocolate ice cream and their chocolate Cremeux and passion fruit gel. Overall, if you want top food quality, service and a spectacular wine experience, you must visit RN74 in downtown Seattle.