When the Second World War was over, Peter Canlis decided to move from Hawaii to Seattle to open a gastronomic restaurant atop a beautiful hill just outside the city. More than 60 years later, this pioneering restaurant of Northwestern cuisine is now run by the third generation of the Canlis family, the brothers Mark and Brian.
Overlooking Lake Union, the restaurant is still housed in the same building since it first opened in 1950. Though it feels old school on the inside, it is still very modern from the outside with large panoramic windows and its sleek design. Inside the atmosphere is dark and cosy with a fireplace in the entrance hall. The dining room is filled with furniture that brings you straight back to the fifties and upstairs there is a separate lounge, which can also be booked for private parties.
At the helm of the kitchen is Executive Chef Brady Williams who arrived in Seattle after having worked at FT33 in Dallas and Blanca in New York. After a careful selection by the two owners, he is only the sixth Chef to run the kitchen at Canlis in its entire history.
Even though he is originally from California, Chef Williams’ cooking style is an excellent match with the Northwestern produce: true to nature and heavily depended on the seasons. On the plate this translates into subtle and pure combinations focused on taste rather than technical highlights or overly expensive ingredients. There is a certain resemblance to Japanese cuisine and Chef Williams indeed uses some of these ingredients as well.
As fine dining is not just about food but all about the experience, the team at Canlis puts great effort into making their guests feel special. No matter what type of guest is coming, they make sure that every one receives the best possible service. Whether it is a romantic night out, a business diner or a family anniversary, the goal is to give their guests a meal to remember.
In charge of the drinks is a team of five sommeliers led by Nelson Daquip. Together they are in charge of the very big wine cellar located underneath the restaurant. Although they have wines in stock from all over the world, their main focus is on Burgundy and German Riesling given the nature of the dishes Chef Williams prepares. However, a significant part of the wine list contains wines from the state of Washington as well and they can be equally impressive.
Overall, Canlis is a great place for people who look at the bigger picture of fine dining. It is all about the experience of a high-end meal and without being pompous about it. Despite the long heritage the current team has only been in place for a short time but there is definitely more to come.
Written by Sebastiaan