Atlura – My Favorite Seattle Restaurant

Seattle is my home, but the food scene has lost its luster over the last 5 or 6 years. Restaurants that were known for their casual fine dining have closed to make room for trendy restaurants that with cool decor, hip service and adequate food. Gone are the Book Binder, Crush, or Aragona.

Thankfully, Altura still remains.

Altura is the brain child of Chef Nathan Lockwood. Classically trained Chef Nathan came to Seattle by way of Fleur de Lys and Aquerello in San Fransisco. One can only imagine that is where he learned to pay attention to the smallest detail of each dish yet bringing all the dishes together for a well thought-out tasting menu. The food is Italian inspired and draws heavily from local product. Often Chef Nathan contributes product from his own property.

Ten course tasting menu on 12 June 2019

The Stuzzichini

The first “course” of the Altura menu is the Stuzzichini or finger food. These 8 – 10 bite size morsels are works of art, each well balanced and a treat for the senses. This time around I would give the gold star to the smoked sturgeon frittele with wild onions and cultured cream. The bite was lightly smoked while still offering a clean, fresh flavor. I was a bit disappointed to see the re-introduction of the fermented potato. While creamy with a good texture, I just do not like the sour flavor. It is a dish that could disappear and I would not miss it though many people find it spot on.

The sweetness of the turnip balances out the saltiness of the geoduck while the rice adds the right amount of texture.
Altura used to outsource their bread but started making it in-house a few years back. I do miss the mushroom butter and hope it will be brought back.
The roasted corn & mascarpone agnolotti was fantastic! Depending on the season, Chef Nathan offers a separate pasta dish or incorporates pasta into the menu. This time around it was incorporated. The sweetness of the corn, the creamy brown butter, the bright notes of sage…I will be dreaming of this dish for a while.
Wood Sorrel Granita with Sea Buckthorn berries and edible flowers. Often Chef Nathan uses ingredients from his own property suck as edible flowers, fruit, and even tree bark.
Altura now offers two options for dinner. This meal I chose the Duck with wild asparagus, fiddlehead ferns, and other foraged greens. The dish was very earthy with strong flavors yet the dish itself was light and did not leave you feeling weighted down.

While the Stuzzichini may not be something one usually sees on a tasting menu, the rest of the line-up follows a traditional approach of light, subtle flavors moving to the stronger flavors then ending with a cheese course and a dessert course. I was happy to see the blue cheese wafer is no longer the cheese course. Like the fermented potato, it should be permanently retired from the menu. The new cheese course was a nice change and the cheesecake was absolutely delish!

Hot Chocolate Affogato

After traveling and eating around the world, Altura still remains one of my favorite restaurants. Over the years I have watched the menu change, grow, and develop as Chef Nathan changes, grows, and develops as a chef. As Altura moves into its 8th (or is it 9th) year, I challenge Chef Nathan to keep pushing both his own creativity and that of his staff. Please continue to be innovative and share with us your vision of food.

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