Seattle is a quick flight from San Francisco, and while Portland gets a lot of the food buzz these days, this Northwest city has a lot to be excited about. As you all know, we're so spoiled (or blessed, depending on how you look at it) with the variety of farmers markets, food shops, restaurants and cafes in the Bay Area. Le Pichet fits right into this picture of locally-sourced food, clear point of view, heavily edited menu, and deliberate aesthetic. Next time you visit Seattle, you must pay a visit to this sweet, understated French-style cafe. You'll feel both at home right away and as if you've stepped into a Paris of a different era. Sensing both familiarity and intrigue is, if you ask me, a most welcome feeling.
Jim Drohman and Joanne Herron opened Le Pichet in 2000 ("Le Pichet" means "The Pitcher," the ceramic vessel in which simple, traditional French neighborhood spots served wine). The 32-seat restaurant specializes in French food with Chef de Cuisine, Brent Harding, at the helm. In opening Le Pichet, Drohman left a career as an Aeronautical Engineer and Herron a long career in the service industry. Both were drawn to French food and French culture, and found a welcome home in the Pike Place Market Historical District -- a spot that feels a bit more touristy and urban than quaint and European. But they're doing something right. On weekends, you'll often find it difficult to squeeze into a table, and couples sit with a bottle of wine and a little charcuterie late into the evenings.
Mornings at Le Pichet aren't for everyone. Le Casse Croûte menu is served all day long, and is really what you'll have in your hands if you stroll in for breakfast. What I like about this menu is they do it their way. This is not a typical American breakfast: you won't find over-stuffed omelettes (or omelettes at all) or platters of bacon and pancakes. What you will find is strong coffee, wonderful baguettes with butter and jam, housemade yogurt with honeyed walnuts, lovely housemade pastries, and a variety of meats and small sandwiches. At 11:30 p.m., Le Dejeuner menu is introduced with more salads and main plates. And at 5:30 p.m. a heartier dinner menu is available with main entrees including roast chicken, Penn Cove mussels, and whole roasted trout. The atmosphere is always the same: convivial and inviting yet quiet and understated.