Seattle >Food & Dining > Impromptu Wine Bar Cafe
4235 E Madison St, Seattle, WA | Directions 9811247.636483 -122.277334
12pm-2pm on Thursday-Sunday
Neighborhoods: Capitol Hill, Madison Park
NO LONGER gluten free – Oh my dear! We went to Impromptu last night with light hearts. I had learned from GlutenFreeGirl's website that this is The Chef's restaurant. I had heard that The Chef converted his restaurant to all gluten free.
Unfortunately, we learned upon arrivel that the restaurant was sold many months ago. The current chef was very kind to accomodate my gluten free needs and the Tall Grass organic strip steak I ordered was prepared to absolute perfection.
The bigger disappointment was in the wine service. I ordered a lovely, really lovely Sangiovese blend priced at $12/glass. For this price, I got a THREE OUNCE pour served in a white wine glass so that this delightful beverage had no chance to breathe properly over the course of the meal. People at the next table did have red wine in the proper glasses. Not sure what went wrong at our table, but I really have to mark them off for such a faux pas. This should not have happened.
Perfect for Date Night – I wanted to take my wife out to a romantic restaurant because we hadn't been out to a nice dinner in quite a while. A friend suggested this wine bar/restuarant to me because they had been there recently and had had a really nice time there. We arrived and were given a great table for two by the window. The restuarant was warm and relaxed, and every table had candle light. The server helped us pick out a great bottle of wine. We enjoyed appetizers of homemade soup and winter vegetables. Our entrees were phenomenal, my wife loved her stuffed chicken and I had the 24 hour braised short ribs that just fell off the bone. We couldn't remember the last time we had such a great meal. The server was attentive and the meal was not rushed, so my wife and I were able to really enjoy a nice meal together with out the kids! Overall we had such a great time, and would recommend this restaurant to all our freinds.
Great After Work Spot!!! – My girlfriend and I were looking for a place to meet after work to have a nice glass of wine and catch up. We decided to pick a place in between both our jobs, she works in Bellevue, and I downtown. Madison Park is such a cute neighborhood with a beautiful view of Lake Washington. I arrived first at this cozy wine bar and was warmly greeted. Upon looking at the wine list I was very impressed by their selection of both local and international wines. They offer about twenty different wines by the glass and many wines by the bottle. Once my friend arrived we discussed our options with the manager and were very pleased with her knowledge and descritiptions of the wine. I hate it when I feel like certain wines are being pushed on me, and she was very helpful in her descriptions of all the nuances that each of the wines had to offer. She also let us know that Impromptu has happy hour every day of the week from 4-6, and wines by the glass were half off. We decided to go with different wines, and we both loved them! After a long day of work we were both hungry and took a look at the menu. Everything on the menu was tempting, but we went with a Dungeness crab coleslaw and the half order of thier homemade pasta. Who could pass up fresh homemade pasta? Everything was so delicious and the combination of flavors was perfection. I'm a little embarassed to say this, but ladies, the chef alone is worth the visit. A man who is that good looking and can cook delicious food, is a sight not to be missed. Great service, amazing food, even better wine!! It was a wonderful find, and we are looking forward to our next visit.
Bring Your ID or NO FOOD!!! – We waited about 15 minutes and felt a little forgotten about, the curly/dark-haired waitress finally came over and asked to take our order. Dinner had a special four-course Valentines menu for $65/person and I was keenly interested in a bottle of wine which would go well with foie grois. She seemed annoyed and quickly suggested a Merlot and asked for our ID.
I guess it's always nice to be asked for ID, given we're both well into our 30's at 34 and 37 years old. "Oh no", my partner said as she realized she had left it in her jeans from the concert the other night. As we explained we were certainly over 21 years, especially given we're spending $65/person food, plus wine and all of the gray-hair on our heads. Who hasn't been in this situation? And given today's day-in-age, we're all kind of used to being S.O.L.. Quickly, we got used to the idea of no wine. Big deal.
Then we were shocked!
"I'm sorry", the curly haired woman explain, "but I also can't let your stay here unless you can prove your 21 .... and you'll have to leave.".
We tried to reason with the waitress, given we were both OK with not getting wine at 37 years old. But to not even let us enjoy a $150 dinner on Valentine's Day with reservations for a place that was only 50% full? I asked, "So we're not going to use any common-sense here? We're both clearly in our mid 30's.". Nope. Apparently not and we were asked to leave.
Alcohol: 6/10 -- Not a full-bar, no blender. No cocktail drink menus. Limited Selection of Scotch. Good Wine Selection.
Ambiance/Decor: 5/10 -- It's a smaller place, a little cold and not intimate
service: 1/10 -- The waitress was not pleasant from the get go and was into a power trip
Prices: 7/10 -- Top end for pricing outside of downtown.
Gotta agree with the downers – I went to this place on a solid recommendation mainly for the gluten-free friendly menu to cater to my mom. The wine choices were just ok and a little sparse. The server's knowledge of the wine list was sub-par at best. Despite having a reservation for 3, one couple that arrived after us was signing the check as we received our meal. The amount of kitchen smoke filling the dining room made me wonder how many trys it took to get my tenderloins medium rare. The taste of the food was very good (as opposed to excellent) but the temperature seemed a little cool to me for what it was and the amount they're charging.
It is a tiny space and serving the bar and the dining room was clearly too much for the one server they had that night. For the ~45 minutes we were waiting for our entrees, I felt bad for her thinking that someone called in sick or something. In an attempt at empathy, I asked if they were short handed and got a very cold, "no, we're doing just fine".
Sadly, they were not doing fine as the food was the best thing going and for my money, I wouldn't pass by Nishino next time to go here. Portions were too big and the temperature was too low especially, considering how much smoke was filling the place. I restate because I actually lost my appetite for dessert from breathing all that kitchen smoke. I thought there were codes for that sort of thing?
For wine bars, I would sooner go to Smash or Eva, maybe even Purple. The recommendation came from a friend of the owner so perhaps they aren't so welcoming to newcomers. Not sure what else it could be as I've been treated much better when expected to spend that kind of coin.
Definitely no priority given to wine like I've seen in other wine bars.
Cafe? Sure. Wine bar?? No. – It seems wine bars are popping up all over Seattle these days, with mixed degrees of success. Since Impromptu has been around for a while now, I thought I would give it a try. I have to say I was sorely disappointed. When I want to go to a wine bar, I mean I want a "wine bar". Impromptu is by no stretch of the imagination a wine bar. The selection of wines is meager and poorly conceived thematically. I would also agree with other reviewers that the glass pours are over-priced, particularly when the quality of the wines is so mediocre.
Were I expecting just a cafe - which Impromptu clearly now is - I would be decidedly less critical. Dan is doing a fine job with the food, given the limitations of the space (but what's this whole "upstairs" thing??). As mentioned in prior reviews, the service was - the night I went - a tad "chilly". The space itself is very nice, quite intimate (well, as intimate as it could be with huge windows on two sides of a triangular space!).
All in all, I wouldn't say I would go again, nor would I be terribly likely to recommend it to friends. The management would be well advised to rethink "wine bar" in the name, or at least make a modest attempt to live it up to it. When you're a cafe, call yourself a cafe. "Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar."
Nice Surprise – I went with several friends for a birthday party. We didn't have reservations, but they were able to accommodate us after the rush which I found very kind. The wait staff was a little cold, and the restaurant a little hot, but in all it was a good experience. The menu was of a Northwest theme at the time and well designed. I had the chicken dish and it was delicious, though a bit salty. The onion tart was fantastic and alone worth going back for, as was the well designed cheese course. We all tried one another?s dishes, and I don't think any were disappointed... except the gluten free desert. I am not sure if it was a cake, cookie, or what, but it wasn't very good. However, I think it is wonderful more restaurants are having gluten free options on their menu. Overall I would say it is a great place in the making. There are some short comings (odd wine list, little overpriced for the offerings, too hot) but I can see with a little more work this could go from a good to great.
Friends of the grape delight in this bar's thoughtful setting and varying menu of world-class wines. – In Short
The patio has a lovely lake view, while music, art, wine and food blend to create a casual, elegant atmosphere. Relax by the windows or fireplace in sunlit, cafe-style confines. Every three months, the wine list focuses on a new region, like Bordeaux or Central California. The wide selection and friendly staff accommodate all levels of taste and sophistication.
Great customer service; can be gluten-free on request – This is a great restaurant, and I highly recommend it. The regular food is great, and if you have a gluten intolerance, the staff can make your meal gluten-free. The chef is fantastic and very friendly.
Not Recommended not a good value – overpriced wine. snooty, cold staff behind the bar. the cook/owner came out one time to say hello. he was very nice. overall, it's too bad i felt my money was wasted by going to this place. it is a great space and they have a nice deck. it is always way too warm in there also. i have been there twice. maybe i was there on two off nights. check it out for yourself and prove me wrong.
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