Seattle >Food & Dining > Elemental
A perfect dining experience and a must-try in Seattle.
So, this is not the Cheesecake Factory. If you want to choose from a big menu, order yourself a frozen margarita, and have a happy waiter cozy up to you, that's not going to happen here.
However, you can tell you are in capable, caring hands the moment you sit down in this unpretentious, cozy, yet sophisticated space. Admittedly, that charm is not expressed in a bunch of charming conversation. Instead, you are served a delightful drink immediately. The server (who I think is the owner) finds out what you won't eat, and then proceeds to bring you course after course of surprising, beautiful, and delicious food. Highlights for us tonight were the ravioli with zucchini noodles, the green and yellow beans in a citrusy cream sauce with lava salt, and the peachy bread pudding. We were still trying to figure out everything that was in that soup on the way home (chickpeas? grapes? almonds?). Oh, and the wine. The wine pairings were spot-on and included one that immediately made my top ten of all time list. The service wasn't chatty, but you know what it was...it was prompt, responsive, and thorough. The kitchen is open, and the care and concentration of the two chefs working was apparent throughout the evening. And you cannot beat the value.
One caveat. Bring a big appetite, because they are going to bring you a LOT of food. They are also going to bring you a lot of alcohol. Regulate yourself. You don't have to finish every glass of wine, although you'll want to try it just to experience the variety and pairing with the courses.
We'll be coming back and thoroughly recommend Elemental to anyone looking for a first-class night out.
Seatle Weekly-Best Rude Service Category-WINNER!.
*Since my last review and having visited several more times I am going to save you a lot of time, suffering and money with some tips.
*First-take $200 out of the ATM
*Second-Go to the grocery store and buy matches, jiffy pop, a small bottle of truffle oil, a gallon of crappy Paisano wine and a turkey Hungry Man TV Dinner
*Third-Go home invite a friend over and ask him/her to insult you relentlessly, you know, ask them to try their best to make you feel like a complete dbag
*Fourth-cook said Hungry Man, popcorm slathered with truffle oil, tell yourself the slop is Laurie's greatest creation ever (maybe its QUAIL! OOOOOHHH!), have your friend continue to berate you and slam crappy wine down on the table
*Lastly, take the remaining $160 bucks or so, light the bills, watch them burn and have your angry friend put them in a very uncomfortable place.
That my friends is EXACTLY what my last meal was here and if you don't believe me, go try it. Go in and smile and be kind to Phred and Laurie, I promise you they will be the worst restaurant hosts ever and kick out inedible slop to you-food and unbelievable attitude that just doesnt have a place anywhere let alone a dining room. Bon Appetit!
*PS-I hear that the Monroe State Pen is looking for a line cook and prison guard, my suggestion to these two is to polish your resumes.
Great experience on my wife's birthday..
If you go in blind not knowing about the potential caustic attitude of the owner/chef/server you could be in for disappointment.
My wife and I went in with our eyes wide open, and we enjoyed the food and the quirkiness. The food was far better than many higher end restaurants, and our entire party has a good time.
I read some reviews talking about citysearch computations blah blah blah...some people love this place, some people hate it.
Seattlelites are just too sensitive. We loved it.
Make sure you show up extra extra early!.
I heard of this place through a coworker, and decided to bring my husband there for our anniversary. I called to see if I could make reservations, but was told that they didn't take them. There recommendation was to arrive early, which we did. 4:15 to be exact. Only to find out they were already full for their 1st "round" of seating which can last till 9 or 9:30. I was soooo bummed as I did not have any other back up plans. So we sat on the other side of the "restaurant" which was like a communial seated bar area. You can order everything off the menu along with wine, but it just wasn't the same as the great experience I heard about, so we decided to wait...even if we had to wait 4-5 hours. The gal there was really nice and did everything she could to make me feel better, and eventually - I got over it....Just in time to find out there was a couple who left early b/c they got into a big fight! Bad for them, but good for us! So around 7:30, they got is in. I was so glad we waited! It was as great of an experience as I expected. We got to sit at the "bar" area, so it was fun to watch all the cook's in action, and they were quite friendly chatting us up as we learned about some of their dishes.
I definitely recommend this place if you want a unique fun experience and have an open mind. A few words of warning though - as I have already stressed - be ready to get there early. Be ready to not make the seating...and if you do be ready to have a pretty hefty tab at the end of the night. If you go to the place with an amount of money you have in mind that you want to spend, sit on the side that isn't controlled by the owner. My husband and I's tab was well over 200 that night. The owner serves you what he wants to serve you and when...and this goes for both food and drinks!
Pretty much the best meal of my life. I was fortunate enough to go with someone who had been before, along with another friend, so was warned as to what to expect. Laurie and Phred are the owners and they were both in house and some of the nicest people I've ever met. We had delicious wine in our hand almost as soon as we sat down. We were asked how hungry we were and if there were any dislikes or allergies and then we were completely in their hands. Course after course both of wine and food and it was all delicious. The ravioli especially made me get a little weepy it was so good. I can hardly wait to go back!
Ah, there's no '0'-star rating, I see..
Having seen Mr. Hyde, I wonder if I should go again and see if the 5-stars people heap on this nauseous hole is associated with a Dr. Jekyll. Nah! Life is way too short.
Apart from the much-reported wine snobbery, this place took the cake for the relative indifference extended to a customer (wife) that got sick.
Oh, add me to the list of people that were mysteriously overcharged.
Completely Unique (good), Completely Affordable (better). This wonderfully unique restaurant hidden away serves right up until 11:59 pm with out a rolled eye or evil glance from an irritated waiter, and without a single sacrafice in the quality of their 3 hour dinner service. Imagine a place where you go for the experience of food and wine paired for you at every meal. While Phred's (co-owner/waiter/sommolier) style as described by other reviewers herein seems off putting at first - once I took a deep breath and gave up control, I found that I loved the little surprises he came up with. It blends all the best parts of going over to your favorite neighborhood spot and eating dinner at your best friends house (the one who knows a lot about wine). Once I got past what I thought a restaurant meal should be and focused on the amazing food and great decor - I really enjoyed myself as much as a multi-course chef's dinner at a 5-star reasturant without the 13 peices of silverware next to my plate. And just when I got scared to death of what the bill would look like with this guy pouring me what seemed to be bottomless glasses of wine over 3 hours - he gives me a check for what could have easily been tax alone at some of its competitors. With only a handful of tables, I guess I understand the no Rez. policy, I just wish I could get in more - althought the wait in the bar next door was quite pleasent - just don't expect to be seated right away. All in all - I was blown away and haven't been able to stop telling people about a dinning experience as unique and fun as The Ruins is quirky, or Canlis is formal. If you like to show off for your company on what wine you order or are a controlling type in general - this is not going to leave you a happy camper, but if you go out to eat as much as I do and find even the best reasturants in town blending together - then you've got to go to Elemental.
This place way over served me. This is not hospitality, it is dangerous..
I enjoy fine dining. I enjoy delicious liquor, unique flavor combinations, and creative menus. This restaurant has those things in spades. I wish I could recommend it, but instead I must give a warning: they served me far too much to drink. I blacked out by the end of my meal. I do not remember paying. I do not remember getting back to my hotel room. Anything could have happened to me between the restaurant and my room. Luckily my dinning partner chose not to drink the last three drinks that were brought to the table, and he thinks he remembers that we were perfectly safe. I have no idea. The waiter did not find out if we were driving, did not find out if we had a cab, just allowed us to walk out the door when we were visibly too drunk to be safe.
Obviously it was my choice to drink everything that was brought to the table, and doubtless many of you will disregard this warning. But I am not an inexperienced diner or an inexperienced drinker. I was caught off guard by the fine dining atmosphere, and I wasn't expecting to have to watch myself. I never have encountered this level of automatic serving. I was served three drinks, within fifteen minutes, before any food was brought out. Then one or two glasses of wine arrived with each course. I don't remember how many courses there were. I was given no warning that the drinks would continue to arrive in such copious amounts, so I did not begin with caution, and by the end of the meal, all caution had flown out the door. Yet I continued to be served.
This is not hospitality. Everything was delicious, the tastes were superb, the presentation was flashy. But that was all it was. Flash. I would have been safer in a bar in Pioneer Square than I was in that establishment.
We went to New Years Eve dinner and yes we did have to wait. We simply went and had a drink then came back at the time Phred suggested. Each course of food was truly amazing. Small portions, sharing plates, and very interesting flavor combinations. I went with someone who knows wines and they loved the wine pairings.
The chef came out and talked with us as the evening wound down, she very friendly and pleasant. Phred came by and said that he had another wine for us to try "just for fun."
The value was tremendous....4 of us ate 6 courses and drank 10-15 wines/each for $200 total. We even wrote in an extra tip when there wasn't room on the receipt.
For those who make special requests or want to be seated right away DON'T GO.
If you are okay putting your dining experience in the hands of these two food and wine experts it is a real treat.
Simply amazing and best value in Seattle.
I went into this experience mindful of all the previous reviews, not sure whether I was have the Dr. Jekyll or Mr. Hyde experience. And, honestly, I had both. When we arrived (about 8:45), we were greeted by nothing other than a sign telling us they were full and we wouldn't be helped and that tables typically became available at 8:30. There was nary a soul to greet us or assist us, so we went next door to Elemental Next Door (which was serving the same menu that evening, New Year's Eve). We wandered over to a "bar" where two diners were eating. A real person coldly (oh, so coldly) told us there was probably about a 45-minute wait and to have a seat on the bench at the entrance (as opposed to the comfortable stools at the bar). A group of four people who were seated at a six-top invited us to join their table. We happily agreed, but the woman who told us about the wait said, "At least let us set it up." So we went back to the cold, hard bench to wait. After 20 minutes, we realized we were not going to be allowed to sit with the fun group at the six-top. Meanwhile, servers were walking in and out, completely ignoring us. Inwardly seething, I was determined to see the experience through.
Finally, after 45 minutes, a server comes, thanks us for our patience and provides us a table. From then on, it was the most magical dining experience I've ever had. As soon as we had a table, we were treated like kings. The food was spectacular, the wine pairing were perfect and the service suddenly turned warm and friendly. And we were amazed at how inexpensive it all was!
Here's the secret to enjoying Elemental -- be prepared for an ice-cold greeting and surrender completely to the experience. Control freaks will hate it, but for those with an adventurous spirit and that certain "joie de vivre," you'll have an experience of a lifetime.
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