Yarrow Bay Grill
1270 Carillon Point
Kirkland WA 98033
Among the Best Contemporary Restaurants in Seattle
By: Bryan R
Late one night, we looped around a dark and windy road on the east side of Lake Washington. It was chilly outside and I cursed myself for forgetting a jacket. After a couple minutes of searching, we found a little collection of lights jutting slightly out into the water on a little dimple of a peninsula, Carillon Point. We approached with a bit of hesitation, not totally sure where the next turn was or how to get there. After a couple of wrong turns and dead ends, we finally found the front door. And as we approached, suddenly Jack Nicholson popped out with ax in hand... well not really. Yarrow Bay Grill is smack dab on Lake Washington, can be a little hard to find, and the front door is not at all obvious to first time visitors. But far from a horror movie, Yarrow Bay Grill is an absolute pleasure.
Classy, casually upscale, and featuring some of the best lake views in the area, Yarrow Bay Grill seems to have everything going for it. But can it deliver when it comes to your palate? We shall see...
Yarrow Bay Grill is popular; as we rounded the row of tables, many commanding impressive views, we noticed how nearly every one of them was neatly packed with happy diners. We made our way to one of the few tables facing the north side of the lake, overlooking the row of lights that make up the Kirkland waterfront. Although nearly every table had an impressive vista, we were unfortunately seated at one of the few tables tucked into a corner with only a narrow view of dark waters.
With a name like Yarrow Bay Grill, it's not a surprise that seafood was the main focus. Dinner selection was a little challenging because so much of the menu looked promising. For the appetizers, we settled on the Citrus Dungeness Crab Risotto ($16) and the lighter Pecan Salad ($9). The risotto was excellent, but may not for everyone - the tart, citrus-y flavors stood out remarkably, but it may be too sharp for some. Mixed into the risotto was a bit of mascarpone cheese, a triple cream cheese slightly soured with cultures and somewhat akin to sour cream, which made the risotto even creamier. The pecan salad was a mixture light greens and wonderful, honey-coated pecans that were roasted to perfection. Small cubes of blue cheese added a pleasant, rich, and slightly tart flavor to the mix.
Between the starters and the main entree, we had a little more time to enjoy the ambiance. Dark woods, lake views, and cityscape vistas complimented the classy and upscale mood. On the walls opposite the impressive scenery were several paintings, many of pleasant exterior scenes, helping to continue the theme of sweeping views. Despite the jaw dropping exterior, the inside of Yarrow Bay Grill doesn't feel cavernous; it's truly the quintessential date spot.
But enough of the views, let's get back to the food! For the main entrees, we settled on the Alaskan Black Cod and the Prosciutto Crusted Scallops ($27). The Alaskan Black Cod was a monthly special (part of the Dine Around Seattle Program) but a comparable dish normally runs for $37 while a similar scallop dish usually runs $27. Both dishes were excellent. Complimenting the black cod, a medley of ingredients including mushrooms, a peppery butter, rice, mizuna (an Asian, leafy green similar to mustard greens), and tomatoes worked incredibly well together and created a fantastic fish dish. Perfectly cooked, the first few layers of the cod were infused with the spiced butter that created a spectacular flavor sensation. Even the mushrooms, not one of Grant's favorites, were not only palatable but downright enjoyable - a testament to the skill of the chef!
Reminiscent of its country cousin, the bacon-wrapped scallop, the prosciutto-crusted scallops offered a slightly upscale twist to the well established favorite. Compared to bacon, the prosciutto offered a considerably less greasy and more flavorful companion to the fresh scallops. The salty, crisp morsels were great on the tongue. The mashed potatoes served on the side were smooth and creamy while the nice assortment of mixed veggies helped round out the meal. Our only real qualm was that the dish was very much on the modest side for an entree.
After our tasty starters and entrees, we still had a bit more room left for some of the mouthwatering desserts. Two items, the Wild Huckleberry Cheesecake (seasonal) and the Toffee Cream Pudding (seasonal) sounded the most tempting. Both sweet and tart, the cheesecake not only looked great but tasted like a delightful slice of unicorns kissing rainbows... or something much like that. Like the cheesecake, the toffee cream pudding was wonderful. Served warm, the creamy pudding had that wonderful molasses-like flavor toffee brings to the palate while it soaked right into the heart of the side brownie.
A great meal, an impressive view, and helpful, professional servers combined to create one fabulous evening out. The excellent food landed Yarrow Bay Grill with our Editors Choice award while the impressive vistas (provided you're seated at a waterfront table) easily secured the Ambiance Award. Without a doubt, Yarrow Bay Grill is hands down one of our most highly recommended restaurants.
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