The Reopening of Roslyn Cafe Creates a Stir
The iconic Roslyn Cafe unexpectedly reopened late last month under new ownership and with a new menu, creating a level of food excitement not seen in months
Given the fact that it's the "Roslyn Cafe", that of Northern Exposure fame with the famous mural and a destination all by itself, there has been plenty of rumor and anticipation over who took it over and whether or not it can live up to its predecessor. Not wanting to jump the gun on a review, I wanted to give the new owners and menu a solid few weeks to settle in. Since its surprise opening on January 30th, I've eaten there four times - once for breakfast, twice for lunch and once for dinner. I'm not trying to brag here, I'm just affirming my due diligence. It's hard work, but someone has to do it.
Since day one the food has been surprisingly (and deliciously) consistent. The menu has changed a bit but, for the most part, has been pretty consistent as well with a few changes and specials rolling out, which is to be expected.
The Roslyn Cafe Burger, containing a whopping two (2) quarter-pound charbroiled patties with cheese, their special sauce, onions, lettuce, and tomato served on a toasted brioche bun is downright spectacular. The Lamb Burger boasts 1/2 pound of Washington state lamb with sharp cheddar cheese, chili aioli, lettuce and pickled onion and is as good as you've been hearing - super juicy and flavorful. All burgers are served with a crisp pickle and your choice of a mixed green salad, soup or their amazing triple-cooked fries. What are triple-cooked fries, you ask? Well, they are hand cut, blanched and then fried twice to create a crispy outside and a creamy inside.
If you're not feeling like fries, you'll have no regrets with the salad. There's some seasoning they put in there that makes it incredibly good, even without a salad dressing. The Buttery Tomato soup I had was out of this world and even my 16-year-old daughter, who isn't a big soup fan, couldn't stop raving about it.
But, let's talk about Pastrami Day. Pastrami, oh my pastrami! One lunch I decided to order the Pastrami on Rye with the aforementioned Buttery Tomato soup from heaven. The rye is grilled and (also) buttery and the pastrami is sandwiched in there with just the right amount of mustard. The edges of the pastrami were remarkably crisp and not fatty. My only complaint was how salty the pastrami was. However, the rye was subtle, balancing out the mustard and meat. I literally could not stop eating this, in spite of how obscenely full I was getting and I kept justifying to myself that I wouldn't eat anything the rest of the day. And, yes, if you read my last review, this is becoming a theme - but only with regards to great food, mind you! I also had the good fortune on Pastrami Day to be there when they were test pouring Good Life Pacific Ale and ended up getting comp'ed a free beer. Let me say that again. Free beer.
This last Saturday night I was in for dinner and ordered the Seared King Salmon, a skin-on cut of Alaskan King salmon seared to medium and served with grilled zucchini, king oyster mushrooms and salsa verde. The mushrooms were tender and crunchy from roasting and the zucchini had a good, smoky grilled flavor. The salmon was cooked to medium perfection - not too raw and not overcooked. The end result was a fabulous, creamy cut of salmon. The overall flavor profile was great, but one that was more salty and lacking complexity - the salsa verde could stand something more flavorful as the parsley heavy mix was too subtle to balance out the other tastes. Was it $27 good? I'd like to see some more oomph here to put it in that category, but it's very close.
The breakfast I had there on Valentine's Day was the only underwhelming meal I've had so far. I ordered the Funghi Vegetarian omelet with shallots, and added in Beecher's cheese. The omelet was served with a side salad of young baby lettuces. I found the mushrooms to be more on the rubbery side and the flavor of the omelet to be bordering on flavorless. Offering a goat cheese add-on or a Bearnaise sauce and scallions would have really made this breakfast item delightful.
The Wrap Up
The pricing on most of their menu items is very reasonable for this area, erring more on the low end for the basics, which is a refreshing surprise. Kudos for them in keeping costs to the local diners down on several menu items.
As with most newly opened places, service is still finding its footing. In early days there was a little more confusion on orders at tables around me and they are still in the midst of hiring new staff, so expect some learning curve from the staff regarding menu and beverage information. All standard stuff, really, and nothing to critique. Just be aware.
I'm going to go out on a limb here and state that the Roslyn Cafe has really raised the bar for food in the area and is definitely one to watch. And eat. Repeatedly. I emphatically, highly recommend.
201 W Pennsylvania Ave, Roslyn, WA 98941
Please note: The Roslyn Cafe website (www.theroslyncafe.com) and Google information have not been updated under the new ownership and information/menu and hours of operation is inaccurate. Refer only to their Facebook page right now for information and if you need to contact them, your best bet is to stop by or call.