Sunday, March 28, 2010

Toulouse Petit: Little Bite of your Alligator and your Beignets too.

Toulouse Petit Kitchen and Lounge
601 Queen Anne Avenue North, Seattle, WA 98119  (206) 432-9069       Daily: 9 A.M. - 1:30 A.M.
I confess. I often crave hot pastry.  I was thinking beignet and coffee, and so headed to Cajun inspired Toulouse Petit to see what I could taste. Right away I found a neighboring table with a plate of those deep-fried sugared dough triangles.
Oh yes! I sassied me some of that fried dough. Here I am (above) with the beignet-eaters in the midst of a successful sassy mission.  Actually, they made it painlessly easy for me. I waltzed over, peered at their plate and asked, "are those the beignets?" After only a short pause, they countered with,"yeah, would you like to try one?"...and I reached and tasted - first their beignets, then later, their fried alligator. Yes, ALLIGATOR. Toulouse Petit serves it up deep fried in true southern redneck tradition.

From left to right meet Brandon, Jesse and Kasey (and then there's me, looking as though the vodka drink and sassy madness has gone to my head).
So, I sat with my new friends for a spell, sampling the fried gator vittles (see plate above and below). These morsels were thickly breaded and spicy hot, so it wasn't so easy to eek out the underlying gator flavor.  I'd reckon a cross between swordfish and chicken - both in taste and texture. 
I also sipped sweet Kasey's cocktail.  Turns out these friendly folks all work at Via Tibunali, the famed Seattle pizzeria.

We must have created a commotion with the sips and tastes, because Joe, the day manager came over to see what was going on with us. He followed me back to my table, and instead of chiding me for wandering off to eat food from strangers, Joe, to my great glee, procured my own private plate of soft, warm, plump, dough-y sugar sprinkled buns.
Thoughout my foray into sassy territory, Wendy, my dining companion, patiently sipped her mint julep. Maybe she was also enjoying the view of Jason tending bar.  We shared the fresh buttermilk beignets. The little side of chicory anglaise dipping sauce added just enough sweetness and depth to help them go down easy. But Wendy doesn't have much of a sweet tooth, so I sucked down most of these babies myself with the help of a nice hot pot of coffee-press coffee. Instead of beignets, Wendy swallowed a half dozen oysters on the half shell for dessert. She captured me and generous manager Joe (below), discussing the beignets, the restaurant, the art of love and divorce, and sassying, of course.
The cocktails at Toulouse alone are worth a trip. Jason, the seems-like-a-celebrity bartender, is generous with his pours and kindly accommodated Wendy's request for ice cubes, rather than shaved slushy ice in her Mint Julep. It came just as she requested, and was filled with copious fresh mint and bourbon. She loved it so much that she pet-named it Jason's Julep. My drink, the Katie Mae, a beautiful combination of vodka, St. Germain, prosecco and grapefruit juice, was only half empty here, but I was fully happy.
You certainly to get your bang for your buck with Jason. He took a few minutes away from his busy bar to canoodle and sample my beignets (well, pose for a pic).
Of course we ordered some savory classics too: 'Barbecued' Shrimp New Orleans over Creamy Corn Grits and a Blackened Shrimp Po’ Boy sandwich doused in french fries.  Everything tasted good. Wendy was passionate about the food. On previous visits to Toulouse, she had already sampled the blue crab remoulade and fried oyster po' boy, both of which she loved. I can't say that I was necessarily awed (or as she suggested, "transported out of Seattle") by the culinary experience at Toulouse, but I have only tried a few items on the menu (and none of those that Wendy had already sampled).  
However, the affordable prices, plus the accommodating, gracious staff, plus the superb, strong cocktails, plus the aesthetics of the space itself (light, wrought iron, tile, woodwork), plus the compelling and unusual menu items (Louisiana blue crab with fried green tomatoes, escargots, steak tartar, crispy pork cheeks, spicy alligator, 'Bananas Foster' pancakes, beignets, etc.), plus the excellent dining compatriots, added up to a sublime experience, overall.   

Maya, our beautiful server was diligent in her service and earnestly gave us wise advice...not only on what to order, but how to proceed, one step at a time, towards bodily and spiritual fulfillment (I think we were all still discussing romance).
Toulouse serves their expansive breakfast menu until 2:30 P.M., but if you get there before 11:00 A.M., Monday-Friday, every item is discounted down to six bucks. Toulouse Petit is the perfect venue to meet up with friends for brunch or happy hour. Lastly, I'm happy to report that there is a khamsa (a hand amulet popular in Muslim and Jewish culture) hanging over the doorway to ward off the evil eye. Toulouse is protected.

Toulouse Petit on Urbanspoon


Unknown said...

Great Report! I want a mint julep with ice cubes, just because it looks so good and refreshing.
You make the place sound really fun. Can I go sometimes to be the sassier's apprentice?

Tom Hart said...

How awesome is this Sassy? Answer: all awesome.

frantic foodie said...

how could they say no to you? they can't and Toulouse, I love it. Love it! Am obsessed with that place.