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Zephyr Grill & Bar, Kent

The most recent addition to the new Kent Station , Zephyr Grill & Bar is easily the nicest restaurant in Kent. Taupe walls, dark wood booths topped with sculpted glass, elegant lighting, and white fabric napkins (yes, in Kent that’s a step up) all add up to a nice ambiance, with a skilled wait-staff and the food was excellent too. Why, however, do they not put some kind of padding or buffering in the ceiling – or is it just that deafening restaurants are currently en vouge? Just a touch of buffering makes a world of difference in allowing you to hear what your partner is saying, and in drowning out the laugh of the obnoxious blonde on the other side of the room.

When we were seated in the dark-stained wood booth by the window, our server immediately brought out the bread basket: a selection of olive loaf and sourdough breads with sweat cream, pesto, and red pepper butters. The menu was a bit pricey, the entrees ran from the high teens to the low thirties; mostly around $25 a plate. We decided on a starter each and then we would share an entree and a side dish. Mr. H had the yellow pepper soup, which came out in a huge bowl. I’m not so much a fan of the yellow pepper so I didn’t taste the soup, but he reports that it was excellent. My caesar salad was delivered in a huge wooden bowl, large enough to be a meal itself.

Mr. H ordered a glass of the MacMurray Ranch Pinot Noir which arrived in a glass much more empty than full. As we pondered the two fingers of wine and the air that filled the remainder of the glass we discussed the glass half empty/half full pessimist/optimist distinction and whether it was relevant when the glass was 1/5 full. I stuck my nose in the glass and inhaled, then took a sip. Not bad, not noteworthy, just a decent red wine. As I whined about the quantity of wine our server arrived with another glass, this one filled to a more appropriate depth. Apparently, the bartender had not completed filling the glass before the server ran off with it so they sent another glass of wine over with their compliments. Giving me free wine will always make points.

Our entree arrived on a huge platter: two filets of salmon on two puddles of sauce, one was a cabernet marionberry sauce and the other was lemon butter. The center of the plate contained a mound of rice pilaf, topped off with broccoli florettes. We also ordered a side of asparagus. The asparagus was amazing. The chefs treatise on asparagus is apparently “Don’t so much cook it, as threaten it.” The theory paid off with perfectly grilled asparagus topped with a light butter sauce. Would that he had held the same theory for broccoli as it was woefully overdone and floppy. The pilaf was hearty if a little bland. The sauces were good but the real treasure of the meal was the salmon. It was perfectly prepared with just the right herby crust. I found I preferred the salmon on it’s own, without the sauces.

All in all it was an exceptional meal at a very nice location. I’d go back again in a heartbeat.

Seattle writer, Judy Schwartz Haley, blogs about raising a toddler while battling cancer, finishing a degree, and fending off ninjas. Also, she needs more coffee.
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