Qube: The Third Power Overpowers

Asian-French fusion restaurant Qube has a singular concept. Take an ingredient and serve it three different ways. Then take that course and serve it along two others with the same approach. Three courses times three ingredients–it’s cubed! And the restuarant is called Qube! Do you get it? DO YOU GET IT??

Despite such an overly cute approach to cuisine, Qube is still excellent. My meal started with strutting through the diaphanous veil of the hosting area into the minimalist dining room crafted out of hard white surfaces, wall-sized wine racks, and pitch-perfect lighting. The service is exactly what you expect from a good restaurant, which I can only describe by recounting that the server asked what kind of water we each would like. Not that a restaurant can’t be good if the server doesn’t do that, but it’s those sorts of little courtesies that define an ineffable quality that comes to be called good service. Although the server did ask to see both of our IDs (when only one of us had ordered, no less), which always grates on me. It’s law, I know, but if you have a platinum card you most likely are over 21 (or have a trust fund, or both). Sheesh.

We selected the “turf” menu, if only because the other two options, vegetarian* and “surf,” included evil fennel. The first course featured foie gras as a creme brulee, torchon, and seared. The creme brulee was nicely blended sweet and salty; the torchon was intensely creamy; and the seared presented an interesting textural combination with nuts. But there was immediately a problem, a problem I never thought I would have. It was way too much foie gras. Lots of foie gras sounds like a good thing, but really? No. It is not. Having too much foie gras just makes you start thinking about where it comes from, and that really detracts from the whole experience. Each portion was what I would usually expect from a foie gras course, but instead you have three of them!

The next course presented Wagyu beef** tartare***, flat iron steak, and braised cheek. The braised cheek, served over “potato puree,”**** was truly wonderful–just salty enough, with the texture of a well-made pot roast. That is a high compliment coming from me! The flat iron steak was similarly excellent, precisely medium-rare and drizzled with a luscious ume-truffle butter. The tartare? No idea. By the time I was down to my last bite of steak I was stuffed. Couldn’t even touch it.

The last course, dessert, was the one weak spot. Themed around huckleberry, the course started with a housemade huckleberry-vanilla-ginger soda. I couldn’t taste anything, my date tasted Nyquil. Either way, not a success. Next came Humboldt Fog goat cheesecake with huckleberry “caviar,” which tasted pretty much like regular cheesecake. Except to my date, who all of a sudden in the middle of the cake got a huge chunk of goat cheese. Yikes. Finally came two adorable tiny beignets with star anise caramel for dipping. I didn’t try the caramel because of the evil anise (part of the Axis of Evil: anise, fennel, and licorice), but the beignet was incredibly dry. I ate it all at once since it was appropriately bite-sized, but I ended up chewing possibly for longer than I have ever chewed in my life.

So all told, I am still highly impressed with Qube. The foie gras and steak courses were both remarkable, even if the dessert ended things on a low note. If only they would shrink the portions by about 1/3–now that would be a cube I could get behind. And by get behind I mean actually eat.

* Shouldn’t vegetarian be “turf”? As in grass?
** I assume, the menu just said “Kobe style” (sic). What does that even mean?
*** The menu said “tartar,” but since there was no tartar sauce I’m going to go ahead and guess they meant tartare.
**** That’s like mashed potatoes for fancy people!

Qube Restaurant in Seattle

1 Comment so far

  1. jameswa on March 3rd, 2008 @ 9:22 am

    I agree – this is a fun restaurant with some really good food and quality service.

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