We regularly visit Port Angeles from Seattle because of the excellent restaurants in the area. We have some long established favorites, but on the recommendation of our favorite B&B Innkeeper, we decided to try Michaels. We enjoyed it so much, we had to go back the next night.
The first night we started with some excellent cocktails. They have a selection of flavor infused vodkas which makes for some interesting drink possibilities. We both thought that our drinks were well-balanced and clever - they would be at home in any upscale bar or lounge.
The food began with an excellent appetizer of prosciutto and manchego cheese with a lovely salad of mixed wild greens with a well-contructed vinegrette. The table bread had an excellent crust, and we accompanied by a tapenade of olives in a fragrant extra-virgin olive oil.
We hadn't anticipated such a large amount of greens, so we also ordered Caesar salad. It was simple, fresh, and traditional. None of that creamy bottle-junk dressing here. It could have used just slightly more acidity, but that was easily remedied with the lemon wedge.
We were both craving something with meat, so I had Lamb and my companion had a sirloin steak. In both cases, the preparations were simple, and excellently executed. It allowed the flavors of the meats to remain the star of the show. The vegetables served with the meal were perfectly cooked and flavorful. The sirloin steak was paired with a smoked-salmon mac & cheese. This was intriguing to us, and our curiousity was rewarded. The flavors of the smoked salmon melded nicely with the rich cheese/bechamel, and the broiled cheese crust was perfect - adding flavor without being too heavy or salty. The lamb had a rich bordelaise sauce which complemented the meat without overpowering it. The accompanying polenta had a light covering of broiled cheese - also well proportioned and flavorful.
On this night we were too full to even contemplate dessert.
The next night, we decided that there was still much left unexplored on their menu and so we returned. This was to be an exploration of seafood. We enjoyed yet another round of cocktails and tasty bread, then set into an appetizer of sauteed calamari in a tomato/red bell pepper base. The squid was delicate and tender beyond belief. There were small coins of linguisa sausage that provided enough spice and contrasting flavor/texture, but did not overpower the flavor of the squid.
We opted to try something a bit risky, and we both ordered similar but different dishes - both of which were similar to the calamari. We had a "fisherman's pasta" and a seafood stew. Both dishes featured a collection of manila clams, mussels, large prawns, squid, salmon, and oysters. What was striking was that despite the similar collections of ingredients, the end result was very different. The pasta had a light tomato-cream base which was rich in flavor but not in excessive fattiness. The stew was also tomato based, but was distrinct from both the calamari and the pasta. There were notes of wine, and the aroma from the saffron rice that set it apart. In all cases, the fish/shellfish was perfectly cooked and flavorful.
This time, we left scarce room for dessert - and on the waiter's recommendation opted for the bread pudding. This was served with a rich, buttery caramel sauce. The pudding itself had excellent texture and mouth-feel, never doughy or liquid. The caramel sauce was obviously made in-house, and was not overly sweet.
We have plans to go somewhere else tonight - but if that doesn't work out, we may yet be back for a 3rd night in a row.
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