The Olympic Peninsula produces some of the best vegetables, fish, mushrooms, fruits, and meat in the world, and the farms churn out the goodies year round. This restaurant takes advantage of all that bounty, enhances it with skillful, imaginative cooking, and serves it up to lucky customers. Alder Wood Bistro is the perfect little country restaurant you dream of finding but almost never do. It is informal and unpretentious, but it is run by a sophisticated couple who really know their food and wine. Gabriel and Jessica spend one month each year visiting restaurants in Spain, and their menu has touches of the sun. Gabriel has also spent years making contacts among local farmers and fishermen; his meals are made of the best that the Olympic Peninsula has to offer, and they showcase whatever is at its succulent, seasonal peak.
Our most recent meal featured rye bread made with local grain; fat, minerally fried oysters, superb red and white king salmon, and lightly confited young chicken from Chimacum's Spring Rain Farm. Sides included pickled cherries with polenta and sweet corn kernels, and a magnificent risotto made with local chard. A local farmer is raising quail these days, so Gabriel brought out a Spanish dish of quail eggs and chorizo on toast.
As I say, Alder Wood is not pretentious. They serve a great burger and the best fries west of Seattle. Their thin crust pizzas, baked in their wood fired oven, are wonderful. Wines are well chosen and very reasonably priced, and there is a fine selection of the Nectar of the Northwest - beer. Dinner is served five days a week, Tuesday through Saturday, and it starts at 4:30 pm, a blessing to jet lagged visitors and famished hikers alike.
This place is worth a side trip. Don't miss it.
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