Last night we had dinner at Thierry Rautureau’s Luc, a French-American restaurant in our neighborhood that opened about a year ago. I’ve been eager to eat at Luc because I’ve been fascinated as long as I can remember by Rover’s, Rautureau’s other restaurant. Rover’s is well-known among Seattle non-foodies for its cachet as a very expensive restaurant mainly for people with money to burn or a couple last dying wishes. I was excited when I first heard Rautureau was opening up a cafe and bar. A taste of Rover’s for the vulgar masses? Rautureau is one of Seattle’s celebrity chefs. He markets himself as the chef-in-the-hat. I’ve spotted him walking out and about the city in his little top hat. Luc is on the corner of East Madison and MLK in Madison Valley and occupies a small space which in a past life was home to a frame shop (I got one of my Mom’s old paintings framed there).

Luc was busy. It was half past six o’clock, so we were fortunate to get a table in the front room next to the bar, which typically enough was standing room-only exactly next to our table so I had someone’s butt practically in my face (I had to gently elbow him in the rear a few times before he got the message- luckily he left before dinner arrived).  I got a glass of red wine with a toasted olive oil baguette (three slices- soft cheese, crushed olives and tomato “frosting”). I ordered the pizza margherita, which in a good restaurant I’ve always considered chefs’ paean to the unadventurous such as myself. Diana got a steak with fries. We agreed dinner was good but maybe only good. It’s hard to judge a restaurant when you order something as uninteresting as pizza margherita.

Luc may be more casual than Rover’s, but it’s not particularly homey. Frankly, it feels like your typical agreeable designer restaurant. Despite the fact it’s a surprisingly loud room, it still has a cultivated, stuffy air. I’ve got a feeling if we showed up with Adam we’d get stuck in the back next to a trashcan or the bathroom door. We liked Luc enough we’ll return as an experiment and eat there as a family, but my dreams of a more casual neighborhood go-to joint were mostly dashed.

But apparently the potato crisps are amazing….

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