Cafe Harlequin at 107 Lake Street is ready for some discerning palates to pay them a visit. I met with Larry Stepek, the General Manager, who has been looking for over four years for a place to open this restaurant (he moved here from CA). They are aiming for great food and a great experience with hopes of commanding the Cafe Juanita type following.
The cuisine is Mediterranean and all of the recipes are authentic (with many local ingredients). From France's subtle tastes to the heat of Spain/Morocco, you should be ready to try new things. One of Larry's faves is the abalone, a shallow water shellfish, that isn't easy to come by. There will also be lots of duck dishes-fyi, the 'harlequin' is a duck in addition to an Italian drama. They are open for lunch and dinner, both of which offer regular or prix fixe options ($28/lunch, $60/dinner). Chef Michael Schibler has put together a nicely rounded menu ranging from $8 starters to the $39 Ellensburg lamb chops.
The atmosphere is intended to be a friendly one that is welcoming whether you are there for dinner or just a drink, some jazz or espresso. It's a large space (remember those lines of tables at Sentosa?), but they've done a nice job dividing it up into smaller cozier alcoves. There's also a semi-private space for up to 28 people in addition to a lounge/bar area up front. They are excited to be in Kirkland and to be active in our community. Interestingly enough, after already having the name for the restaurant, Larry ran across the artwork which they now use for their menus/website from local artist that had a booth at a Kirkland event.
They opened last weekend, so if you get a chance to try it out, please post comments about your experience here. With our major remodel underway, our family is eating soup from a can these days. But maybe since we also won't be going on vacation this year either, we could head to Cafe Harlequin to experience the flavors of France, Greece, Morocco, Italy, Lebanon and Spain all from a comfy seat in Kirkland. ~j