Lauren Garaventa may be modest, but we are proud to boast about her work, and we’re extra happy that Seattle Weekly is shining some light on the delicious results of good meat practices at Sea Breeze/La Boucherie.
Along with sharing a mouthwatering food porn slideshow of La Boucherie, the article reinforces the often overlooked idea that when you do everything right, you can just “let [the] extraordinary pork squeal for itself.”
We also whole-heartedly concur with the article’s summation: “‘It’s a good time to eat pork,’ Garaventa says. And although she’s too polite to say so, La Boucherie is a very good place in which to eat it.”
La Boucherie’s Fine Swine
Farm to table on Vashon, minus the shameless self-promotion.
Somewhere there must be a chef and farmer who’ve agreed to keep their working relationship relatively discreet, but the vast majority of liaisons in the locavore era are kiss-and-tell affairs. Once a restaurant hooks up with a grower, his or her name is splashed on every available surface: In the grand tradition of tree-trunk carvings and bathroom graffiti, the farm/fork romance is enshrined in press releases, appended to menus, scribbled on websites, and emblazoned on walls. And lest any customer dare question the depth of the restaurant’s affections, servers are primed to spill all the juicy details—”Would you like to hear about the time our sous-chef helped the farmer dismember her chickens?”
There’s none of that showboating at La Boucherie, however. The rare restaurant which actually would be entitled to brag on its sourcing, La Boucherie is the in-town extension of Vashon Island‘s Sea Breeze Farm, where Travel Channelpersonality Andrew Zimmern last year snacked on bovine placenta and slurped cow colostrum. Among Seattle eaters, Sea Breeze is probably better known for its meat, milk, and cheese, which it sells at the U District and Ballard farmers markets. Those items form the core of the menu at La Boucherie, but the only signal to diners that all the meat is homegrown is a butcher case in the restaurant’s front room and a sketch of a curly-tailed hog on its bookmark-sized menu. Otherwise, owners George andKristin Page are content to let their extraordinary pork squeal for itself.
“We can only make it so clear,” Sea Breeze butcher Lauren Garaventa says. “If you push certain things, it can be a little bit alienating, and we definitely don’t want to do that.”
Since the restaurant’s mission isn’t promiscuously advertised, diners are sometimes slow to intuit that every animal on the menu shares an alma mater. “A lot of people ask for fish,” Garaventa says. Their confusion is compounded by the restaurant’s distance from Sea Breeze: When the Pages four years ago wanted an additional outlet for their products, they opened La Boucherie in a former fish market that got its start as a malt shop. They toyed with the idea of building a restaurant on their farm, four miles north, but, as Garaventa points out, a chicken, cow, sheep, and pig farm is a considerably less pleasant place than one which specializes in miner’s lettuce and lavender. “It’s a muddy, dirty situation,” she says.
With a span of worn-down asphalt outside the restaurant and an unfashionable amount of modesty within it, the trustiest way of knowing that 95 percent of La Boucherie’s ingredients originate on Vashon is to eat there, which you really ought to do just as soon as you can get a reservation. Garaventa and chef Dustin Calery, who grew up on a Kentucky farm, are masterfully translating the island’s bounty into dishes that rival any served in Seattle for visceral deliciousness.
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