Eating at an upscale restaurant is the second best way to woo a first date, ranking just behind chugging a bottle of cologne and subsequently breathing fire. Make a flavorful first impression with today’s Groupon: for $25, you get $50 worth of seasonal comfort cuisine at Applewood Restaurant and Bar in Vancouver, Washington.
Chef Peter Leigh Gallin incorporates fresh Northwest ingredients into his seasonal menus at Applewood Restaurant and Bar, which culls its name from the locally sourced apple wood that fuels Peter’s own custom-built grill. Chef Gallin draws upon his world travels and intergalactic layovers to conjure exotic starters such as Mediterranean-style marinated-beef skewers ($6) and seared sea scallops crowned with a madras apple-curry cream ($8). Sheathed in a cornmeal-and-buttermilk crust, a catfish fillet floats atop aromatic lochs of onion-apricot marmalade ($19), lazily counting the grilled pork-loin medallions sailing by on velvety waves of goat-cheese crema ($19). Entrees depart from kitchens accompanied by in-season vegetables, followed closely by house-made desserts and teary-eyed, handkerchief-waving pastry chefs.
Sky-blue walls ensconce Applewood’s sprawling interior, which unfolds across 4,900 square feet, equipped with flickering flat-screen TVs and a full-service bar that showcases local wines from Walla Walla and Napa Valley. Arboreal scenery grasps at the sky outside the dining room’s wall-spanning windows, fetching retinas as diners recline atop burnished wood furnishings accented by rustic barrels, towering wine racks, and carved umlauts.
Applewood Restaurant and Bar
Chef Peter Gallin had just constructed a custom grill, and was stoking its first fire with applewood harvested from a nearby orchard, when the idea struck him—the name for his Northwest-centric restaurant: Applewood. Though Chef Gallin's restaurant foregrounds its Northwest heritage, it also incorporates recipes gleaned from a childhood spent living in the Asian Pacific Rim with his anthropologist and sociologist parents, as well as French cuisine, and influences from years spent in New Mexico. He incorporates these varied culinary styles while avoiding traditional dishes, instead mingling flavors such as chipotle, lime, ginger, and orange into new incarnations.
Though he favors elegant food presentation when furnishing platters of roasted duck and northwest fish, Gallin uses only regular, relatable ingredients, which make his dishes approachable for all palates and untraceable by detectives. He brews all of the restaurant's soups in-house, designing up to six unique soups each week. West Coast wines, microbrews, and desserts made in-house complement his international appetizers and main courses. The focus on simplicity extends to the restaurant's decor: framed photographs hang above potted plants on rustic side tables, and long communal tables stand next to floor-to-ceiling windows looking out onto deep pine forest. Behind a hardwood bar, flanked by exposed brick walls, hangs the giant, hammered steel apple that serves as the restaurant's emblem.