Within a night's meal, dishes at June can go from show-stoppingly good, to respectably gourmet, to maddening.

When an unassuming scoop of Gouda ice cream melted into a hot, crisp apple tarte Tatin ($8), it created a third richness so powerful, so pleasurable, that it derailed me from the present. It carved a high into my brain that I need again but know I'm unlikely to find for years. I looked for it elsewhere on the pastry menu, in a phyllo-sealed almond and semolina pie with white chocolate sherbet and wine-poached pears ($8), but that was just quite good, not magical. A chocolate lemon bar with a piece of hard meringue sitting on top ($8) was... odd.

That first dessert experience was so illuminating that I had to open with it. I'll begin again, from the top.

Perrault rapidly develops dishes based on fresh, local fish. A generous filet of Humptulips River steelhead, baked in a shallow bowl of turnips, fried garlic, walnuts, and a lemony broth ($20), was worthy of slow, reverent savoring. The fishiness of lightly pickled Quinault River steelhead with crème fraîche and roe ($15) was cleverly cut with citrusy, peppery nettles. Bucatini with cured walleye roe and chili flakes ($10), on the other hand, was so shockingly salty that it burned.

Of the red meats, the Carman Ranch beef belly stuffed apple ($14) is a house masterpiece. A baked apple is peeled and hollowed like a pumpkin, then filled with a creamy, mustard-thickened blanquette of cubed beef belly and blue hominy. A presentation like this is hard to pull off, but it eats well, and the strong, pungent flavor of blue hominy—similar to fermented Japanese natto beans—is a challenging but rewarding accent.

And what did I mean earlier, when I said dishes could be maddening? I meant the burger ($13). Burgers go on buns, not sliced bread—unless they're a patty melt, which this isn't. The twice-cooked beef-fat french fries are world class, but this potential home run was a self-destructing bunt into the dugout.

Service at June is friendly, professional, and versed in the smallest details of the menu. The wide, bright, chest-high kitchen pass looks out across the intimate and romantic dining room, which is bathed in a low, amber-tinged glow. The noise level is easily conversational even when full.

You can see why I'm torn. It's a beautiful restaurant whose food can achieve unforgettable moments of perfection. The gambles that get us there can't always work, but some of them leave the kitchen anyway


Restaurant Details

Next to the artisan coffee roster Barista you can now find a nice artisan dinner at a nice little place called June. June has some seasoned and talented people behind it, promising you an inspired meal in an inspired setting.

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