Art Institute's Portfolio Room

The dining room has the best view in Belltown, from corner windows five stories above Alaskan Way. The best prices, too: salads and appetizers for about $5, main dishes for $7.50, fine wines for $3 a glass, $15 a bottle. And the servers are forbidden to accept gratuities.

It's called the Portfolio Dining Room, the public face of the Art Institute of Seattle's two-year program in culinary arts.

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Chef-instructor David Wynne, a veteran of the Culinary Institute of America and local kitchens like Roy's, Brasa and The Ruins, oversees a group of two dozen 6th-quarter students who rotate between dining room and kitchen stations at lunch and dinner. Wine guru Dieter Shafer keeps an eye on service details.

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I was delighted by the mezze plate of hummus, fromage blanc, tapenade, lentils, peppers and marinated beans, accompanied by freshly baked pita. Dieter brought out a bottle of earthy Erath pinot noir from Oregon that matched the meal perfectly. Then came a fragrant dish of cherrystone clams cooked with sausage and tomatoes.

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Best part of the meal was an exquisitely tender chicken tagine with an apricot-flavored couscous. A perfect Mediterranean lunch.

Chef Wynne gets a new class every 11 weeks; the students approach each station with enthusiasm . Trouble is, the schedule keeps changing! In the best of times, Portfolio is open Wednesday, Thursday and Friday for lunch (11:30 to 1) and dinner (6 to 7:30). But it's lunch only during summer quarter, which lasts from July 19th to September 15th.

Best bet: call 206-239-2363 to be sure of a reservation. You won't be disappointed. Portfolio Restaurant on Urbanspoon

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This page contains a single entry by Cornichon published on June 1, 2005 6:16 PM.

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