Des Moines, Washington is a quaint little beach town with many boutique shops and restaurants. This hidden gem is a town many people don't know about and often drive right past on the freeway without giving a second thought to the amazing beaches, parks and scenery.
One of the restaurants that makes this place unique is also a bit of a hidden gem. Blue Whale Bistro opened in the summer of 2014 and has been serving the customers who stumble upon their tucked away location, delicious food ever since.
The owners originally opened a bakery, Blue Vanilla Bakery in the same location, because of their love of baking. However they did not share that same love of waking up in the early hours before dawn to prepare their goods. They soon came to realize their baking talents would be better suited to catering and redirected the space to a restaurant serving only dinner.
The Bistro is off of the beaten path with little signage. If you are driving down Marine View Drive, keep and eye out for the sign on the side of The Scotch and Vine pointed down the street.
On a sunny Saturday evening Jeff and I stopped in without reservations and were quickly seated. We chose a booth made out of church pews further back in the restaurant to avoid the setting sun glaring in our eyes.
Before our arrival I had scouted out their Facebook page to find a menu. There I discovered photos of their food including a delectable looking appetizer: the baguette crostini, made with melted brie, toasted hazelnuts, drizzle of honey and a pinch of finishing salt.
When we were seated I immediately began scouring the menu to find that dish but noticed it was not there. When the server overhead me talking about it, he mentioned that while it wasn't on that night's menu, he had all of the ingredients so they could make it for me. I was delighted at this extra effort and attention to detail. When it came to our table I was not disappointed and jumped right in only realizing once there was only one left I had forgotten to take a picture.
The menu is divided into small plates made for sharing and plates entree sized. Jeff and I decided to share everything so we could try more of the menu. We ordered asparagus wrapped in prosciutto with soft-boiled egg and parmesan, beet salad with arugula, hazelnuts and horseradish creme and polenta with sausage, tomato sauce and mozzarella.
The salad came out first and was generously portioned with lots of beets (my favorite) and hazelnuts. The horseradish dressing was something I had never tried on a salad and it added quite a kick to the dish.
The asparagus was amazing! Wrapped generously in prosciutto then grilled and covered with a poached egg and cheese, it tasted liked an elegant breakfast fit for royalty. Jeff and I ended up fighting over who got the last bite.
We had been deciding between the meatballs and the polenta and the server explained that the polenta dish was almost like a lasagna and sometimes people thought there was too much cheese. Well, too much cheese is something I do not believe is possible so that convinced me to try this bad boy out.
We were not disappointed with this unique twist on lasagna. The cheese, was cheesy goodness to the max and the tomato sauce and sausage were in perfect flavor alignment. The polenta balanced the dish out perfectly and once again, we licked the plate clean.
Next, dessert. Of course, since there were two of us, we couldn't just split a dish, no we had to try two. Since we had recently been to New Orleans we had to try the bourbon bread pudding and the special dessert of the day was a strawberries and cream cake: vanilla cake, strawberry preserves, vanilla custard and fresh strawberries.
The bread pudding rivaled any we had in NOLA! It was served with raisins and smothered in a brandy sauce that didn't have all of the brandy cooked off, we were in sweet treat heaven. The vanilla cake was a somewhat lighter treat compared to the bread pudding. Multiple layers upon layers filled with vanilla cream sauce and strawberry filling topped with powdered sugar and more strawberries, this dish left us very happy.
After sufficiently stuffing ourselves on these so called small plates (isn't that always the case) we gave our thanks to the proprietor and rolled ourselves out the door. To wrap up our gluttonous evening we strolled down to the marina and walked around the Des Moines Beach and enjoyed the reflection of the moon over the Puget Sound.