Go Eat! Nothing small about Toulouse Petit

Go Eat! Nothing small about Toulouse Petit
It's called Toulouse Petit, but there's nothing small about the newest restaurant to open on lower Queen Anne.

"It's French Quarter New Orleans cuisine with a little more Northwest twist, adult playground, no limitations cuisine," says chef Eric Donnelly.

That's right. No limitations cuisine -- something you realize immediately when you're handed the extensive, pages-long menu.

"We really want to touch on a lot bases and a lot of genres of cuisine like, charcuterie, French Quarter New Orleans classic dishes, and more sophisticated old school preparations."

Eric spent a better part of a year taste-testing recipes; just as much attention-to-detail went into creating the ambience.

"We kind of wanted this, to put it straight, this dark voodoo, sexy, church-esque kind of deal and I think we've really done a good job of accomplishing that."

Some interesting numbers: The 142-seat restaurant boasts a beautiful hand-crafted floor composed of 90,000 pieces of imported Italian tile and $18,000 worth of glass work.

For years, Eric was the executive chef at the now defunct Oceanaire, but admits this new undertaking is more "him."

"I felt a lot of pressure over there to perform a certain way," Donnelly says. "Here, it's a lot of, 'Well, what do you want to do?' which is very fun."

But it was Oceanaire that helped Eric land his new gig after he got a chance to cook for Toulouse's owner, Brian Hutmacher (who also owns Peso's next door to Toulouse).

"At Oceanaire I was making this duck and turnip gumbo and a mutual friend of ours was going to see Brian and I said, 'Hey, you should send Brian over this gumbo,' and then we started talking after that and it worked out to be perfect."

The Oceanaire also proved to be perfect practice. "Absolutely! We had a big menu there and now we have a bigger menu with more technical preparations here. It definitely paved a good path for what we're doing here."

Now, about the name. Ironic? Or not so much?

"Toulouse is a street in New Orleans and a place where the foie gras duck comes from in France. The name Petit, because we eventually would like to do a much larger scale version potentially in the downtown corridor. But, we need to start here and start small, develop what we have and see what we can and can not do."

Eric and the rest of the Toulouse crew recently celebrated their one-month anniversary.

Places Eric likes to Go Eat!: Cantinetta, Moshi Moshi, Ocho

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Toulouse Petit
601 Queen Anne Avenue North
Seattle, WA 98109-4013
(206) 432-9069