Need another reason - besides wine tasting - to visit Woodinville?
How about the Barking Frog at Willows Lodge?
"We're 10 minutes from Bellevue but it seems like it's a long way," says chef Bobby Moore.
The Barking Frog is named after those happy frogs in the nearby Sammamish River that croak (or bark) when they're content:
"The whole idea behind the Barking Frog in the beginning was for it to be kind of a hamburger kind of a place," Moore said. "Because The Herbfarm was supposed to be the fine-dining culinary center of the Willows Lodge."
But when Bobby Moore joined the Barking Frog team in 2001 he helped fine-tune the menu to fine-dining.
"I think that with the help of the Food Network, the mentality of the average diner these days has changed; people are more educated, they know what they want, so they're a little more adventurous. I remember putting sweetbreads and foie gras on the menu at the Barking Frog in the beginning days--it didn't sell."
Bobby grew up in both Texas and Hawaii; the culinary influences on his menu are obvious:
"You can see grilled Ahi with braised short ribs with a soy-miso emulsion with crispy wontons and daikon radish sprouts. You can see some influences of Hawaii kind of combined with barbecuing or smoking meats."
He got a taste of the Seattle culinary scene in 1993 when he accepted a job at Fuller's restaurant.
"I was there during the heyday when Monique Barbeau and Danielle Custer were there and then eventually William Belickis and Tom Black and all these different chefs who came through there."
But it wasn't until two years later that he decided he wanted to be a chef:
"At that point I was doing food expediting and so it was my job to notice smudges on the plates or a garnish that wasn't added. Danielle told me I had a really good eye for detail and that I should pursue going to culinary school. I made my mind up to go to Seattle Culinary Academy and the rest is history."
So, what are you waiting for?
"Come say 'hi' to us."
Places chef Bobby likes to Go Eat!: Samurai Noodle, Kauai Family Restaurant, Joule.
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