SEATTLE - Marked with just an awning and a few windows overlooking a bustling Belltown sidewalk, Mistral is easy to miss but hard to forget.
"I want all of my guests to trust me," laughs chef-owner William Belickis, who previously worked at Fuller's and Salish Lodge. "I'm going to make a great meal for you."
Each night, William tailors a specific menu for each customer.
"If you think about it, a party of six men on a business dinner are going to want a very different meal experience from a party of two lovers that are just getting into each other. Their ideas of a perfect dinner are two completely different things."
William compares his staff to a jazz band that's improvising every night.
"We look at all the ingredients that we have and we look outside to see how the weather is and we look at the reservation book to see, you know, what kinds of groups of people are coming and then we start to make our plan based on that."
Those ingredients are whatever seasonal produce William feels like picking up at the market that day.
"We're using apples and quince and tropical fruits which are delicious this time of year. But then we're also trying to use mushrooms and truffles and squashes and parsnips, things like that."
William's passion for cooking was cultivated by large family dinners every Sunday at his grandmother's house when he was a young boy.
"What I saw was her love of her family and her love for all of us eating together and that really had an effect on me," he said.
Just like a leisurely family meal, a typical multi-course dinner at Mistral can last for hours.
"I basically cook at the pace that my guests eat at. I don't like to rush you. Once we book the table it's pretty much yours for the evening."
Sure, a night at Mistral isn't cheap, but that doesn't mean it should be saved for a special occasion.
"I think every day should be a special occasion. I don't think there should be a moment where you could say, 'Okay. I want to have a great meal because it's my birthday.' Well, why not have a great meal because it's Thursday?"
Places William likes to Go Eat!: Marjorie, Tavolata, Sorrentino, Saito's.
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