Hanna Raskin says Michael Mina's RN74 has already "established itself as one of the city's top destinations for meals that matter." Yes, wine is clearly the focus; "the dishes at RN74 were designed to match the wine, not the other way around." But if you're not a oenophile, "there are still many pleasures to savor, not least of which is an emphasis on service and presentation that's exceedingly rare in Seattle." The restaurant's un-Seattleness is a bit of a theme here:
Service is so good at RN74 that it's likely to jar Seattleites unaccustomed to being proffered a warm towel after eating a cheeseburger. RN74's showy cuisine is likewise strange by Seattle standards. While the restaurant has pointedly incorporated locally grown products—dinners might start with warm, nutty bread from Macrina Bakery and end with berries from Ballard Market grocery—the kitchen hasn't sworn a blood oath to leave mushrooms and greens the way foragers found them.
Chef Michelle Retallack, who has worked with Mina since she was a culinary school extern, "apparently believes most ingredients can benefit from the poking and prodding that used to be reverently referred to as classical technique, before chefs sought to scoot restaurant tables closer to the farm."
The salads are a surprising centerpiece of the starter menu, and entree-wise, the côte de boeuf is "so gloriously beefy that it deserves to be ranked among the city's best steaks." The kitchen is mighty fond of foie gras, starting with foie gras sliders: "generous slabs of the rich meat are perched upon cider-colored buns, round as bowler hats." And thanks in part to the high-traffic location and frequent happy hours, "the mood in its expansive dining room is considerably more rakish than the restaurant's entrée prices and oenophilic orientation would suggest." [Seattle Weekly]