The new team at the Oyster Bar (which closed last August and was reopened four months later by Bruce and Kathy Kaad) keeps some elements of the old restaurant and makes some tweaks, providing an experience that is totally indulgent yet refreshingly low-key. Chef Laurel Gunderson's new, slightly less adventurous menu focuses on French traditions and Northwest ingredients. Meaty mains like braised pork cheeks in a rich jus with fingerlings are voluptuous, but it's the seafood that really shines: fat steamed mussels in fennel and garlic and, of course, the namesake mollusk, often regional and excellent naked or with a vanilla-pepper mignonette. Wine buyer Nita Jacura's picks, focusing on our own backyard, pair wonderfully with the plates, and mixologist Derek Palmer crafts fun, fruity cocktails, many with house-infused spirits. A respectable list of after-dinner spirits and dessert wines guarantees a lovely finish.
IDEAL MEAL: Kumamoto oysters, smoked duck and wilted spinach salad, braised pork cheeks, Clear Creek pear brandy.