In a perfect world, Holdfast is pretty much perfect.
You walk into a sparsely decorated cocoon that could double as a sound stage but for the L-shaped bar and a few barrels of aging pinot, and you find two eager young chefs wearing gentlemanly leather-strapped aprons. They know your name and show you to your seat. They bring an aperitif and paint the scene of their drive out to the foggy coast to grab the fresh geoduck clams you're about to eat. There are no servers or even dishwashers—two guys do it all. No need to fret the order; three well-coursed hours later, you emerge sated, smarter and perhaps with a couple of new friends.
But, of course, the world is not always so perfect. Let's say you're ill for your ticketed meal.
Take the risk here. Holdfast, which is now operating more like a sexier, newer Beast, with four nights of service. On my visit, every plate had at least one revelation.
A salad of anchovy, peas and pea leaves got a wonderful punch-up from bits of rich, dehydrated olives. Halibut was so plump and delicate it ate like a marshmallow, floating like a cloud on a pretty pink rhubarb butter sauce. Then there was a beautiful beef culotte with a gobsmacking bone-marrow bread pudding atop a few pungent ramps.
If you're anything like me, you walk out a little dazed, having been sucked into the little world that these two guys created.
Pro tip: The very best dish is the only thing that returns. That's a cornbread madeleine that looks like Easter candy and gets a wonderful salty-sweet jab-uppercut from local honeycomb and a little Parmesan cheese.
GO: 537 SE Ash St., Suite 102 (inside Fausse Piste Winery).
7 pm Thursday-Sunday. Tickets at holdfastdining.com. $$$$.