Rare is the restaurant that operates in a residential neighborhood but dazzles like a citizen of the world—which for the last five years A La Bonne Franquette, from its perch on Mount Baker Ridge, has done. Gloriously.
Now comes word that its owners, Hamed Elnazir and Pascale Brochier, are moving on.
“It is with mixed emotions that Chef Hamed and I have decided it is time to go home,” wrote Brochier to customers yesterday. “Frankly, we are not even sure where home is, but we trust the universe will clue us in, in due course.”
This pains me for reasons far exceeding ALBF’s position as one of our recently named Top 100 Restaurants in Seattle. It pains me because here was that rare restaurant that brought care and detail and really fine French cooking to every customer, night after night for five years, without corporate money or glossy quarters or a PR machine or even much of a kitchen. New owner Toshi Kawai from Osaka, Japan is indeed considering a kitchen overhaul before reopening as a Japanese-inspired French restaurant after the new year.
No, what A La Bonne Franquette brought to Mount Baker Ridge was integrity, pure and simple, and Brochier and Elnazir wanted to leave before it became hard to maintain their high standard. Not to mention before the restaurant business exhausted them prematurely. “We don’t want to work more than six to nine months a year,” Brochier said, adding that another restaurant is probably not in the cards.
Guest house? Maybe… maybe even one in the San Juan Islands. Watch this space. But first enjoy a final dinner from Chef Hamed, whose last day of service will be Saturday, November 5. The next day, November 6, the departing owners will host an open house to introduce their successor over amuses bouches and bubbly, between 3pm and 5pm. Till then, wine bottles will be 20 percent off.
Wistfulness, on the house.