While many restaurateurs develop a food concept before finding a site for a new restaurant, Ted Furst knows better.
The Northwest culinary pioneer, who created food concepts for more than 20 restaurants over his career, looked at the empty space at Carillon Point and thought about what type of restaurant should be there.
“And then two months later I woke up and went, ‘I know what that place wants to be,’” recalled Furst, whose new waterfront restaurant, Le Grand Bistro Américain, brings a distinct French accent to the area. “I think the Eastside is kind of growing up rapidly and becoming more sophisticated, so I wanted to offer something very urban. So that’s part of the idea as well.” Furst says Le Grand Bistro Américain brings him full circle.
At the start of his culinary career, the Florida native worked alongside the likes of local culinary pioneers Peter Lewis and Tom Douglas.
Furst opened the small café, Campagne, with Lewis in 1985. He later became corporate executive chef for Schwartz Brothers Restaurants that opened a Cucina! Cucina! in 1993 at the current site of his new Carillon Point restaurant.
“It’s funny, little memories pop out of the corner here and there,” Furst told the Reporter during a soft-opening event at his restaurant Dec. 16. He pointed to the kitchen. “That pizza oven, we built.”
He added his move to a corporate executive chef was a “big transition. I went from having a 40-seat restaurant to being in charge of this empire.”
In addition to creating food concepts for Cucina! Cucina!, Furst also developed menus or Chandler’s Crabhouse, Daniel’s Broiler, Spazzo Italian Grill and many others.
He spent the next 15 years as a consultant, “helping other people open restaurants, fixing problems and starting concepts, hiring new kitchen crews, designing kitchens,” among other tasks.
Furst says Le Grand is an expression of his culinary roots and offers French-inspired cuisine that is classically prepared and moderately priced.
“On the Eastside, you can get a really great $40 or $50 steak,” he said, noting Le Grand is the first of its kind on the Eastside. “You can get an okay $15 steak and you can’t get a good $25 or $30 steak – so there’s nothing in between.”
Le Grand Bistro Américain’s menu includes a broad selection of appetizers, charcuterie, soups, and salads. A full raw-bar menu features the best local shellfish on the half-shell, as well as yellowfin tuna tartare, cracked Dungeness crab and prawn cocktail.
Selections from the grill include steaks done in both French and American styles: hanger steak with cognac butter ($19); rib steak, bearnaise sauce ($26), pounded sirloin steak, house sauce ($22) and more.
The menu also features a wide selection of entrees with pricing starting at $12.
Kirkland Reporter Editor Carrie Wood can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 425.822.9166 ext 5050.
Le Grand Bistro Américain is located at 2220 Carillon Point. For information, call 425-828-7778 or visit www.bistrolegrand.com/”>www.bistrolegrand.com.