Nestled at the east end of Dayton, WA, about a half mile from the heart of their downtown, is one of the best kept secrets for the last 25 years. Those many cars who daily drive by Patit Creek Restaurant on the highway may not realize that the cozy, yet colorful cottage is the home of one of the only 4-Star French restaurant east of the Cascades as noted by traveler's guide, Northwest Best Places.
Owners, Bruce and Heather Hiebert certainly have a recipe for success. The main ingredients are unpretentious atmosphere, excellent service (because both owners are always there) and the freshest and finest cuisine. People drive for hours to dine there. No mixes, pre-breaded food, or margarine will be found in their kitchen. Sauces, soups and salads dressing are from scratch including one of my favorites -Danish Blue dressing. The Hieberts purchase produce from local growers and grow a lot of their own vegetables, herbs and flowers. The flowers from their garden not only adorn the table but garnish the plates - - all edible.
I personally like the decor. Kind of funky, very cozy and very comfortable. About 10 tables. Maybe seating for 30? Heather has a wonderful collection of black-and-white photos of classic actors and actresses from the 1930-40's on the walls. I have seen people dining at the restaurant in their celebratory best or in their hunter's plaid. But most important. Let's get to their menu.
Let's start with a few examples of the appetizers - chevre cheese-stuffed dates or smoked salmon cheesecake has been my personal favorites and often been served crackers hand made by Heather. Escargot is offered and while I avoid snails, I have dined with several friends who have raved about them. The entree menu includes such dishes as filet mignon poivre verte with green peppercorns, cognac, and cream; and sautéed duck breast with red wine, currant, and port demi-glace, lamb chops, saffron-curried mussels, glazed elk-medallions, and shrimp scampi.
My favorite is the medallions of beef ala Hiebert. It's topped with a rich mushroom demiglace. The meat cuts like butter. It pairs so perfect with a local Cabernet Franc. That's another thing - their extensive wine list that supports the local wine industry. Wines from the Walla Walla Valley showcase the list.
It doesn't matter how full I am at the end of my entree, I am going to find a spot for dessert - - all made from scratch personally by Heather. From fruit pastries to chocolate tortes. Presentation always lovely.
I have had the wonderful fortune to dine at the Hiebert home a couple of times because of a good friend we have in common. Yes, the food was even more amazing and their beautiful gardens and home (behind the restaurant) is an extention of what the public sees while dining at their restaurant. After a couple of invites from the Hieberts to their home, of course I wanted to invite them to my home for dinner. However, I felt a bit intimidated. I mean, cook for these two people who have mastered the art of fine cuisine and entertaining? Especially Bruce who many people have acclaimed his skills in cooking meat and being one of the best in the NW. Let me just say that Bruce had several helpings of my Cuban ropa vieja and commented how good it was to have someone else cook for him. That's my claim to fame with my culinary skills.
Now that I have told you all about the wonderful merits of Patit Creek Restaurant. I send you best wishes in getting a reservations. Call ahead of time. Call (509) 382-2625. 725 E. Dayton Ave, in Dayton. Patit Creek is open for lunch and dinner Wednesday through Friday, dinner only on Saturday. No last minute phone calls. Again - call ahead of time and it will be worth the wait.
Thank you for the news about Bruce's wonderful restaurant! I was a boyhood friend of his in College Place, and it's great to hear of his success! All the best to you, Bruce!
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