Red Cow: Ethan Stowell Brings the Bistro to Madrona

Ethan Stowell Brings the Bistro to Madrona

Red Cow's signature steak frites

Move over, Italian. Ethan Stowell is taking on the French.

The Seattle chef's newest restaurant, Red Cow, brings bistro classics to Rain City.  Helmed by chef Thom Koschwanez, Red Cow smacks of Paris, from the bonhomie to the fabulous fare. 

Nestled on Madrona’s main drag, Red Cow reflects the neighborhood’s rep for high-quality, convivial eateries (see Bottlehouse, Hi-Spot Café).  Inside, the modern, minimalist space–grey concrete floors, white walls-- doesn’t fuss with the food, while the back bar area gives patrons a glimpse into the open kitchen.

As the name suggests, Red Cow is steak frites central. Choose from six cuts, ranging from a hanger to the Flinstonian bone-in-ribeye (aka côte du boeuf in France.)  Cooked to temp, each marvelous meat arrives simply adorned with thick, sea salt and a choice of sublime sauces. Try the tarragon-spiked Bearnaise and red-wine reduction, both delicious for dunking the perfectly, crisp frites.

The rest of the menu is as French as a black beret. Delicious pâtés and rillettes are made in house as well as the pickled veggies and mustards that accompany them. A frisée salad comes with luscious lardons chunks and a perfectly poached egg.  Mirroring Paris’s current burger craze, Red Cow offers a finger-dripping good burger, topped with Beecher’s cheese, bacon, roast tomato and France’s favorite condiment, aioli.

While Parisians have a bad rap for being rude, Red Cow’s customer service is anything but. Our amiable waiter, and the general manager, Cameron, is a wealth of wine knowledge, selecting an earthy, Languedoc red from Mas de Chimères for dinner and a Pineau des Charentes, my preferred French digestif of cognac and wine, for dessert.

Having just returned from a week in the City Of Lights, I can vouch for Red Cow’s authenticity firsthand. No need to cross the Atlantic. Get your French fix at Red Cow.

Side dish: For a bistro history lesson, check out The Daily Meal's editor, Colman Andrews', article here