Corks+Forks: Louie Salad and Washington Sauvignon Blanc

Lunch in high fashion at the Georgian, paired with lip-smacking sauvignon blanc.

Fancy is often embellished as a synonym for expensive. Although this is certainly the case in many circumstances, fancy isn’t too shabbily priced out for food and drink at the glamorous Fairmont Olympic Hotel downtown. While residing within the delicately papered walls lit by intricately assembled chandeliers might come at a steeper sum, indulging in your epicurean passions does not.

What is typically more exorbitant than not is crab. Growing up with a family cabin nestled above the Hood Canal, I have been spoiled with the riches of the water since I was a kid. Now that I’m (somewhat) grown up and have to purchase said seafood splendors, price is more than I want to give up. Searching for value associated with quality seafood takes some digging but thankfully for us Seattleites, our location is prime.

The location of the Fairmont Olympic Hotel also has its history here in the Pacific Northwest. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, hotel has been a landmark in Seattle since opening in 1924. The Italian renaissance architecture flows throughout the entire building and its 450 rooms. Fully-equipped with two restaurants with divergent themes, in-room dining and a Mad Men-esque martini bar tucked next to the stunning Garden room, any location is an ideal one to dine.

The Restaurant: The Georgian — With 20 years in the belt as a AAA 4 Diamond restaurant, the French-inspired Northwest cuisine is prepared by Executive Chef Gavin Stephenson and served within the sweeping landscape of the room’s ceiling-to-floor windows and English tea atmosphere. Napkins are dropped by the server in your lap, your water glass is never only half full and you could take a post-meal nap in your cozy booth. Although the furniture might resemble your grandmother’s prized furnishing you weren’t allowed to ruffle as a child, the staff is gracious, comforting and happy to see you.

The Dish: Lusciously Louie Salad ($13 appetizer, $16 entree) — Crowned king of the salads with its name in an odd tribute to King Louis XIV, the crab Louie itself is said to have been created by Louis Davenport, the entrepreneur and founder of Spokane’s Davenport Hotel. Story has it Davenport spent his early hotel years in San Francisco and had crab from Seattle shipped down to offer in his restaurant. From one hotel to another, the Georgian’s louie is quite luscious with generous helpings of crab with shredded iceberg lettuce, slivered bell peppers and eggs with diced onions and the sumptuously binding Louie dressing.

The Variety: Sauvignon Blanc — One of the two noble white grape varieties of Bordeaux (other is Sémillon), this varietal is naturally a green skinned grape and loosely translates to “wild white” in reference to its indigenous growth in Southwest France. As a wine, Sauvignon Blanc is dry, crisp and fresh, with varying levels of elegance to do its region and the soils. New Zealand grows the popular “fresh-cut grass” style while Loire Valley Sauvignon Blanc is typically mineral-influenced and graceful.

Why It Works: A dish as rich and heavy as crab and its dressing needs a beverage with ample acidity to cut up the opulence, fruit to complement its sweetness and a rounding finish to satisfy the cold edge of salad. Washington Sauvignon Blanc (which also sometimes appears at Fume Blanc in this state) range from tart and herbaceous to tropical fruit-filled and lively.

The Recommended Match: Matthews Cellars 2010 Sauvignon Blanc, Columbia Valley ($20) — Like the above mentioned Loire Valley Sauvignon Blanc, this Woodinville producer strives to match the polished and poised style of Sancerre. Blended with 6% Sémillon for some fattening, this vintage was heftier for acidity which weighs in Sauvignon Blanc’s favor.

Matthews Cellars SB has always been a stand out with its wet stone minerality, lime peel and grapefruit aromas, backed by flavors of green apple and melon. The traces of savory herbs and crisp citrus scream for a rich, round counterpart like crab.

The Georgian at Fairmont Olympic Hotel | 411 University St, Seattle | (206) 621-7889