We have been looking for a place like the Alder Wood Bistro for years. The Sequim area has not been known for its dining options, even though the surrounding farm country produces pork, lamb, and all kinds of wonderful vegetables. Then, a young couple opened a new restaurant, and things changed. They obviously love good food, know what they are doing in the kitchen, and know how to run a hospitable dining establishment.
They search the local farms for lamb and pork. They have lavender sausages made from Berkshire pork and Sequim's famous lavender. They make a magnificent moussaka; the lamb was distinctive and the cinnamon and eggplant in perfect balance. The steak frites was the hearty dish it is supposed to be, with French fries straight from the deep fryer.
The Northwest still has a viable fishery, and a lot of fish are landed locally, so the fish at Alder Wood are fresh off the boat and delightfully prepared. The rich oiliness of the white king salmon was set off by a nectarine and blueberry salsa, both local fruits. The black cod was paired with red and gold Dungeness beets. The Sequim area produces excellent beets and carrots, sweet and full of flavor. The side vegetables were all local - fingerling potatoes, caulflower, and broccoli, as were the mixed greens in the salads.
We should also mention that Alder Wood has a wood fired oven. They start every meal with some of their focaccia and a hummus dip. They also serve pizzas with thin crusts, crisp and chewy, and the toppings are based on local ingredients such as chanterelle, arugula, basil pesto, and cherry tomatoes. You can just come for the pizza, but you'll be missing the main show at the Bistro.
We could go on and on about the food. You can taste the love and care, and the skill and sense of place. The dining room is a cheerful, cozy space, and there is a pretty garden out back for outdoor dining in the warmer months. The service is warm and professional. Coming in feels like homecoming. It's high time that the North Olympic Peninsula had a restaurant this good.