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Willows Inn

Tomorrow’s NYT travel section will have an article by Gisela Williams on 10 Restaurants Worth a Plane Ride. It turns out that for one of them, we can simply drive. And take a ferry. It’s the restaurant at The Willows Inn on Lummi Island, the final entry on the list. Here’s the description:

Willows Inn, on the tiny San Juan island of Lummi, is about two hours from Seattle by car and ferry. Yet it is about to become a destination restaurant, thanks to its new chef, Blaine Wetzel. The 24-year-old, formerly the protégé of Rene Redzepi at Noma, the Copenhagen restaurant that was ranked the “best restaurant in the world” for 2010 by S. Pellegrino, took over the kitchen at Willows last year. The restaurant itself reopens in February; expect a menu with an obsessive focus on local ingredients, in the style of Noma. Since he was hired, Mr. Wetzel has been working with a farmer and an urchin diver who work solely for him.

We’ve never been to Lummi Island. We’ll have to change that. Then again, I’m not really that eager to eat urchins. And I am having trouble with this thought exercise: “Imagine a European auberge planted amid the stunning marine views of the San Juan Islands, and you begin to experience the peace, tranquility and sustainability the Willows Inn offers.” But we better get up there before Mr. Wetzel moves on.

Here’s a sample prix fixe menu from last September , listed at the website:

beet salad with
red rhubarb and coriander

grass fed Lummi Island beef tartar with
parsley, tarragon and fall spices

Lummi Island wild spot prawns with
leeks, mussels, and toasted bread

reefnet caught Fraser River coho salmon
with Nettles Farm mustard greens and fresh potatoes

white peaches with
wild Lummi Island blackberry sorbet and buttermilk

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