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Sel Restaurant

More than just a great view

Sel Croque Madame, a rich delicacy, will not disappoint. Photo credit: Jackie Fender

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ANNOUNCER: Tucked away in Tacoma's St. Helens' neighborhood, Dutch and Jackie visit Sel Restaurant. An elevated brunch menu paired with one of the best views in town lures those looking for a compelling dining experience from near and far. No kiddies allowed; the establishment is 21 and up.

JACKIE: Sel sets the tone as soon as you cross the threshold. Sparkling chandeliers, a counter lined with apothecary jars, distressed wood and peek-a-boos of moss throughout. There's special attention to detail paid to each nook and cranny. I think the vibe has an aura of whimsy.

DUTCH: I love the atmosphere, and the service is among the best offered in Tacoma. I was however surprised that Sel caters to only the over 21 crowd.  My boys are little foodies themselves and would love a chance at the French offerings here.

JACKIE: The menu has a good balance of sweet and savory dishes to choose from. I almost wonder if the chef is my culinary fairy godmother; gruyere and duck confit both make a regular appearance on this menu. Le sigh. I was feeling indecisive but settled on the Croque Madame. It did not disappoint. Hearty layers of Jambon de Paris, creamy gruyere and béchamel all topped with a sunny side egg equate to a rich delicacy. Sel uses Macrina Bakery Whole Wheat Cider bread to bring it all together, which lays a nice foundation for each bite. Accompanied with a mixed green salad featuring spicy arugula, sliced radish and cherry tomatoes tossed in just the right amount of sherry vinaigrette, there are enough greens to remove the guilt one may have after conquering such a delightful treat.

DUTCH: Other items that occupy a large section of the menu are brioche French toast and several options of Benedicts. I'm a sucker for a good French toast, and when the waitress recommended the banana foster with hazelnuts, I didn't hesitate. I also wasn't disappointed. Three thick slices of brioche are stacked high and smothered in fresh caramelized sugar, bananas, butter and whipped cream, then finished off with toasted hazelnuts. It's sweet, crunchy and filling in all the right ways.  Add an espresso and a seat on the deck to really finish off your morning.

JACKIE: I appreciate a good excuse to ditch the kids and indulge in the eloquent ambiance. Sit on the covered patio, order a French press and take in the view. It's sweater season so the chill in the air is welcome.

DUTCH: I'm headed back soon for the new weekend dinner service. If it is as good as the brunch menu, I may have found a new favorite place.

Sel, closed Monday-Wednesday; 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., Thursday-Sunday; 5:30-9 p.m., Friday-Saturday, 229 St. Helens Ave., Tacoma, 253.327.1015

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