A big helping of joie de vivre came to downtown Seattle with Loulay Kitchen & Bar, the updated French spot from “Chef in the Hat” Thierry Rautureau. The Top Chef Masters star, who specialized in rather more formal dining at his restaurant, Rover’s, for 26 years, now appeals to every level of craving, from burgers at the bar (Loulay’s juicy standout is made with prime rib and shoulder and topped with bacon shallot jam) to romantic dinners (braised rabbit, a rib-eye steak) in high-backed, Hollywood-style booths. There’s even a second-story catbird seat designed for single diners. The restaurant, inspired by Rautureau’s childhood meals in the Muscadet region of France, possesses a comfortable, approachable sort of glamour, with 20-foot ceilings, a 12-foot-high mirror gilded with whimsical decorations, and acoustics that actually allow for conversation. The homeyness comes from more than the chef’s memories; the huckleberry vinegar on the house salad was brewed in Rautureau’s own cellar.
600 Union St..