The sensational views from Ascend Prime Steak & Sushi, a grand penthouse restaurant on the 31st floor of Bellevue’s Lincoln South Tower, merge the beauty that is quintessentially the Pacific Northwest. To the east, the lush green forest and the Cascade Range; to the south, Mount Rainer towers amid the clouds; and to the west, the Seattle skyline provides a foreground for the Olympic Mountains. Ascend Prime showcases nature and regional growth at the same time.
The contemporary architecture and interior design, provided by DezMotif Studios, brings these elements together. Wood is a central theme to both the design and the menu. The impressive quartz wall behind the sushi bar resembles the rings of a tree and the showpiece of the kitchen is the spectacular, gold-tiled exhibition grill, where fruit woods are used to cook the fish, game (alder, pear, apricot) and the beef (white oak, applewood). Enormous cast replicas of those same native wood root structures are suspended from the high ceiling in the west-facing dining room.
The refined presentation and use of Asian ingredients lend a modern update to the classic surf and turf. The 6 choices of hand-selected premium beef highlight domestic prime and imported Wagyu. Offerings include prime American steaks from Meyer natural Angus beef in Colorado. The steaks (New York strip, bone-in ribeye, filet mignon) are wet-aged 28 days. The 45-day, dry-aged beef comes as a New York strip, Porterhouse and “Seahawk” Chop. Both the Porterhouse and the “Seahawk” chop are carved table-side. Seattle’s Sugar Mountain “Mishima Reserve” luxury Wagyu can be enjoyed as an 8 oz. filet mignon, ‘cap’ of ribeye and ‘eye’ of ribeye. Imported Wagyu includes the Tajima Cross Breed Wagyu from Australia (filet mignon and outside skirt steak), Kuroge Breed A5 Wagyu from Japan (New York Strip, filet mignon) and Miyazaki Prefecture A5 Wagyu will be served based on availability (New York Strip, filet mignon). The Wagyu is priced per ounce with a 3-oz. minimum.
Ascend Prime blends the experience of American steakhouse and Japanese sushi bar. Culinary Director Chef Kevin Hee says: “We created the menu by finding the best products we could, then weaving Japanese simplicity and ingredients into the steakhouse menu, as well as imparting big American flavors into the sushi bar. While we do have an Asian-inspired style, we are not a Japanese restaurant; we are definitely more contemporary. “
Enhancements may be added to any of the a la carte steaks: roasted bone marrow, king crab legs or seared foie gras. A selection of sauces range from a traditional Bernaise to a shiro dashi Bordelaise sauce or a simple drawn butter.
Sushi aficionados will be in good hands with the deft touch of Yuki Ieto, a Forbes list of “30 Under 30” winner, who brings his skills to Ascend from Pubbelly in Miami and Sushi Samba in Las Vegas. He is joined by James Saito, who has worked in top Seattle sushi restaurants including Sushi Kashiba and Tamura Sushi Kappo. Together, their focus will be on contemporary rolls with bold flavors like the Spicy Tuna & Prosciutto – bubu arare, avocado, tomato relish and bottarga. Contemporary sashimi will be brushed with sesame, flash seared with truffle shoyu butter, chive, garlic chip. Sashimi and nigiri traditionalists will relish in having any of the 22 varieties of local and international fish and seafood garnished with wasabi, shoyu and pickled ginger.
For a sweet finish, pastry chef Marta Eimer completes the Ascend dining adventure with desserts that are both artful and whimsical. The Magic Mushroom (serves 2 to 4 guests), depicts an edible forest scene that is an impressive visual and technical display. The Halo features tropical flavors of passion fruit caramel, mango and coconut ice cream under a vanilla cookie tuille.
The wine list is directed by Brandon Rastok, who holds his Advanced Sommelier Certification from the Court of Master Sommeliers, USA. Ascend Prime will have a broad selection of wine varietals, but with a definite focus on Washington, Oregon and California. Brandon crafted the Ascend Prime list with the idea of providing the best possible value (price, quality and flavor) on wines that other restaurants would not, or could not offer.
From the lounge, bar manager Fred Cruz deploys his capable mixology background to recreate cocktails using scratch-made ingredients and inventive techniques. With access to a working test kitchen, Fred is making shrubs and mixers including their own blend of tonic and deploying savory spices that connect the flavors from the kitchen into the bar.