Seattle’s restaurant scene is deliciously competitive. With a growing demand for good food, restaurateurs are showing up with innovative dishes, concepts and service. Voids are filling, and the city is attracting restaurant newcomers. No complaints over here about the increasing bounty of diverse restaurant digs. Here are several around town receiving well-deserved buzz. — Dakota Mackey
Several respected restaurants have cropped up in Beacon Hill, ranging from Indian Thali’s to Neapolitan-style pizza.
Bamboo Sushi will join other Portland-born chains like Salt & Straw and continue Northwest expansion to Seattle. Slated to open mid-summer in Capitol Hill, the chic and modern restaurant is known for its dedication to sustainability. How will they stand out amongst Seattle’s vast array of sushi joints?
“What we do is different — we’re not traditional Japanese, but we’re not overly Americanized either,” said creative director Cory Schisler. “Bamboo Sushi has found a niche for itself with a menu full of variety, an approachable price point and the strongest dedication to sustainability of any sushi restaurant in the world.”
The mission-driven brand values creativity, playfulness and quality. Instead of simply using “sustainable” as a catchphrase, the restaurant group embodies their mission of “Sustainably caught, naturally grown, humanely raised, no compromises.” In 2008, Bamboo Sushi became the first certified sustainable sushi restaurant in the world. Aside from supporting fisheries with similar values, the group builds their restaurant spaces with 100 percent renewable energy sources for power.
As with the Bamboo Sushi’s other locations, customers will continue to have the choice between an omakase (chef ’s choice) or a customized experience with rolls, sashimi and Japanese small plates. Bamboo’s rolls are perhaps where its playfulness is most evident. “The Local,” a familiar and popular roll on the menu, is made with albacore, red jalapeno and cucumber, then topped with East Coast red crab, tossed with spicy sesame aioli and sprinkled with black tobiko. A departure from what’s typical on a sushi menu, the “Kimono Roll” features house crab and cucumber, topped with wild Alaskan coho salmon, pickled apple, fried sage and lime zest.
Capitol Hill | Opening Summer 2018
HERITAGE RESTAURANT AND BAR
The recently opened Heritage Restaurant and Bar serves as both an authentic Northwest pairing to the bounty of Woodinville’s wine scene, as well as a go-to spot for locals to be regulars. As a resident of Woodinville herself, chef and owner Breanna Beike is determined to serve exceptional food in a space of unpretentious flair. From staples like the Heritage burger with bibb lettuce on brioche to inventive specialties like Beike’s Dungeness crab doughnuts, there is something for everyone.
Though Beike grew up in the Midwest, she fully embraced the Pacific Northwest’s seafood, which is displayed in her menu with dishes like maple mustard glazed and roasted salmon with roasted garlic, blistered tomatoes and citrus butter. After working as the executive chef at the Seattle Yacht Club for four years, Beike decided to open her own spot.
Heritage Restaurant and Bar is a harmonious marriage of both the town itself and Beike’s personality. A prominent fixture of the restaurant’s interior is an iron wall, custom-built to hold decorative bottles as an homage to her father, a welder.
A fan of sparkling wine in any form, Beike has a rotating daily special of bubbles at the bar and a bell printed with “Press for champagne.”
Seafood aside, the restaurant is remarkably vegetarian-friendly with complex vegetable dishes that will appeal to meat eaters and vegetarians alike. The house risotto is made with farro and flecked with charred onions, sun-dried cherry ribbons, walnuts, chard and mascarpone cheese. Many of these dishes will contain house pickled or fermented foods, which Beike makes in her crock collection. With over 100 crocks, customers will surely see them scattered about the restaurant.
Whether it’s a post-vineyard dinner or casual weekday coffee meeting, Heritage Restaurant and Bar is a solid choice.
Woodinville | Open
Whether you’re familiar or not with Tamari Bar’s sister restaurant, Suika, the freshly opened Japanese eatery is a fun destination for happy hour or dinner. The sleek and friendly spot perched on the corner of Summit and Pine serves izakaya style dishes, meant for sharing.
The creative menu features many familiar items like Wagyu beef, swimming in rich gravy-like curry, along with more playful dishes like fried brussels sprouts with house aioli and cocoa “tsuchi” crumbles.
What’s obvious from a quick glance at nearby tables, the most popular dish is slices of Wagyu beef, sliced thinly in a preparation known as “zabuton,” named for its resemblance to the flat Japanese sitting cushions. The beef is soaked in barbeque marinade and served raw at the table, alongside an impressively hot stone. Diners cook the beef to their preference at the table by draping it over the stone and letting it sizzle.
The most stunning dish, though, is the sashimi sampler, sporting seven varieties of raw seafood, thoughtfully laid on each stair of a spiral wooden staircase. Both aesthetically brilliant and fresh, this is a staple on the abundant menu.
Similarly to Suika, the service is exceptionally friendly and attentive, but one thing Tamari Bar has over its counterpart across the street is a patio. What will inevitably be a go-to spot for drinking in the sun this summer, Tamari Bar has the Japanese pub food to go with it. Every sparkling yuzu cocktail needs its fried counterpart, right? Panko fried salmon croquettes imbued with truffle — hello!
Capitol Hill | Open
Chef Logan Cox, formerly chef de cuisine at Sitka and Spruce, will open his own restaurant this summer in Seattle’s Beacon Hill neighborhood. Now officially named Homer, the restaurant will be a continuation of Cox’s preference for Mediterranean and Middle Eastern cookery.
Several other respected restaurants have cropped up in Beacon Hill, ranging from Indian Thali’s to Neapolitan-style pizza. Homer’s menu will showcase Cox’s prowess for wood-fired vegetables, proteins and pita to be paired with homemade yogurt, fresh herbs and chili oil.
Though Cox seasoned his skills at Matt Dillon’s Melrose Market restaurant, he is opting for a confidently casual feel with dishes at a price that’s not prohibitive. As a resident of the neighborhood, with his wife Sara and dog (aptly named Homer), the chef is prioritizing affordability without sacrificing quality.
Cementing Cox’s concept as genuinely neighborhood- and family-friendly, a soft-serve machine will crank out seasonal flavors to be purchased at a walk-up window just in time for summer.
Beacon Hill | Opening Summer 2018
Seattle has had a recent influx of new Japanese restaurants cropping up, and Gyu-Kaku is on the list. An international chain, this is Washington’s first location. Gyu-Kaku, meaning “horn of the bull” in Japanese, opened earlier this year. Yakiniku, Japan’s version of Korean barbecue, is a fully interactive and social dining experience. Customers sit around big tables with a grill in the center, surrounded by plates of premium raw meats.
With upwards of 35 grillable items and eight unique marinades varying in sweetness, tang and spice, the name of the game is shareable.
A favorite is harami miso skirt steak made from 21-day dry-aged Angus beef to produce a tender and savory bite, which the diner will grill to preferred doneness. The combination of slightly sweet marinade and the hot grill creates an irresistible caramelization on the meat. Paired with steamed white rice, sauces and fermented vegetables, this dish is nothing short of a crowd-pleaser.
The proteins are thinly sliced and prepped for quick cooking at the table. Sides are encouraged, with a variety of offerings like beef sukiyaki bibimbap, garlic noodles and Japanese fried chicken. Dishes can be ordered a la carte or as a package to serve the whole table, making Gyu-Kaku an exceptional place for a party, casual or otherwise.
Tender meat aside, sample from Gyu-Kaku’s shochu and sake collection either on its own or as part of a creative house cocktail.
With almost 50 existing locations across the world, there are plans for up to five more Seattle locations in the future.
Bellevue | Open