One of the year’s big openings, Carrello restaurant debuted on Thursday in the former Poppy space on Capitol Hill. It may be hard to score a table since Carrello comes from the same couple, Rebecca and Nathan Lockwood, behind the acclaimed high-end Italian restaurant Altura across the street. (Check out our story on how the Lockwoods met at Dick’s.)
About half of Carrello’s 92 seats will be available on a first-come, first-served basis, so try your luck if you can’t nail a coveted reservation. Critics near and far agree Altura is one of Seattle’s best restaurants. (It’s also one of the city’s most expensive, where the price for a tasting menu runs more than $200 per person after tax, tip and drink.) With Carrello, the couple is offering a more casual, family-style dining experience. Shared pasta plates range from $14 to $19, although the better value may be the $97 dry-aged rib-eye that serves three to six people, or the roasted lamb neck that feeds two to four. While the acclaimed Altura was known for epic 14- to 18-course dinners that run three hours long, Carrello paces the meal faster. “As soon as you sit down, there will be food ready for you,” chef Nathan Lockwood said. Servers will push dim-sum-style carts around the dining room so customers can pick from a dozen small plates including rabbit meatballs ($4) and other small bites (stuzzichini, antipasti and salumi, priced $3-$9) while they wait for their order.
And there’s another high-end restaurant taking the casual-dining route: Maximillian Petty, chef and co-owner of the upscale Eden Hill restaurant in upper Queen Anne, has expanded with Eden Hill Provisions, that showcases the chef’s spins on comfort food such as venison pie and wild-mushroom tamales. All the greatest hits and chef favorites from the original Eden Hill also moved here: cauliflower “chilaquiles,” scallop lasagna and the kettle corn Brussels sprouts with coconut caramel and shoulder bacon.
The “Big Max Cheeseburger,” which used to be on the “secret menu” at Petty’s fancy Eden Hill restaurant, now gets top billing at Provisions. The burger consists of four different cuts including Wagyu beef and ground bacon; the two patties get stacked with Gouda, a secret sauce, caramelized onions and pickles and is served on a challah bun. It comes with fries ($18). You can also get Petty’s signature burger to-go since Provisions has set up a pickup area inside the 32-seat bistro. Provisions also has a retail counter (foie gras cake batter, wine and soon, housemade charcuterie). Meanwhile, his high-end Eden Hill restaurant focuses just on tasting menus, six- and 13-course meals from $85 to $160.
The carnivorous Lady Jaye has opened along the main drag of West Seattle, a southern-style smokehouse showcasing turkey drumsticks, pork cheeks and pork-collar pastrami. Its 2,000-pound smoker takes no prisoners — veggies get thrown over that bed of applewood chips as well. Drinks fall on the boozy, hoppy and smoky side, with lots of whiskey cocktails and IPAs. If the blueprint sounds similar to Radiator Whiskey, that’s because four employees from that Pike Place restaurant are behind Lady Jaye, which sits a block north of another recent opening, Haymaker.
In the latest of a zillion Korean-fried-chicken openings, Bok a Bok has expanded to the University District, the fourth branch for local owner Brian O’Connor. The chicken sandwich here is underrated. Check our fried-chicken-sammie roundup here.
Also doing Korean fried chicken nearby is U DupBop, which caters to the college crowd. The fast-casual spot also hawks cheap rice bowls along with bento boxes and poke.
The peripatetic chef Brendan McGill of Bainbridge Island now serves Roman-style pizza at Bar Taglio in downtown Seattle. Think focaccialike crust, topped with prosciutto or mortadella. The drink list leans heavily on Italian wines and aperitifs.
South Lake Union’s Whole Foods has some serious competition across the street now that cult Korean supermarket chain H Mart has rolled out its chic brand District H, which boasts a French bakery and hot-food stations featuring dumplings, bibimbap and spicy grilled chicken. The buzz has just been crazy.
San Juan Seltzery has partnered with chef Ethan Stowell to launch San Juan Seltzery Taproom, Kitchen & Bar, located at SODO Urbanworks. The food should ring familiar to any beachgoer who has been to a seafood shack along a boardwalk: cod and chips, Dungeness crab cakes, steamed clams, fried and raw oysters, moules frites and clam chowder. This spiked-seltzer production facility abuts about a dozen wineries in a warehouse. The taproom is outfitted with a heated patio that features Adirondack chairs and a fire pit. It’s dog-friendly space. Also, there will be televisions to catch Seahawks games and a designated play area for kids.
Four years ago, the late Anthony Bourdain and former President Barack Obama wolfed down cheap bowls of bun cha Hanoi, the Northern Vietnamese noodle specialty, on the travel show “Parts Unknown.” Next thing you know, people started Googling the dish and local pho houses were fielding calls from foodies wanting to know if they served this vermicelli noodle dish. Many restaurants tried to piggyback on that buzz by doing a poor representation of that street food. The version at the new Pho Hanoi in Rainier Beach hews closer to the classic dish with the smoky flavors and charred pork meat you would find in the Old Quarter of Hanoi.
Xi’an Noodles, which gained a huge following when it brought its hand-pulled biang biang noodles to the University District, has now expanded to Westlake Center in downtown. Get a bowl of spicy cumin lamb noodles. Check out our review of the original restaurant here.
Fast-casual Oma Bap, with its bibimbap and other Korean rice bowls, has opened a branch by Cal Anderson Park.
Speaking of Korean food, Lazy Susan takes over the former Crow restaurant space in Lower Queen Anne, offering a fusion of tacos and burritos stuffed with Korean barbecue meat and kimchi and other Mexican-Korean mashups.
Levent Sahin has sold his Italian-French restaurant Ada’s to open Kitchen Istanbul in Ballard to do the kebabs and comfort food of his native land.
Kin Len Thai Night Bites dishes up shrimp toast, crab fried rice and deep-fried sriracha beef tongue by the Statue of Lenin.
The Moore Hotel has rebranded its restaurant to Moderno Mexicano, which boasts a well-curated agave list that’s reasonably priced for downtown. Plus tacos, with al pastor that comes right off the spit.
Also two reopenings: Phoenecia in West Seattle and Karaage Setsuna. The latter just relocated two doors north to a corner space in Belltown. I once said Karaage Setsuna (see review here!) was the best dining secret in Belltown. It’s not hush-hush anymore— they doubled seating capacity in their new home to accommodate a crowd that pines for the Japanese fried chicken.