One of them is predictable (but well-deserved!), while the other is a super-sweet surprise.
For Renee Erickson’s demonstrably lovely Bateau to show up on Bon Appetit’s annual list of the top 50 best new restaurants in the country is no surprise. The nouveau steakhouse on Capitol Hill got four stars in the Seattle Times, then just made Eater’s 21 Best New Restaurants list a couple weeks ago. (Want to try it for cheaper than four-star prices? Here’s how.)
The surprise here is Little Uncle, the marvelous Thai spot from Wiley Frank and Poncharee “PK” Kounpungchart. For one, it’s not exactly new: It started way back when as a pop-up at now-closed Licorous, then went through two more incarnations before landing in its new Madison sit-down location this year. Secondly, it is little, and also inexpensive — not always the norm for big important Best lists.
Little Uncle didn’t see this coming, either. “As always, we are pleasantly surprised anytime everyone cares to mention our restaurant,” PK says. “Wiley and I are pretty stoked about it all… Along with our crew, [we] have been working our butts off for the past five and half years to get to where we are. At our new spot, we feel so at peace with everything.” (Frank and Kounpungchart also made our “Love & Restaurants” list of industry sweethearts this past Valentine’s Day.)
Congrats to them and to Erickson, and good luck: Bon Appetit will announce its top 10 new restaurants from the list of 50 finalists on August 16. Meanwhile, the rest of the Northwest category of the top 50 is just two Portland places: Coquine, which also made Eater’s best new runners-up list, and Pizza Jerk, which — sad trombone — is currently closed after a fire.