Another big name comes for Amazon. Wild Ginger, one of Seattle’s most influential restaurants, is trying to get a piece of the mad lunch rush. The Asian-fusion restaurant is opening (scheduled for Aug. 18) on the ground floor of the swanky apartment McKenzie, two blocks north of The Spheres. Called Wild Ginger McKenzie, this 150-seat restaurant is a more informal, fast-twitch-muscle operation built to handle the thousands of tech workers who lunch between 11:30 a.m. and 1:15 p.m. While Wild Ginger is known for its world-class wine list, this branch will have a bigger cocktail component to handle the after-work crowd. Your favorite items aren’t going anywhere, though — the satay bar and the Sichuan-peppercorn-and-five-spice duck remain on the menu.
Owner Eric Banh 86’ed his Seven Beef restaurant to make way for Central Smoke, which was supposed to be Banh’s Asian-inspired smokehouse. The brisket ended up being more Central-Texas-style BBQ. Banh likes the clean flavor of just salt-and-pepper instead of Asian spices over post oak and mesquite. The owner of Monsoon and Ba Bar does offer some Asian dishes including fried rice and tea-smoked chicken.
How does bone-marrow matzo-ball pho broth sound? How about oxtail nachos and an animal-style, wagyu burger? Mitch Mayers, former chef at Lark, is having fun at his new restaurant Sawyer in Ballard, in the former Kickin’ Boot spot. His New American bistro and bar can seat about 150. Also, opening in Ballard, Medina GYRO.
Birch, a swanky seafood bistro with a killer view along South Lake Union, opened near White Swan Public House. The chef comes from the underrated Tanglewood Supreme in Magnolia, which sadly shuttered. Birch is a fine-dining experience with a seven-course tasting menu.
Remember the old Tempero do Brasil space? It’s now Alcove Dining Room, an ambitious Brazilian- and Northwest-inspired restaurant with only one seating per night (6 p.m.). The restaurant is run by Eddie Vedder’s former private chef, Emme Ribeiro Collins.
Le Coin does French-inspired cuisine in Fremont in the former Cajun spot Roux. There are wagyu steak frites and seafood dishes such as octopus and sablefish (entrees in the $17-$27 range). The drink list is heavy on French and local wines.
The Mediterranean small-plate joint Dandylion just opened in Lower Queen Anne and is already plotting a 30-seat speakeasy called The Den, to be located in Dandylion’s backroom. The hidden bar is scheduled to open in late September. Nearby Broadfork Cafe in the University District expanded with another organic-vegan spot near the elbow of Queen Anne Avenue North and Denny Way.
Capitol Hill gets a new Chinese restaurant, Plenty of Clouds, focusing on Sichuan cuisine from ma po tofu to cumin lamb. An Ethan Stowell alumnus from Bramling Cross heads the kitchen. The space was once Stowell’s Anchovies and Olives.
Renee Erickson opened her fourth branch of General Porpoise doughnuts in Laurelhurst with a fifth location coming soon to Los Angeles.
Pineapple Bistro & Bar, inside Hotel 5, runs a menu that seems more like a glorified sports bar with fried mac and cheese, sliders, tots and, because there is always one health nut on the family vacation, a quinoa bowl.
Northgate gets a Japanese noodle spot with Engimono Ramen & Izakaya. There’s also udon, gyoza, karaage chicken and katsu chicken curry.
Oh’s Sandwiches offers banh mi for less than $5 in West Seattle. In White Center, there is now the Vietnamese coffee shop Cafe May Hong. White Center is becoming a popular hangout, with several bar openings in the last two years, and three more expected to open in the coming months.
Geni’s Ethiopian Corner is a food stand that makes the rounds at farmers markets. Find it at the Lake City Thursday market, the South Lake Union Saturday market, the Mercer Island Sunday market and soon the Queen Anne market.
Bao House in the Chinatown International District offers a $5-and-under menu of sandwiches and deep-fried snacks. Expect bao sandwiches stuffed with chicken or roast duck, along with the usual wings, fries and onion rings. The ID also now has Swirle Rolled Ice Cream, with rumors of more bubble tea and dessert shops coming.
Cajun Asian restaurant I See Food opened in Bellevue, with Cajun fried rice and seafood boils.
La Parisienne French Bakery in Belltown expanded to downtown Bellevue, under the same roof as the wine bar Cépaé Tasting Room, which has more than 120 wines by the glass. Cypress Coffee Company expanded to Eastgate. Also in Bellevue, Blackbird does fancy crepes, desserts and milk and fruit teas, and Baskin-Robbins lands at 2255 140th Ave. N.E.
In the south end
Another month, another bunch of Vietnamese openings in Renton. It’s becoming quite the hub for pho and other Vietnamese cuisines. The latest are Renton Bistro, a full-service restaurant and Vin Deli, a banh mi spot. You will also find Taqueria El Gym in downtown Renton.
Farther south, Federal Way gets another Vietnamese restaurant in Ox Pho & Grill.
Asadero Sinaloa, which was near Des Moines, has relocated to downtown Kent, with a bigger location and menu. Its from the same owner as Asadero in Ballard, a Northern Mexico-style steakhouse with high-end cuts. Asadero has become one of the surprise hits in Seattle. Look for an expanded steak menu at its Ballard restaurant by September. Also, the owner is plotting a Mexican seafood restaurant in Ballard for 2019.