The chef/owner of Salare gets an honor, Mollusk backtracks on its service charge, where we stand with pesticide use on Washington oysters and more.
1. CONGRATS TO EDOUARDO JORDAN: Representing Seattle on Food & Wine’s Best New Chefs 2016: Edouardo Jordan of Salare in Ravenna. Heartfelt congratulations to him — as The Stranger points out, he’s had a hell of a great year, and he is the first African-American to be named to the Food & Wine list. If you haven’t, you must read his interview “On Being Black in the Kitchen” from Lucky Peach. (Coincidentally, this week I also got Jordan’s tips on how to cook halibut without overcooking it. And please allow me this I-told-you-so moment.)
2. TO TIP OR NOT TO TIP: Travis Kukull’s Mollusk has returned to tips after having trouble with the service-charge model because of slow business in its construction-beset South Lake Union location. “I want it to work, and I think it’s a great idea and creates a better community atmosphere,” Kukull says. “But we’re just not in a position to make it work … until we’re slammed.” Implications for $15 and the industry are discussed at the end here. Meanwhile, my story about $15 and restaurant closures got linked in this New Yorker story on the minimum wage movement (thanks, New Yorker!). And the latest in Seattle to say so long to tipping: old-school Daniel’s Broiler Leschi/South Lake Union and Chandler’s Crabhouse.
3. UPDATE ON PESTICIDES ON OYSTER BEDS: Evan Kleiman of KCRW‘s excellent Good Food interviewed me to get an update on our Washington state pesticides-on-oyster-beds situation. (Also, apparently I say “sort of” a lot.)
4. MORE GREAT SEATTLE FOOD COMING SOON: People are getting excited about…
- New Luck Toy, the West Seattle dive bar/Chinese spot coming from Ma’ono’s Mark Fuller and Patric Gabre-Kidan of the Rhino Room (and, formerly, Ethan Stowell Restaurants)
- Los Angeles’ Tarsan i Jane taking over the Tray Kitchen space in Fremont
- Sunset Fried Chicken from Monica Dimas (Neon Taco, Tortas Condesa) popping up permanently inside Rachel’s Ginger Beer on Capitol Hill
- Steak ’N Shake opening May 16 downtown
- Vendemmia’s Brian Clevenger’s impending West Seattle place, Raccolto
- The prospect of new/better ferry food
- A former Skillet chef’s two new places coming to White Center
- And the possibility of a cafe from Grace Love in the new KEXP building
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5. RESTAURANT SAVINGS BONANZA: The great little (but getting bigger!) Rainier Valley Plate of Nations restaurant promotion is on right now, and you should absolutely go. And the behemoth Seattle Restaurant Week returns starting this Sunday, April 10 — here are our recommendations for 10 best overall values, 10 best newcomers and 10 best for awesome ambiance.
CLOSED BUT SET TO REOPEN:
- Mama’s Mexican Kitchen in Belltown: will be revived, but with significant changes
- Pizzeria Gabbiano in Pioneer Square: will reopen, still under Mike Easton’s care, as Il Corvo Pasta Studio
- Tray Kitchen in Fremont (see #4 above)
- Benihana downtown: already reopened as Hamansu, with the same flipping-shrimp-around deal and same owners, just not associated with the Benihana company anymore
- Branzino in Belltown: maybe it will reopen? A bit of a mystery at the moment
FOOD EVENTS: Amuse your bouche (see also #5 above).