Bisato is back. West Seattle gets a pasta spot from the chef behind Il Corvo. Read about all the delicious buzz on Seattle restaurant openings planned for 2019.
Every month brought on a flood of openings in 2018. There were 46 we announced in June. Then 60 in October. Maybe the bubble will burst, but we haven’t seen it. Not yet anyway. More chefs with James Beard awards and Food Network on their résumés are opening in Seattle in 2019. And despite all the complaints about how expensive it is to dine — even to lunch — in Seattle, we found a few under-$15 spots opening in the coming months. Below are nine restaurant openings to mark on the calendar.
Scott Carsberg, who ran one of the city’s most acclaimed fine-dining restaurants in recent history, plans a comeback of Bisato, slated to open in Pioneer Square in February. The James Beard-award-winning chef earned accolades with the late Lampreia, a northern Italian restaurant that debuted in Belltown in 1992; later he opened Bisato in the same space before he walked away from the daily grind in 2012.
A former Seattle Times restaurant critic once called a Carsberg a “chef-genius.”
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He’s been finding inspiration with his recent travels to Japan and France but the food at Bisato will remain Italian-focused, according to his general manager. The modern Italian restaurant will offer a six-course tasting menu ($89); fans can also expect some of Carsberg’s greatest hits from earlier days, ranging from a poached duck egg with truffle and smoked cheese to an orange confit in chocolate-caramel mousse.
Quietly, Carsberg has been opening Bisato a few days a week before its planned debut at 84 Yesler Way. Tip: Call the restaurant 206-624-1111 for one of the early seatings.
Mike Easton, who makes some of the best pastas in the Northwest, drawing long lines at his Pioneer Square lunch spot Il Corvo, is opening a more ambitious restaurant in West Seattle this spring, likely in April. The 60-seat restaurant will boast a back-patio view of Alki Beach and be located in the century-old log cabin Alki Homestead.
The seasonal menu will feature seafood and lighter Sicilian-inspired dishes such as squid-ink pasta during the summer. In winter the menu shifts to northern Italy for dishes that “are richer and more red-wine friendly,” such as stuffed-pasta dishes, Easton said.
The food, which will also include sausages and housemade charcuterie, will showcase many more pasta dishes than just the three that Il Corvo does daily.
But sorry, no pizza — at least not yet. Of his late Roman-style pizza joint Pizzeria Gabbiano, which had a cult following, Easton said, “I’d like to resurrect Pizzeria Gabbiano. We have not written off the idea. Someday, the right space may come along.”
Another big-name chef making a comeback, Josh Henderson will reboot his rotisserie-chicken joint, Poulet Galore, in June in the former Volterra space in Ballard.
Henderson had been opening restaurants at the pace of Tom Douglas and Ethan Stowell but then retreated last year: He closed or sold off about a dozen restaurants, including his Shake-Shack-esque chain Great State Burger and his jewel Westward to restaurateurs Renee Erickson and Jeremy Price.
Henderson originally conceived of the rotisserie-chicken concept for South Lake Union, but that counter-service spot never found an audience as the Amazon campus turned into a ghost town at night. Poulet Galore closed last year. He’s convinced Ballard has the foot traffic for Poulet Galore to work. The menu will also include fried-chicken sandwiches and the popular Southeast Asian rice dish poached Hainanese chicken.
Momosan Ramen & Sake
Iron Chef Masaharu Morimoto’s spot in the Chinatown International District, slated to open in midsummer, will showcase tonkotsu, tantan, tsukemen and Tokyo chicken ramen. There’s also yakitori, but the celebrity chef from Food Network seems bent on doing contemporary takes and his own spin on Japanese comfort food such as soft-shell-crab bao. Expect an extensive collection of sakes and Japanese whiskies behind the bar. This is Morimoto’s third Momosan ramen spot after he opened in New York City in 2016 and in Waikiki Beach, Hawaii, last year.
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Plus, two hush-hush projects we are excited about:
Tamara Murphy, who runs Terra Plata inside Melrose Market, is opening a restaurant along the main drag of Columbia City, in the former Salted Sea space. Murphy, another James Beard-award-winning chef, was mum on her latest endeavor, but an associate familiar with this project called it a “Tamara-ized version of Peruvian food” with a bar program focused on pisco.
Also, the trio behind Manolin, which Bon Appétit magazine anointed one of America’s Best New Restaurants in 2015, are working on an encore. Owners Joe Sundberg, Rachel Johnson and Patrick Thalasinos aren’t talking about their secret project, but they have been spotted in a single-story brick structure near Northwest 63rd Street and 24th Avenue Northwest. The owners are doing the build-out, from digging trenches to building the bartops and tables. Of the new 30-seat Ballard restaurant, Sundberg would only say that they’re not looking to do a copycat of the seafood-focused Manolin.
Cheap-eats stars coming your way
For those who complain that the cost of eating out in Seattle is outrageously expensive, here are three casual spots in the dining-under $15 category to look out for.
Shota Nakajima’s stock rose last spring after appearing on Food Network’s “Iron Chef Gauntlet,” the reboot of the popular food contest. Apparently the chef from Adana found time to plot another restaurant in between hitting the food-festival circuit. Scheduled to debut this summer, Taku will be an Osaka-inspired street-food counter service, located next to Salt & Straw on Capitol Hill. The menu will feature $2, $3 and $4 skewers of deep-fried pork belly, snapper and battered cheese-and-bacon, along with other meat, seafood and veggie choices on sticks. Taku will have a takeout window, a bartop that seats about 20 and a communal table that seats 10. Nakajima said the goal is to stay open every night til 2 a.m.
This food truck has a large lunch following in Bellevue and Seattle for its healthful grain bowls. Plans to open a brick and mortar in South Lake Union fell through, but the owners are still pushing ahead to open a spot this year. Heading the kitchen is New York City chef Aarthi Sampath, who in 2016 won Food Network’s “Chopped” and later beat one of the network’s biggest stars in a biryani battle on “Beat Bobby Flay.”
Sizzle & Crunch
We anointed this the best cheap rice bowl in the city when this Vietnamese counter-service spot debuted in the University District two years ago. Now it’s a couple months away from expanding in Amazonland to compete with all those food trucks and cafes hawking $12 lunch specials. Sizzle & Crunch will feature a Chipotle-style, build-your-own bowl concept. Priced as cheaply as $6.98, the bowls will come with charred and smoky pork shoulder and belly caramelized in fish sauce over the grill and served with a fried egg and salad. Its new branch will be sandwiched between Revel and Ballard Pizza Company, off Westlake Avenue North.