McCracken and Tough's Next Project: The Old Sage
The guys behind Spur, Tavern Law, and the Coterie Room say their forthcoming smoked meat parlor is "our version of rustic." Just don't expect barbecue.
Yesterday’s liquor license app set off a flurry of speculation, so here's the deal: Chefs Brian McCracken and Dana Tough are planning a fourth venture in the Capitol Hill space (1410 12th Avenue) that once housed the Local Vine. The Old Sage will open in “late winter” (i.e. early next year) just a few doors down from Tavern Law.
The Old Sage, they say, will be “a bar with good food,” more akin to gastropubby Spur than speakeasyish Tavern Law. The focus is smoked meats, but McCracken and Tough want to be very clear—this is not a barbecue restaurant. Nor is it a modernist meat den. “This is our version of rustic,” says Tough. Rather, they want to blend some of the techniques that cemented their culinary reputation with some old-world approaches. Think pork cheeks, smoked with lavender, then braised for hours to impart a mellow smoke flavor and a subtle floral note. Vegetables will round out the meat dishes, most of them spending time in the wood-fired oven. The guys are also geeking out about the various breads they can make. Diners can build their meals by ordering some meats and a few vegcentric side dishes to round it out.
And, hello, there will be a serious booze program. Whiskeys and beer will dominate the bar, where Scotches provide an appropriately smoky foil to the meat dishes. The buildout will add a long, L-shaped bar—and plenty of bar seating—to the room. And since the name essentially means “a wise old man,” McCracken and Tough are planning a few nods to their own grandfathers along the way, be it old photos or making sure their grandads’ favorite whiskeys and beers are stocked (and perhaps some Old Grand-Dad as well?).
While nestling two restaurants into a single space seems to be a thing these days, the chefs seem to be creating their own little trend of opening new spots a few doors down from existing ones (in this case Tavern Law and the Old Sage are part of the same sprawling Trace building).