Early last week, Capitol Hill Seattle Blog broke some pretty big news: Revel and Joule chef duo Rachel Yang and Seif Chirchi are planning a new restaurant—actually, four different restaurants within a 4,000-square-foot space—in Capitol Hill’s restored Greenus building on E Pike and Summit. And the city’s food nerds went crazy.
It’s taken me this long to get a hold of Yang—running two acclaimed restaurants, planning a quartet of new ones, and raising two small kids is no joke—but the details have been worth the wait.
Yang’s a fan of smaller restaurants, the sort that seat about 65 people, where she can still see what’s going on in the dining room and run a manageable kitchen. She says when they first saw the Greenus space, she was intimidated because it was twice as big as she was envisioning. But after some time spent figuring out how to make it work, she and Chirchi came to a solution: divide the floor plan into four restaurants with four different looks and different experiences, but pool resources and share the back-of-house.
The largest of the four concepts will be a Korean barbecue restaurant, complete with tabletop grills so diners can cook their own food. With Revel and Joule, Yang says they’ve offered an interpretation of Korean food; opening a restaurant that more closely parallels the experience of an authentic Korean restaurant, she says, is opening a can of worms for people to call her food Americanized. “As a chef, I want to create something new and different, not just hand down my grandma’s recipe and show my cooks how to recreate it,” Yang says. “Yes, we’ll have some true Korean flavors, but it’s still going to be us, our interpretations.”
Joining the barbeque will be an approximate 20-seat noodle stand focusing on rotating house-made noodles—something her kitchen staff has had a fun time brainstorming already. There will be a bar, with another 20 or so seats, serving an assortment of unusual, hard-to-find beers “from all over,” she says. And finally, a dessert window, where Yang has taken the idea behind the popular Korean dessert of patbingsu—shaved ice with beans, fruit, sweetened condensed milk, and other toppings—and conceptualized frozen custards and parfaits that don’t have the same limitations of working with shaved ice alone.
The new project, which Yang says they’re hoping to have open in early summer of 2014, will be “a lot of fun. Restaurants feed off the energy of their customers and how much fun they have, and I really want that to resonate in this space.”