The next neighborhood in Ethan Stowell’s sights: Madrona. The prolific restaurateur has signed a lease on the former Restaurant Bea space right on 34th Avenue—the neighborhood’s main drag.
So here's where it gets interesting. The main restaurant space will be known as Red Cow. And according to the official announcement, it will be a brasserie with emphasis on steak frites, plus plenty of classic bistro fare with Northwest overtones.
And tucked into the adjacent space behind Red Cow: a wholly separate, fine dining restaurant called Noyer, containing just four tables (and four counter seats). This little spot will do nothing but tasting menus—a luxe parade of tiny, artful bites as you see in major temples of dining like French Laundry. If you book a table, you can arrive whenever you want. It's yours for the entire night; this will not be a meal to rush through.
"We want to do the fanciest food we've ever done," says Stowell. Some of the words that came out of his mouth included truffle, caviar, geoduck, and wagyu. And he's also excited to do some mind-blowing beverage pairings.
Noyer (the name means "walnut" in French, in homage to the big walnut tree outside) will also recreate some of the spirit of Union, Stowell's original downtown restaurant that's still sorely missed by many.
Before Restaurant Bea, the space at 1423 34th Avenue was home to June and before that Cremant. Full disclosure: I live in Madrona, and one of my husband’s and my favorite sit-around-the-house discussion topics is why it’s so damn hard for a restaurant to make it in this part of town. So I’m fascinated to see a proven crowd-gatherer like Stowell make his mark on the neighborhood. I'm also fascinated to see how an unapologetically fine-dining restaurant will be received. It's an idea Stowell's been toying with for years, and being able to pull it off in such a small space, sharing a kitchen with an adjacent higher-volume restaurant, makes it a little more feasible for a Seattle audience.
The Stowell camp says Red Cow will open after the first of the year, with Noyer following in the spring.