Eric Donnelly fishing on Montana's Rock Creek, the namesake of his seafood-focused restaurant. Photo via Eric Donnelly.

 This week, construction begins at 4300 Fremont Ave N, the future home of Eric Donnelly’s forthcoming seafood restaurant, RockCreek. Right now Donnelly runs the kitchen down at Toulouse Petit. Before that he spent seven years working at Oceanaire, a gig that cemented his love of fish (and the reason his current Cajun digs has such a breadth of appealing seafood dishes on the menu). 

RockCreek will be all about “globally sourced sustainable seafood.” Most Seattleites are thoroughly convinced of the charms of salmon, halibut, and tuna; Donnelly says his offerings will range from local familiars like crab or mussels to more tropical fish like Kona kampachi to East Coast staples like striped bass—from a well-managed fishery, of course. He's also a big fan of eating lower in the food chain, savoring underappreciated fish like mackerel and sardines. 

Scenes from a dinner Donnelly prepared after picking up a few things at the Ballard Farmers Market. Look for a similar whole crab dish onthe menu at RockCreek. Photo via Eric Donnelly.

 The menu will be all about “well-composed dishes” and “manageable protein sizes,” says Donnelly, “not a huge slab of fish drowned in some sauce.” His preparations will also diverge from the traditional fillet-starch-veg combo. “There will be no rice pilaf; there will be no drowned vegetables; there will be no green beans with almonds.” 

Sourcing seafood is a notoriously murky affair, and the affable Donnelly knows his stuff. RockCreek's menu has existed in the chef's head for ages; right now he’s more concerned with the gritty, pragmatic process of squaring away his funding and getting his space next to Uneeda Burger built out. RockCreek will open this spring, and you can read the initial report over here at Seattle Weekly.