On June 30, Bruce and Sara Naftaly's 27-year-old Ballard gem, Le Gourmand, closed its doors. But next door, the equaly dazzling sibling cocktail destination, Sambar, the party continued. Jay Kuehner kept making drinks, and eager patrons kept coming in. But in late July, things slowed down a bit, prompting Naftaly to sent a recent email to local food media types, sharing the good news that Sambar will stay open through Saturday, September 29. Even better--the Naftalys themselves are in the kitchen.
The couple took over culinary duties at the end of July, when Sambar's cook, Tyler Garcia, the third person in the kitchen with the Naftalys, left to get married. "It keeps me from having total withdrawal," says Bruce Naftaly. For the famously hands-on chef, Sambar's pace "is like having one job instead of three jobs."
No surprise, the esteemed, classically French-trained chef can't help but infuse a bit of Le Gourmand into the bar's casual, yet still classically French-leaning, menu. Naftaly's longstanding gooseberry and dill sauce now adorns fish dishes. His rabbit-liver pate has migrated to Sambar, and he currently has some sheep's milk cheese blintzes on menu with a chive butter sauce.
If that's not enough Naftaly for you, Bruce still teaches cooking classes on the last Sunday of the month, and is adding a few more dates. Keep an eye on Le Gourmand's website, or just call the restaurant's number, 206-784-3463. Sambar is open Tuesday through Saturday, at 5:30pm.