One could argue that Bramling Cross is more of a tavern than its elder sibling Goldfinch Tavern, which occupies a glamorous room in the Four Seasons downtown. Nomenclature aside, this latest spot from Ethan and Angela Stowell serves taverny plates like house chicken wings and a burger with iceberg lettuce and secret sauce, plus hyperlocal beer. Bramling Cross is officially open and slinging IPA and plates of smoked trout and biscuits with Benton's ham at 5205 Ballard Ave.
Chef Michael Gifford came over from How to Cook a Wolf to run the kitchen; he was the first person hired to work at Stowell's first restaurant, Union, and presumably he's pretty invested in the whole fried Mad Hatcher chicken on the Bramling Cross menu; today's official notice of the restaurant's arrival promises that "blood, sweat, and many many tears" went into perfecting the recipe. It's served with collard greens and grits. This menu is starting to sound a bit southern...until you factor in the wood-burning grill and some very Northwest plates like roasted heirloom pumpkin or whole Dungeness crab.
Ethan Stowell describes Bramling Cross as a gastropub, named for a British hop variety but focused on local beers. Very local beers...mostly Ballard, Fremont, and Interbay's Holy Mountain. The bar has just eight taps, with a healthy can and bottle list, plus a few cocktails made with IPA or Vitamin R. The latter contributes to an Aperol libation bearing the excellent name Ranye West.
In Stowellian fashion, there's also plenty of wine, though likely not as much as when this space was home to Portalis wine shop. It retains the brick walls, bank of windows, and absurd amounts of charm from the Portalis days, but the Stowells have added a walnut bar; the rest of the seating is booths.
Bramling Cross is open daily from 5 to 11, and a bit later on weekends. Brunch is on its way. Meanwhile, the restaurant's website has details on menus and reservations.