Lucinda is the latest from double James Beard Award–winner Edouardo Jordan, and it opens next door to his lauded restaurant JuneBaby on December 8 at 2120 NE 65th Street, mere blocks from sister spot Salare, all in Ravenna.
The new grain bar is, well, exactly how it sounds: an appreciation of ancient, heirloom, local—and drinkable—grains in various forms. What first operated as a commissary kitchen for Jordan's pastry chef Margaryta Karagodina and their evolving pastry program, soon morphed into a focused expansion of the restaurants' collective grain program. (JuneBaby already mills so much corn in house weekly for its cornbread that Jordan had to start sourcing from both Washington and Oregon.) If they were going to rethink the sweet, then damn if they didn't rethink what they can do with savory, too.
"When you actually eat red quinoa and freekeh and einkorn and purple barley and red barley and whole oats, you get a different flavor profile from the commercial items that you buy—your palate isn't used to it," says Jordan. "It became a challenge for me and I do like challenges."
Grains are indeed the hero across the menu, from a crunchy snack of millet, sorghum, corn, spelt, chickpeas, and rice—like healthy bar nuts you feel good eating by the hand full—to preserved smelt on rye bread with salted butter and red radish. Heartier bowls could be fashioned with einkorn, an old and wild species of wheat, topped with smoked trout and salmon roe. Then there's pressed sandwiches, of which there will be around three rotating iterations, like braised heritage pork with smoked ham, radicchio, and cucumbers. Desserts, like whole grain brownies with the life-affirming texture of pure fudge or oats and red quinoa porridge with einkorn ice cream and sorghum syrup, will also rotate. As to be expected, Lucinda's menu—some smaller snacks, aforementioned sandos, four grains, and a couple of desserts—will change with the seasons.
On the booze end, Jordan and his beverage director Elmer Dulla hew to the same formula as seen at JuneBaby and Salare: nothing extravagant, no foams, no gimmicks, no 10-ingredient cocktails. Dulla says it's about farmers and letting drinks shine with few components getting in the way. They've even partnered with San Juan Island Distillery for an oak barrel–aged apple brandy and other grain spirits.
Not only is Lucinda an homage to grains, it's a way Jordan says he wanted to show love to his sister Lucinda, a partner in all of his businesses, as well as his great grandmother Lucindi. "And like Lucinda the bar and like Lucinda my family, my sister is beautiful, my great grandmother is beautiful," he says. "They're both spicy and bitter and mean...bosses—all of that!"
Now when you're on the waiting list at JuneBaby, you can take respite at Lucinda. (Hours for Lucinda Grain Bar will be Wednesday through Sunday 4 until late.)