We'll have to wait until October to sit down for a steak or plate of oysters at Renee Erickson's two new spots on Capitol Hill. But today Erickson and her business partners' Sea Creatures restaurant group released names and a few more enticing details on each spot. Which I'll get to in a second, as soon as I've performed a small, but giddy dance at the idea of Renee Erickson opening a doughnut shop.
General Porpoise Coffee and Doughnuts will occupy the same block on Union as her forthcoming restaurant and bar. Doughnuts are inspired by Erickson's memory of the filled yeasted creations made by Fergus Henderson's St. JOHN in London. General Porpoise's version will be filled with classic things like dark chocolate or vanilla custard, as well as seasonal creations: tomato and tarragon jam, roasted lemon curd, nectarine and bay leaf jelly, huckleberry and long pepper jam, etc. Doughnuts can obviously be to go, but the space ("radish pink and white") will have 24 seats–by no means just a tiny walkup window.
La Ferme de Anes, the 30-acre farm on Whidbey Island that Erickson owns with her fellow Sea Creatures partners, Jeremy Price and Chad Dale, will supply the eggs.
General Porpoise will also be a multiroaster coffee shop; simultaneously serving coffee from various roasters around the country is the ultimate expression of coffee geekdom right now, and manager Jeff Butler comes from Milstead and Co. in Fremont, the city's multiroaster nirvana. General Porpoise will do espresso, pour over, and cold brew on draft.
And now, a few more details about the other Sea Creatures occupying this block on 11th and Union. The Normandy-style oyster bar on the corner has a name, Bar Melusine. The official update this morning describes it as the French Atlantic cousin of Walrus and the Carpenter, focusing on the maritime flavors of Normandy and Brittany. This means plenty of fish and shellfish, sure, in various raw, cooked, smoked and pickled forms, plus a take on Normandy's classic pré-salé lamb; rather than feeding on salty marsh grass, lamb will be brined and smoked under the eye of Jay Gurerrero, who's coming over from Erickson's dearly departed Boat Street Cafe to be chef de cuisine. Brittany's savory buckwheat crepes will be on the menu as well.
Bar Melusine, which takes its name from a water sprite of old French folklore, will have 50 seats plus a 15-seat patio. No reservations here, but manager Yuriko Say is coming over from Walrus, hence she's a woman who knows how to handle crowds. Oh, and this gentleman will manage the bar.
Between the doughnuts and the water sprites on this block of Union you'll find Bateau, a restaurant proper that will serve beef from the Sea Creatures' Whidbey farm–cows Erickson and company oversee from their earliest moments, from what they're eating (grass), to how they're finished, butchered, and and aged (dry). The kitchen, headed up by Harvest Vine alum Taylor Thornhill, will prepare these steaks in cast iron skillets with beef tallow and butter and serve them with handmade frites. A few Boat Street favorites like the pork shop and amaretto bread pudding will make a welcome reappearance on the menu. Erickson and crew also promise "modern starters" and "inventive sides."
Bateau will take reservations. They're encouraged...probably because the dining room has just 40 seats, plus five at the bar.
Thus concludes this massive update on Erickson's forthcoming Capitol Hill presence. While each space will have its own look and personality and kitchen (even its own bathrooms...fancy) the trio will likely open in early October.