After just a year and a half, Heong Soon Park is closing Tray Kitchen, his Northwest-meets-dim sum restaurant on Leary Way.
The restaurant has been successful, says Park (he usually goes just by his last name), but it takes a lot of work to make it so. And between running three restaurants in Ballard and Pike Place Market, plus raising two kids under 6 with his wife, he's worn a little thin. "Downsize" is how the official release describes the shift.
Tray Kitchen will close this Saturday, April 2, after dinner service. But the chef has already lined up a new chapter for his farmhouse-styled space, a particularly pleasant dining room. Two recent chef transplants from Los Angeles, Valencia native Perfecto Rocher and business/life partner Alia Zaine, will move right in, opening a wood-fired restaurant called Tarsan i Jane with a Catalonian and Valencian spin, and an attached cooking school.
Eater Seattle has a bit of background on the chefs, who will spend Fridays and Saturdays in April serving Spanish toasts at Elm Coffee Roasters in Pioneer Square as they ready their restaurant. Zaine worked at a butcher at the excellent Belcampo Meat Co., and no less a force than Jonathan Gold has sung the praises of Rocher's paella. They're planning to open Tarsan i Jane in May.
As for Park, he'll be refocusing on his first two restaurants, Chan and Bacco in Pike Place Market. Per the release, both places will honor Tray Kitchen gift certificates through next April, and Park hasn't ruled out the idea of breaking out that bright red custom cart and opening his farm-to-table dim sum restaurant once again once his children get a little older. Keep tabs on the final week via Tray Kitchen's Facebook page.
More details to come on Tarsan i Jane; until then, the chefs' Instagram account can tide you over with absurdly pretty photos.