Opening a restaurant is never an easy process; opening an entire hotel around one must be utter mayhem. The brand new Thompson Seattle hotel at First and Stewart is officially open after some overnight test runs last week, and Josh Henderson's new restaurant is ready to roll on the ground floor.
Open Now: Scout
The restaurant just off the lobby serves food all day, an accessible menu as befits a hotel, but with plenty of Seattle-appropriate flourishes. Breakfast might be eggs with grilled asparagus atop toasted mushroom brioche, or a "breakfast risotto" made with seeds, grains, and arugula pesto; the dinner menu has plenty of local seafood, plus dishes like pork cheek bourguignon and a dry-aged strip loin. No surprise, there's seasonal local produce at every turn. The seats along the counter are sourced from a company that makes chairs for casinos (translation: they're comfortable enough to sit in for a long time) and clad in army green wool. When evening hits, this area becomes the chef's counter, home to 8- to 12-course tasting menus that function, says Henderson, "as an exploration of Washington." Chef Quinton Stewart came over from Bellevue's 99 Park to oversee those tasting menus; Derek Simcik is the executive chef.
Matthew Parker, the design guru for Henderson's Huxley Wallace Collective, seemingly had a lot of fun translating the word "scout" to decor, and throwing in subtle Seattle elements for visitors and locals to decode. The light fixtures above booths resemble the cranes that tower nearby; the private dining area is a log cabin with asymmetric blond wood standing in for actual logs. Booths are backed with plaid flannel in a way that suggests camp blankets rather than regrettable '90s-era fashion.
Scout is officially open for breakfast and dinner; lunch service begins June 13. The chef's table will start taking reservations in late June.
Open Soon: The Nest
On June 13 the hotel debuts the other half of its Henderson-lead offerings: A massive rooftop patio. The view really is stunning, from cranes to steaming ferries to mountains and a birds-eye glimpse of Pike Place Market below. Most rooftop real estate is outdoors, and packed with loungy living room-like seating, plus two firepits. It wouldn't be a Josh Henderson establishment without a few firepits. A glass-clad room holds the center of operations (a very long bar) and more seating for those rare days when Seattle's isn't actually warm and sunny.
Because there's no actual kitchen up here, food will depend heavily on a fleet of carts, which can show up tableside with anything from oysters to satay skewers. Cocktails are named for birds, naturally. My first visit will be all about the Flamingo, which involves a large flamingo-shaped punchbowl made out of copper and containing enough booze for a dozen people.