Chef Travis Kukull and brewer Cody Morris moved Gastropod and Epic Ales from SoDo to South Lake Union last year, calling their new brewpub Mollusk. With huge, new digs—expanding from a closet-sized space to a 5,000 square foot operation—came some huge, new obstacles: “Its countercultural creative soul was suddenly tasked with the quotidian commercial responsibilities of filling a restaurant and pleasing a crowd,” said Seattle Met restaurant critic Kathryn Robinson in April.
Kukull and his creative soul unfortunately exited Mollusk's kitchen in June, but now chef Seamus Platt is bringing an impressive background, a love of gardening, and a knack for fermentation to the restaurant's menu. There's already various vinegars made from Mollusk beer that they plan to package and sell. Platt started his career cooking locally at Salish Lodge, but has since worked at the luxe, award-winning L'Auberge Carmel, the Michelin-starred Ubuntu in Napa, and most recently Pioneer Square's own Girin. Morris says Platt is “up to finding that balance between accessible and interesting.”
Chef Shota Nakajima opened his kaiseki restaurant last summer and enlisted Nik Virrey as bar manager. Virrey, an alum of Liberty and Tavern Law, served his last GiNakaTonic on Sunday and is off to the 72-and-sunny land of OG taco trucks and Carpool Karaoke. He said his farewells on social media noting, “It's been an adventure. I loved every second.”
Enter Dustin Haarstad, Ryan Lobe, and Sean Dumke. This trio, whose respective experiences include Canon, Rumba and Hazelwood, and Kneehigh Stocking Co., will soon debut a new bar program to complement chef Nakajima's new seasonal kaiseki menu at Naka.
As Michael Mina's downtown wine restaurant approaches its fifth anniversary, Ben Godwin steps in as the newly appointed executive chef. Godwin's resume includes big name restaurants like The Fat Duck, Alinea, and Noma, but most recently was the head chef at Meat and Bread, whose Capitol Hill location shuttered last week. For RN74's rotating tasting menu this month, Godwin created a menu of cucumber gazpacho with summer squash and geoduck, Parisian gnocchi with chanterells and bearnaise, and roasted scallop with heirloom carrots and green strawberry.
RN74's former chef, Isaac Hutchins, is now running the kitchen at Capitol Hill's Marjorie restaurant.