It’s been nearly a year since Mamnoon owners Wassef and Racha Haroun filled our collective psyche with a particular sort of yearning—for an ambitious bar and restaurant perched on a South Lake Union rooftop, for glass walls that let you take in a nonstop panorama from the Space Needle to Gas Works Park to downtown’s skyscrapers, cocktail in hand and firepit nearby.
Today, they deliver. Mbar is officially open for dinner and bargoing atop the 400 Fairview building (where there’s no shortage of enticing options on the ground floor).
Along the way the Harouns picked up a significant culinary force in the form of Jason Stratton, who has been overseeing Mamnoon's Middle Eastern menu and general operations since last September; now he’ll settle in as Mbar’s executive chef, where he has license to deep dive on classic European techniques and traditions—Stratton loves himself some Spanish and Italian culinary history—but also ignore geographic boundaries and conventions entirely.
A few sample dishes mentioned in releases include wild mushroom egg custard with dashi and Sichuan peppercorns, or roasted cauliflower hummus with tahini, rice beans, ghee, and allspice. And testing/preview menus that circulated in recent weeks sported everything from skirt steak with lime brown butter to a prawn and geoduck ceviche with turmeric and a salsa of walnuts and burnt guajillo chilies, the latter part of a collaboration dinner with Stratton's Top Chef castmate Chad White, who now runs a ceviche-focused spot in Spokane.
The glass-walled dining room is more of a traditional menu situation; the heated, partly covered patio does a more casual bar menu. The Harouns tackled one of Seattle’s most prevalent restaurant challenges—imbuing sterile new construction with some welcome and warmth—by incorporating a ton of great art, from sculptures to 25 incredible handmade blankets by local artist Joey Veltkamp to warm patio patrons (mental note: do not spill on the blankets).