After more than half a decade as Thierry Rautureau's right hand man, Rob Sevcik is striking out on his own, his behatted former boss a powerful one-man cheering squad for the fine dining restaurant he plans to open on Capitol Hill. It's called Galerie 23, and though Sevcik hasn't quiiite locked down his dream space, he's speeding ahead with ideas and details.
Sevcik found his way to Rover's in 2010. He never had the sort of rigorous training his boss experienced growing up in France—or formal culinary schooling of any sort. But he'd spent a decade cooking in well-regarded Portland restaurants like Lucier and Fenouil. Rover's owner Thierry Rautureau gave him a job and in less than a year gave him oversight of the kitchen as chef de cuisine of the French restaurant, then worked alongside the Chef in the Hat to open his downtown restaurant Loulay, which our critic Kathryn Robinson named Seattle Met's Restaurant of the Year in 2014.
Sevcik describes Rover's as the best job he's ever had; in interviews he often brings up the sign Rautureau hung at the restaurant's back door that says L'entrée de l'artiste—artist entrance. "I'd go in there and create all day, and I want to get back to that."
That sign informs his plans for Galerie 23, which Sevcik describes as unabashedly French fine dining tempered with whatever else might inspire him, from molecular gastronomy to cheeseburgers. He's going the tasting menu route—choose from four, six, or eight courses—but will gladly honor diners' requests, especially to accommodate dietary needs. "It's a better showing of my skills as a cook to be able to roll with the punches like that," he says. Hear, hear.
Sevcik just launched an Indiegogo campaign to help him secure that mystery space on Capitol Hill. He also promises his restaurant will be neither drafty nor overly loud; clearly the guy has learned a thing or two from his tenure working with one of the city's most hospitable restaurateurs.
In proper 2016 fashion, Sevcik has a whole multi-prong fundraising offensive in the works, from popup dinners to dropping by the radio show Rautureau co-hosts with Tom Douglas. Once he gets those keys he's got staff and buildout all lined up, so there's a chance Galerie 23 could be open by the holidays. Otherwise, Sevcik's counting on January. Keep tabs on its progress on the restaurant's newly minted website.