Seattle greeted the opening of Salare’s humble sibling bar in Ravenna the way we usually welcome Emerald City Comicon or a splashy new Din Tai Fung location. Fledgling restaurants can collapse under too much hype and insta-crowds that descend before kinks have a prayer of being worked out. But a few months in, chef Edouardo Jordan puts out dishes that are equal parts cerebral and comfortable, with finesse that befits a guy with a fine-dining background. Here’s why you’ll probably still have to wait for a table.
- Southern food so scholarly, it’s got an actual encyclopedia. Jordan’s exploration of regional foodways is mostly meant to be tasty, but clearly an exploration of slavery’s influence on the Southern palate requires nuance. Enter the lengthy alphabetical directory on JuneBaby’s website that lends cultural context to anything from Gullah Geechee to chitterlings.
- Sunday night is fried chicken night. Each night of the week has a special. And by special we mean “a massive honking platter with baked beans, slaw, and a transcendent biscuit.” The Sunday-only fried chicken is crispy, juicy, and usually gone by 7pm.
- A legitimately diverse crowd. One recent Saturday night, the room included a multicultural progression of destination diners, neighborhood regulars with small children, even a minister in his collar.
- There’s a rice program. Rotate produce or seafood seasonally? Sure. But JuneBaby pays tribute to the vitality of low-country rice fields with a cast of various preparations, like hoppin’ johns (helpfully defined in the restaurant’s online encyclopedia) or red rice and grains from around the South.
- But also housemade ice pops. Growing up, Jordan froze Kool-Aid or lemonade in Dixie cups as a treat. Known as flips, the adult version at JuneBaby might be flavored with strawberry-rhubarb or sweet tea, but it’s still kid-level fun to swizzle the cup between your hands and invert the icy contents to eat.