New Era at an Old Standby
Jim Fortheringham and Patrice Demombynes, owners of the Virginia Inn since 1981, announced they’re selling the 115-year-old portal to a bygone Belltown, effective at the end of January. New owners Karl Sexton and Craig Perez have industry experience at places like El Gaucho and the Capital Grill. Per the announcement: “The staff, kitchen, art, and atmosphere will continue on with some upgrades in the bar and late night menus.” Ha, we couldn’t help but notice the Word doc that contained all this news was emailed with the file name “V.I. Bye Bye.”
Farewell, Plaid Bear
Scout, the restaurant in the Thompson Hotel originally concepted by Josh Henderson, will close Monday, January 14, to usher in a new concept (and presumably bid farewell to the faux-taxidermy plaid bear, alas). Chef Derek Simcik and pastry chef Kate Sigel aren’t going anywhere; they’ll oversee the menu. Which currently remains shrouded in mystery, as does the restaurant’s new name, until some time in spring. Rooftop bar The Nest, however, will continue on with a new breakfast buffet. (Update/point of clarification: Buffet is just for hotel guests.)
Conveyor of Bad News
The news that Blue C Sushi suddenly shuttered all its locations over the weekend due to some gnarly unpaid taxes was a shock even before all the details dribbled out over social media. Co-founders Steve Rosen and James Allard sold the conveyor belt sushi chain in 2011, but their current business, Elemental Pizza in U Village, responded to the news in the most graceful way imaginable.
Food TV Goss
Marcus Samsuelsson, a chef, author, and, as of late, TV show host, is coming to Seattle—and not just for a layover. The host of No Passport Required, a series on PBS that explores immigrant traditions and influences in American cities, will be in town to film a Seattle episode for the show’s second season. Sources tell us Samuelsson will visit restaurants, chefs, and leaders in Seattle’s Filipino culinary community. We wouldn’t be surprised to see some purple ube cheesecake or progressive Filipino menus in the mix.
Wow, These Soup Dumplings
Recently I signed my son up for a class on how to tie your shoelaces. If Bellevue newcomer Xiao Chi Jie offered an equally basic tutorial on how to navigate its soup-filled dumplings, I’d be all over it. Though it’s but a humble counter in the restaurant court of Soma Towers, XCJ achieves instant mecca status for those of us who obsess about xiao long bao—Shanghai-style soup dumplings. Here, they pan fry XLB’s puffier cousin, sheng jian bao. Having a slightly thicker dough encase the delicate broth within (plus pork and sometimes shrimp filling) makes these flavors less fraught, but a little tougher to consume with chopsticks. No matter, I’ll be back at my first opportunity. (The fast-casual spot also has crepe-like jian bing and some basic lunch bowls.)