When coronavirus shut down restaurants in March, L'Oursin owners JJ Proville and Zac Overman were among the first in Seattle to turn their dining room into a full-on market. These days, the Central District bistro sells cheese, fish, butter, vacuum-sealed rib eyes and of course loads of natural wine. Now, the pair joke they’re making a deal with the devil—casting aside more high-flying ambitions like tasting menus or puff-pastried seafood soup en croute in favor of the comforting food people crave, in an effort to keep their restaurant afloat.
Old Scratch debuts on Monday, August 3, and revives L’Oursin’s excellent off-menu Monday night smash burger from Before Times. Otherwise, the underworldly popup trades L’Oursin’s Northwest-French niceties for a menu that riffs on Overman’s southern heritage. Via email, he describes sandwiches of fried chicken or Calabash shrimp or smoky, deep fried barbecue tofu, “nearly everything gilded with the white gold known as Duke’s Mayonnaise.”
Overman—also the guy behind L’Oursin’s great bar program—fashioned some cocktails inspired by Southern soft drinks and made and bottled to order. Old Scratch will manifest itself daily from 12–7 inside L’Oursin, but thankfully the restaurant will continue its presence as a grocery and rad wine shop. Descend into the depths of the Old Scratch website to see the menu once it’s posted.