Fri 24 Apr 2009 9:57 pm
Good news for everyone awaiting Emmer, the new restaurant from Seth Caswell, president of Seattle Chef’s Collaborative and former chef at Stumbling Goat: He’s aiming for a summer opening for his own place, and he’s added something more to the menu: The food is still the locally sourced, seasonal menu he’s always planned — a sample menu had me at ”pickled fiddleheads” before he even got into “porcini tart” and “oyster pan roast” and “emmer farro fries”– but the name is now Emmer & Rye, the rye part referencing whiskey. Caswell is teaming up with Benjamin Hodgetts, former GM at the Alibi Room (and currently at Matt’s), adding “innovative, yet classically prepared cocktails” to the mix.
Caswell initially had South Lake Union in mind for the restaurant, but costs there didn’t pencil out, so he moved downtown. (Does it strike anyone else as strange that it doesn’t happen the other way around? He’s not the first person I’ve heard of who was priced out of SoLU.) He’s now looking at the old Nara Grill space at 5th & Lenora, with features like an upstairs deck for summer seating — and a history that includes being the old office of Bassetti architects, who worked on Pike Place Market, a nice piece of synergy. There’s a lot of good old wood in the building they could build off, fitting with the farm-to-table theme of “not going too far from the source to get where you’re going,” Caswell said. And, he said, they’d be happy to have “such good neighbors up the street” — that would be these guys.
The menu will have half-size and full-size servings (including half-size appetizers, or “snacks”), with an eye toward affordability — nothing on the sample menu tops $18, and a foursome could eat their way through most of the menu without stretching too far. The cooking’s meant to be the same as Caswell’s longtime philosophy, using high-quality ingredients that “have a connection with each other so you don’t have to fuss a lot.”
Look for the restaurant in early summer if all goes well. The cold weather has delayed the spring crops enough that, in his ideal scenario, “the prime stuff will start rolling in when I’m opening.” Sign me up, in that case, for the plum jam.