Those lazy, crazy days of summer are upon us again. Here’s a look at some of the turmoil.
South Lake Union
TanakaSan (2121 Sixth Ave.) is the official name, honoring Eric Tanaka’s contribution to the Tom Douglas restaurant empire. It’s a “modern American Asian restaurant,” newly opened in the Via6 apartment block between Blanchard and Lenora streets on the western edge of Belltown.
Tanaka is Douglas’ executive chef and business partner, the guy who converts the big picture (T-Doug’s strong suit) into the nitty-gritty of getting it done. He grew up in Los Angeles, eating his way effortlessly through the melting pot (almond duck in Chinatown; avocado burgers in the Valley).
Though many of the dishes at Tanaka San have Asian names, the menu isn’t meant to be “authentic” anything in particular. There’s a braised oxtail ($25) and a wok-fried crab ($34) at the pricey end, but also “family fried rice” ($8.50) and a trio of ramen dishes (tonkotsu for $12). The miso-dashi ($8) is made with matzo balls.
But just blocks to the west, all boarded up after only 10 months: Cal’s American Kitchen, 404 Terry Ave. N., an upscale beer and burgers spot on the ground floor of the Amazon headquarters at the corner of Terry and Harrison streets, in the very heart of South Lake Union. A sign on the door suggests that something new — perhaps even from the same owners — is coming in its place.
Cal’s opened in SLU to great fanfare last August. It was the second venture of a Tacoma company called Classic Concepts, whose founder was Jeff Chandler, the wizard who turned The Ram into a college-sports-bar franchise. The company’s first project was the Cal’s in Kent, which opened in October 2011.
Former executive chef Shannon Galusha, meantime, left late last year for a position with Columbia Hospitality.
Two days before the grand opening of their neighborhood bistro, Le Zinc (1449 E. Pine St.), on Capitol Hill, Willy Boutillier and Axel Macé were showing off their new surroundings, full of innocent enthusiasm, like the proud parents of a prize pet.
The two business partners already have a venerable spot: Maximilien in the Market (81 Pike St.). (François and Julia Kissel started it in the 1970s; Julia Child would eat lunch there on her visits to Seattle.) They started looking for a second space last fall, found the corner in the new Vox apartments (across from Anchovies & Olives) in early January and started their build-out.
Seventy seats, including 12 at the bar and 12 at a communal table. A clear-eyed menu (casual French, with as many local and ingredients as possible, including plenty of mussels and traditional appetizers like bone marrow — almost nothing more than $20).
There will be no more belly dancing Sunday night at the Continental Greek Restaurant & Pastry Shop (4549 University Way N.E.) because June 30 was its last day of business.
The “bittersweet” announcement was made on the restaurant’s Facebook page and confirmed in a phone conversation with owner Demetre Lagos, whose parents, George and Helen, bought into the original pastry shop in 1974 and took over two years later. Demetre has worked there for most of that time.
“It’s time for a break,” he said, adding, “We’re grateful to all of the people who have supported us over the years.”
The restaurant has had a longtime relationship with the Unversity of Washington’s international student community, hosting a foreign-language Stammtisch (table for regulars): Russians on Sunday, Germans on Tuesday, French on Wednesday and so on.
With the passing of the Continental, three Greek restaurants will have closed within the past year. Costas in Fremont became a Chase bank; the First Hill Bar & Grill was taken over by a Vietnamese restaurant, Green Leaf.
Hawaii BBQ, currently located five blocks farther north along The Ave, will take over the Continental premises.
An investment group led by TV star Patrick Dempsey has completed its purchase of Tully’s coffee company and said it plans to continue operating the coffee shops.
Dr. McDreamy of “Grey’s Anatomy” says he will retain all of the company’s 500-plus employees.
RONALD HOLDEN is a restaurant writer and consultant who blogs at Cornichon.org and Crosscut.com. To comment on this column, write to CityLivingEditor@nwlink.com.