Re:Public—Ignore the Colon and Go There Now
The punctuation is problematic. If you're going to go the irregular route with your restaurant name, you might want to choose something that won't make people say the word "colon." Also, the name is officially all lowercase, like this—re:public—which doesn't even look like a word, much less a place. The intentions, however, are good: "The name republic was partly due to location(westlake&republican). The colon idea hailed from us caring about the public(our customers)...so re:public (regarding the public) seemed fitting" (sic, via e-mail). And regardless: Re:Public might be your new favorite restaurant.
Re:Public's only been open a month, but you need to know: It's (so far) shockingly good. It's in a cavernous, old-timbered, mercifully uncomplicated, and completely pleasant space in South Lake Union. Chef Martin Woods came from Bastille and Cantinetta; sous Dave Lamping from Bastille and Zoë. If you love food, stop reading and just go there now and see what you think (there's lunch, happy hour, and dinner daily, so your pocketbook can choose accordingly).
Re:Public goes above and beyond farm-to-table rustic-goodness (though they are doing the farm/table thing). They put an orb of tomato sorbet on top of an heirloom tomato salad ($8), which also contains two thin, crisp, super-buttery brioche crackers and oregano-infused olive oil. At first, the sorbet's all wrong: Its iciness makes the brioche mealy and freezes out the juicy sunniness of the tiny tomatoes. Then the sorbet starts to melt, releasing pure essence of tomato, which the brioche soaks up, getting tomato-logged in a fantastic way; the melting cools everything perfectly, including you, and makes a pool of eminently mop-upable goodness, mixing with the green olive oil. You want all your bread, and then maybe some more.
A grilled octopus appetizer ($7) also was initially confusing, with a mound of chorizo bits, and chickpeas as well as a creamy hummus, and salsa verde. At first, the two circled-around arms of octopus seemed possibly dry, but then as you ate you realized it was just firm and highly smoky; the chickpeas-and-hummus seemed like overkill, until it seemed like a deal with the devil in which you got to eat both an entire organism and a puree of its secret inner thoughts. The chorizo seemed tough, until you got it in a bite with everything else and swirled it through the salsa verde.
Also amazing: house-made agnolotti filled with Dungeness crab ($14), resting in a sweet-corn sauce made with sherry, topped with an out-of-vogue but on-the-mark mascarpone foam: all of which smelled like fresh egg and distant ocean, filling the mouth with sweet then turning startlingly savory. And: the trio of desserts ($13), each thoughtful and remarkable in its own way. I want all of it, again, right now. Out of room: More on Re:Public soon. I can't wait, and neither should you.