Fans of Renee Erickson's rustic French-by-way-of-the-Pacific Northwest cuisine have been waiting for the chef to announce the names and opening dates of her two new restaurants on Union Street between 10th and 11th avenues on Capitol Hill. This morning, Erickson's company Sea Creatures sent the long-awaited details. The most interesting part? There will actually be three, not two, projects—and the third will be a doughnut shop.
Here's the lowdown on all three spots, which will source many of their products from Sea Creatures' own 30-acre farm named La Ferme des Anes:
• Bar Mesuline is the name of Erickson's new seafood restaurant specializing in "snacks from the sea—raw, cooked, pickled and smoked fish and shellfish—and other classics from Brittany and Normandy." Those other classics will include buckwheat crepes and, I'm assuming, plenty of cider. (Brittany and Normandy are famous for their apple cider.) Mesuline, named for a mythical French sea creature, will be located on the corner of 11th and Union and seat 50 diners indoors and 15 on its seasonal patio. Jay Guerrero (who most recently helmed the kitchen at Erickson's recently closed Boat Street Cafe) will run the kitchen.
• Next door will be Bateau, serving dry-aged, grass-fed, and in-house butchered beef from Sea Creatures's Whidbey Island farm. It's an ambitious project: Erickson and her team will be engaged in the whole process of raising, slaughtering, butchering, and aging the meat. The prospect of eating meat that's stayed within the same hands for the animal's entire life is really exciting. Also exciting: steaks (sold by weight) will be cooked in cast-iron in beef fat and butter. Bateau will be run by Taylor Thornhill from the Walrus and the Carpenter.
• And now about that doughnut shop, whose name makes me smile: General Porpoise Doughnuts and Coffee. Doughnuts will be made from farm eggs and will be filled with seasonal jams and custards. The coffee will be taken equally as seriously, as Erickson is bringing in Jeff Butler, from Fremont's Milstead and Co., as general manager.
The new projects were originally scheduled to open in June. Now Erickson is hoping "to be in the spaces by mid-September, and open in early-October. Fingers crossed." (And for those keeping track, the restaurants will pay employees $15 and hour and eschew discretionary tipping in favor of a service charge.)