Seattle's Food Scene Just Got Less Weird and Interesting

Chef Travis Kukull Has Left Mollusk


Very sad. Loved his food at Gastropod and Mollusk (unfortunately, I don't live nearby). Truly daring and creative food, a special and unique find. A star is lost. Will support whatever Travis does in the fall.
I am going to echo @1's feelings albeit the saddest part of this story is the Pizza Hut delivery. Yet, I too will follow Travis and eat wherever he lands! He makes creative yet not precious food that this city has never seen before. Great article for a real pioneer!
Such a loss. I am nobody's idea of an adventuresome eater, but I devoured everything I was served at Gastropod and Mollusk. The food wasn't weird, it was exquisite. Trying some of his unexpected combinations, I always found myself wondering "Why hasn't anyone thought of this before?"
I think part of the problem may be that the crowds moving into SLU are frequently out-of-town hires at big tech companies, and what we consider ordinary pub grub here in Seattle may be wildly adventurous for them. That said, I've been drinking Cody's beer since well before Gastropod, and I'll continue going there and enjoying the beer and food, even if the food is less adventurous.
Where in Alaska?
Maybe if they had a better happy hour. Beers are expensive there.
I disagree with the comments so far - the death bane of a restaurant is when they stop listening to their customers. The first (and last) time I was there, the lighting was so bright and harsh, I almost started confessing to my crimes. I asked why it was so bright and the hip but inattentive bartenders said "bright, you should have seen it before we turned the lights down." During the course of 90 minutes, I heard three other sets of guests comment on the lighting, and lack of warmth.

On the food, being adventurous for the sake of adventure isn't a good thing - finding anchors that lead guests into trying new things is where it's at. As a good chef-friend said - "Just because you CAN doesn't mean you SHOULD.
I'm sure it's delicious and I applaud innovation, but those menu descriptions remind me of that South Park episode where manatees randomly select balls with words on them and that's how they write the jokes for Family Guy. It's just Hipster Foodie Word Salad.
"....Tried to make Burgers, but didn't know how to do that......"

Sounds Lame. Everyone knows how to make a burger.

As for him leaving, I know nothing about the restaurant biz. But, it sounds like he left because his good wasn't selling. Despite "how good" I might have been. Maybe his partners said something along the lines of 'hey, we need to make a profit here. The only way to do that is to give the people what they want, etc'

Maybe it happened that way,maybe not.
@9 what is the point in this comment.
I ate at gastro twice and the food was terrible, experimental for the sake of being shocking, not for the sake of tasting good.
Chef sounds pretty arrogant and pretentious. I can't imagine anyone wanting to eat those nachos, and if you're gonna make a dog using those ingredients and call it a Seattle Dog, you're begging for trouble.
I don't know how many people relate to the concept of wanting to be "challenged" by what they eat. That seems to be an antagonistic approach to cooking, and eating is generally expected to be a satiating experience.

The opposite of challenging does not have to be boring, although a lot of young chefs seem to think this is the case. I'm from Rhode Island, where we have tons of dishes that are unique to the state and can't be found in any other part of the country. But if you were to describe them to people, they would still be able to picture what the dish might resemble or taste like.
I'm interested in weird & challenging food, even food that's weird for its own sake. I'd never heard of this restaurant, so I went on Yelp to read the reviews and see whether the majority of negative reviews were about the food, prices, etc.

A repeated comment by reviewers was that the restaurant was doing the "since we legally have to raise the minimum wage, we now include a mandatory 20% tip" explanation on their menu. There have been numerous articles about customers at other restaurants who objected to this for a variety of reasons.

Another frequent comment was that the website was not transparent about various things (that the menu was seasonal and/or fluctuating but this was not clear, the 20% tip, etc.)

Another regular topic was that the titles of the items (fairly generic titles like fish & chips) created an expectation of a 'generic' dish.

To me, these are all valid pieces of feedback, and if the chef or other people choose to believe that the biggest problem was that people don't like or want unusual food, I'd consider that a defensive response to criticism which could've been used to improve both profits and the diner's experience.