Makini Howell's Chop't is Softly Open
Howell's ample vegan empire is expanding again, this time with a snazzy new salad shop next door to the original Plum Bistro. It's called Chop't. The space is home to the Plum commissary kitchen, which stocks the Plum food truck and covers catering, but there was enough space left over for a small salad counter facing the street.
Having heard rave reviews from the Stranger's two-block-radius lunch experts, Evanne Hall and Renée Krulich, I stopped by to see for myself. Good call, guys! All of the salads are inspired by her time touring with Stevie Wonder, which results in options like "Sleeping Late," "Take me on Tour," and "The Four Seasons." Sounds like she really had it rough!
I had the Travelin' Thru Memphis salad, which was full of fresh veggies, crispy plantain chips, and some sweet, barbecue-style baked beans. Howell herself threw it together for me, and explained that, while baked beans on a salad might sound strange, it totally works.
She's right. The salad was sweet, smoky, and dressed to kill. Despite the complete lack of animal products, I felt full enough to make it through the rest of a day of interminably long meetings on only an apple. Plus, all the menu options are $9 or less, which is an increasingly rare price point for the area. They've got a couple things left to iron out, setup-wise, but the main event is well underway.
"Table" is Short For Vegetable
The vegetarian restaurant will be in the Denny Regrade neighborhood, says Seattle Met, and it's brought to you by Ma'ono's Mark Fuller and former John Howie director of operations Doug Kawasaki. Should be open sometime in September. Neither of the two fine-dining veterans is vegetarian, but both see promise in the meatless fast-casual formula, likening their ambitions to Danny Meyer and Randy Garruti's Shake Shack.
As I've recently written, meat isn't something you should eat in massive portions every damn day, so seeing more quick vegetarian lunch options pop-up in the city core is pretty heartening. Plus their veggie burger sounds like the opposite of every cardboard patty that's ever turned people off to meatless burgers.
"Fuller has developed the 'Table burger, a fried mushroom-and-eggplant situation with quinoa, barley, cashews, marmite seasonings, and tamarind," according to the Met. "He adds to this: a 'veggie caramel,' which is a caramelized paste of carrots, tomato paste, onions, and garlic cloves, all served with pickled cucumber, dill, sweet onions, tomato-mayo, American cheese, and iceberg lettuce, all on a sesame seed bun."
Teriyaki is Back in Vogue on the Ave
Last year, Stranger contributor Naomi Tomky bemoaned the disappearance of teriyaki, once Seattle's most ubiquitous cheap eats option. Indeed, the thinning of teriyaki joints in the city is noticeable, from Kiku Tempura and Nasai on University Ave to Yasuko's on Broadway.
I have many fond memories of stopping in to Nasai for some cheap protein as a young, broke skateboarder growing up in the North End. The Ave is full of places to get full for cheap—Aladdin's, Pho Thy Thy, Burger Hut, and so on ad infinitum—but Nasai always got us the fullest for the cheapest. I don't ever remember loving teriyaki the way that some people do, but I certainly relied on it.
Since then, I have felt pretty much zero desire to eat white rice and stringy grilled chicken breast with sweet sauce on it, despite it's affordable allure. Now, however, BB's Teriyaki is opening on the Ave, Eater reports, and it promises "a fresh take on teriyaki." Guests can build their own, using yakisoba, white rice, brown rice, or veggie stir fry as a base, and they aim to source quality stuff. Who knows if that means Painted Hills or Mad Hatcher, but it's something! They also urge guests to "get lost in the teriyaki sauce," which I really, really hope is a reference to Gucci Mane's most famous quote.
Henry's Hops the Pond, Sets Sights on SLU
SoDo's big, corporate sports bar is getting bigger, the Washington Beer Blog reports. Or, at least, broader. The Portland-based Henry's Tavern chain is headed to Bellevue by the end of the month and to South Lake Union soon after. The Bellevue location will be open on August 30, and they also have ambitions of a summer opening for the SLU spot. The eastside location will be in Lincoln Square, and will feature 100 beers on tap, while the SLU one will be in the base of an Amazon tower at Fairview and Republican, and will feature more grab-n-go items and only 50 taps. They will both, of course, have the bar's signature chilled drink rail embedded in the bar top, so as to keep your craft beer as icy cold as humanly possible.
Did You Know There's Craft Malt Liquor?
There is, and it's marketing is exactly as tone deaf as you might imagine. If you read one long form food piece this week, make it Lauren Michele Jackson's excellent Eater essay about "The White Lies of Craft Culture."