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The man who reinvented the Seattle food scene talks date night restaurants, late-night haunts and boozy milkshakes.
It’s tough to remember the Seattle food scene before Ethan Stowell came along. There were the serious rooms doing classical cuisine; there were Tom Douglas’s concept-driven playful spots. But it wasn’t until Stowell opened the groundbreaking Union in 2003, followed by the upscale Italian Tavolàta and the ingredient-driven How to Cook a Wolf in 2007, that it became clear what sort of food city Seattle was destined to become. Small rooms, serious food but relaxed atmosphere, killer wine lists, über-passionate staff. New spots followed quickly—Anchovies & Olives, Bar Cotto, Staple & Fancy, Mkt., Ballard Pizza Company—each one so different enough from the other that it seemed a one-off passion project. This year alone saw the opening of his where-have-you-been-all-my-life ode to fish and chips, Chippy’s, and the steak frites temple Red Cow. We caught up with Stowell as he contemplates Noyer, his upcoming 11th restaurant that aims to reinvent fine dining in Seattle, and chatted with him about the spots he and his family visit in those rare times they’re not opening restaurants. Canlis, SeattleI love Canlis for one of the most iconic Seattle dining experiences and still one of the best views in the city.We love Cafe Besalu for amazing croissants: it’s a family tradition to stop by on the way to the Ballard Farmers Market on Sundays.I’ll hit Ba Bar for killer late-night Vietnamese street food and cocktails—a big industry hangout after the shift. Ba Bar, Seattle. Photo by Geoffrey Smith.Oliver’s Twist is in my neighborhood, and it’s a great casual spot for a drink and a snack.Picnic is an amazing little neighbourhood store that is great for grabbing a few essential eats (meat, cheese and an impressive wine selection) before heading to Green Lake with my kids. Poppy, Seattle. Photo by Helene Dujardin.Poppy is my wife’s favourite spot and great for date night when I don’t feel like cooking.Westward is bliss on a warm evening: oysters and rosé = my idea of perfection.Hot Cakes Molten Chocolate Cakery has killer shakes. My son Adrian loves them, and I’ve been known to order up a boozy one! Hot Cakes Molten Chocolate Cakery, Seattle.
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