New on Capitol Hill — Altura, Oola, Bako ready to take a bow — UPDATE: Momiji too

A trio quartet of new food and drink players on will debut on Capitol Hill in the coming week with seasonal Italian and classic Chinese on Broadway and one of the Hill’s wave of craft distilleries showing off its new space at 14th and Union. Welcome Altura, Oola and Bako.

  • Bako — classic Chinese — preview this week, opening Wednesday, October 5 — 606 Broadway E
     We introduced you to Keeman Wong this spring. This week, he’ll be introducing friends, family and a few select(!) members of the media to Bako, his take on Cantonese cuisine set to take over in the former home of the long-gone Jade Pagoda. “This will be more more modern Cantonese cooking but fortunately the tradition is very much in line with modern values,” Wong told us. “Local sourcing. Doing the minimum to the food you have to do to bring out the flavors. A better balance of meat and vegetables.” Learn more on Facebook.

  • Altura — seasonal Italian — planned opening Wednesday, October 5 — 617 Broadway E
    Talk about bold. Chef Nathan Lockwood has called his shot and picked his date. Altura opens next week in the old home of Edgar the Store. We told you about the project from the husband and wife team of Nathan and Rebecca Lockwood earlier this summer. Here’s their ambitious announcement:

Chef Nathan Lockwood and Business Manager Rebecca Lockwood are excited to announce the opening of Altura, a seasonal Italian restaurant that celebrates the bounty of the Northwest through the traditions of classic Italian cuisine. The Lockwoods are thrilled to be joined by certified sommelier Guy Kugel, who spent most of the last decade as manager and wine director at Flying Fish. A welcome addition to the burgeoning dining scene at the north end of Broadway, Altura—meaning ‘hill’ in Italian—offers a refined dining experience in a rustic-elegant setting on Capitol Hill. 

 

Chef Lockwood most recently led evening dining operations at The Ruins, the private supper club on Lower Queen Anne. In previous years he worked closely with celebrated Chef Hubert Keller at Fleur de Lys and held the position of Chef de Cuisine under Suzette Gresham at San Francisco’s Acquerello when the restaurant was awarded a Michelin star. 

Lockwood also earned glowing reviews for his work at Fork in San Anselmo, California and Jory in the Willamette Valley. His parents and two sisters also make Seattle their home.

“Nathan and I fell in love over food,” said Rebecca Lockwood. “We met at the Broadway Dicks in 2004 when I was a law student at UW, and to open Altura just a few blocks away is a wonderful homecoming. We are so excited to be a part of the vibrant Capitol Hill restaurant scene.”  

Driven by seasonality and local availability, the weekly changing menu showcases artistically presented Italian fare and draws inspiration from the Northwest. Most produce, meat, seafood and foraged items will be sourced from Pike Place Market vendors, specialty Italian purveyors, and the sizable vegetable and herb garden the Lockwoods tend at their North Seattle home.  

 Scheduled to open October 5th, Altura (www.alturarestaurant.com; 617 Broadway E.) has been carved out of a former retail space in a nearly century-old building. Old World refinement and Northwest craft and materials ground Altura’s décor and mirror the culinary philosophy. Reclaimed wood, 18th– and 19th-century European antique furnishings, original fir structural beams and an exposed brick chimney are watched over from the mezzanine by an angel rescued from a French chapel bombed during World War II.

 

 The host stand and wine cabinetry were designed and crafted by Chef Lockwood himself out of wood salvaged from the former Jade Pagoda restaurant building across the street—now home to neighbor Bako. The ‘Chef’s Table’ is a massive carved oak piece that accommodates 6 to 10 guests and oak church pews are repurposed as banquette seating. 

 

The restaurant’s menu will typically include bold dishes like handmade Yukon Gold Potato Gnocchi with Abruzzese lamb-and-beef ragu and Lockwood’s signature ‘Steak for Two,’ accompanied by crispy herb-fried potatoes, balanced by lighter fare, such as Yellow Tail Tuna Crudo and Grilled Escarole Salad with lemon, anchovy and duck egg. Altura encourages its guests to celebrate dining in the Italian style by providing a ‘3–4–5’ coursed dinner format, whereby the guest chooses three, four, or five courses from the five menu sections. Guests are also welcome to dine à la carte. Vegan and vegetarian options are available based on daily market selections.

See a complete sample menu here

 

3 COURSES $49    ̴          2 PAIRED WINES $27

4 COURSES $59    ̴          3 PAIRED WINES $37 

 

5 COURSES $69    ̴          4 PAIRED WINES $47  

Altura’s wine offerings are presented as a soulful counterpart to the handcrafted fare. “We believe that wine should be enjoyable, enhancing and easy,” said Guy Kugel.  “Value is at the heart of the list and guests are encouraged to relax and explore.” Altura’s list highlights Old World selections and the best offerings from local producers, placing focus on food-worthy wines from small producers in a range of styles.                                                                      

 

Seating 39 guests in total, including 10 each at the open-kitchen dining counter and chef’s table, Altura will offer dinner service Tuesday through Saturday from 5:30 to 10:30 p.m. When not reserved, the chef’s table is available for communal dining.

 

  • Oola (and friends Restaurant Zoe and Lucky 8) — craft distillery — open house Thursday, October 6th — 1314 E Union
     Kirby Kallas Lewis is ready to unveil his fantastic creation. We talked to him here about his work to transform the former La Panzanella bakery into a distillery and space for two new restaurants at 14th and Union. Next Thursday, he’ll be ready to share Oola’s first batches of vodka and gin and show off his new space. We’ve heard Zoe’s opening should follow shortly with Lucky 8 following after that:
  • We would like to invite you all to join us at Oola Distillery on Thursday, October 6th from 5pm to 8pm for our official open house. You will be able to sample our newly released Vodka and Gin as well as take a peak around the tasting room and distillery. In addition, you will be some of the first to be able to purchase a bottle to take home. So please join us at Oola Distillery on Thursday, October 6th from 5pm to 8pm. 

  • UPDATE: Momiji — Kyoto — October 5 — 1522 12th Ave
    Seattle Met reports that 12th Ave Kyoto-comes-to-Capitol Hill restaurant Momiji is also ready to debut next week: 

    Momiji meaning maple tree, three variants of the wood dominate. A bar accommodating 24 anchors the front of the house; amble back a sleek hallway and find a sushi counter, DJ stand, and brawny booths and tables, all of them handcrafted by renowned woodworker Craig Yamamoto. Descend another hallway (“I like splitting up spaces,” explains Han) and you’re in a more intimate dining room, back-lit paper murals festooning its walls. Streaks of amber pepper the leafy artwork “like the changing colors of maple trees,” cooed Han during our tour. At the center of it all is Momiji’s piece de resistance: a Kyoto-style garden courtyard, where in warmer months you can dine alfresco. 

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5 thoughts on “New on Capitol Hill — Altura, Oola, Bako ready to take a bow — UPDATE: Momiji too

  1. Regarding the published wine-by-the-glass prices at Altura, they are very high (about $13/glass). Unfortunately, this has seemed to become the norm at better restaurants. It wasn’t that long ago that a glass of decent wine at a restaurant was $6, then the norm became $8-10, and now it’s even higher than that. Methinks that restaurant owners are not being very fair with their customers, and are taking advantage to increase their profits. I wish Altura well, but I would be much more likely to go there if their wine prices were more moderate.

  2. “a former retail space in a nearly century-old building”? That space is almost all new, the only thing remotely old about it is the facade — another victim of architectural taxidermy. Way to make it sound old and cool and appealing, though; but the space has the potential to be as charming as the inside of MOD Pizza, which is to say, like eating in a warehouse.