Capitol Hill food+ drink | Balancing tradition and modernity, Restaurant Marron opens in the Loveless

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(Images: Restaurant Marron)

(Images: Restaurant Marron)

In the end, the Samovar murals depicting the story of a swan-turned-princess earned their place in a new vision for an old Capitol Hill restaurant space in the even older Loveless Building.

“They suited the space,” chef and first-time restaurant owner Eric Sakai told CHS as his new northern Broadway creation Restaurant Marron debuted over the weekend.

“Ultimately our goal is to balance the tradition and the modernity.”

CHS first reported in March on Sakai and his wife Zarina taking over the former home of Olivar for a new restaurant concept focused on bringing tasting menus to a wider, more relaxed dining audience. With Philippe Thomelin ready to move on from his Broadway and Roy creation after nearly six years of more traditional fine dining, the Sakais set out to create a new vision for the space that has been home to restaurants and cafes since 1931 when the Russian-flavored Samovar called the building home.

Like the original plan to cover the old murals, the Sakais listened to neighborhood feedback to refine their plans for the Marron experience.

“The goal is always to keep this as neighborhood a restaurant as possible,” Eric said. “We never wanted to be just that special occasion place.”

With his ambitious plans for offerings centered on a 16-course tasting menu moved to the back burner, Sakai said his new plans include two and three-course options that range in price from $39 to $45. A “more spontaneous” tasting menu is also on offer for $98 — but at a more modest eight to ten-course execution.

When we talked in the spring, Sakai, a veteran of kitchens from the Jackson Hole Four Seasons to Hawaii’s Diamond Head Grill to and San Francisco’s Acquerello, described his love for “the finest possible ingredients” and total concentration “on perfect preparation.” The current list of “modern French” entrees will give you an idea of how these fit together.

sautéed porcini & coral mushrooms, spring garlic, daikon, assorted kales, elderflower T&T pork, calamari, chickpeas, swiss chard, fermented black bean, onion tops spotted skate wing, crispy dumplings, egg yolk, sea beans, meyer lemon, asparagus grass-fed lamb, bone marrow, turnips, fish sauce, maple & sherry vinegar caramel

(Images: Restaurant Marron)

Beverage pairings for the set menus are also available and will be focused on fine wine — an additional $29 for one of the three-course options, $55 if you’re trying the tasting menu.

At $68 for a visit including the smaller-course meal and the wine, Marron is still a splurge. But Sakai said he hopes the starting vision for Marron fits better into the Capitol Hill dining scene.

As for finally having their first restaurant open and serving diners, Sakai said he wasn’t yet ready to relax and enjoy it.

“It’s a mix of emotions,” Sakai said. “We’re just really excited to open the doors.”

Restaurant Marron is located at 806 E Roy. It serves dinner Wednesday through Saturday from 5:30 to 10 PM and Sundays 5:30 to 9 PM. You can learn more at

Capitol Hill food+drink notes

  • Starbucks Melody has a new book out with some SBUX dirt used coffee grounds including a few tales from Capitol Hill. Sorry. The passage below is not the start of some corporate coffee 50 Shades of Grey but you’re welcome to read it that way:IMG_1336
  • ICYMI, Vancouver’s Meat and Bread coming to Capitol Hill.
  • RIP El Portal (Image: CHS)

    RIP El Portal (Image: CHS)

    El Portal, the tiny coffee roaster and cafe in a pretty much curse space near 23rd and Madison, has closed. CHS visited with Ignacio Ventura as he opened the Veracruz-flavored project for business in 2012.

  • Chef Zephyr Paquette has landed at Coastal Kitchen with a “Brazil Menu” that will run through the first week in September, the 15th Ave restaurant announced. Her 10th Ave E Skelly and the Bean community-funded restaurant shuttered in late 2012 after less than a year in business.
  • CHS showed you this first look inside the overhauled and revamped Canterbury Ale House. This week, Eater Seattle shows you what the Canterbury would look like after the apocalypse when all humans have been wiped from the face of the earth.
  • The Queen Bee: Now baking its own pastries.
  • Hit by the health department: Onetime Hill-based food cart My Sweet Lil Cakes.
  • Restaurant Zoe also has a new patio.
  • The Sorrento patio — also cool.
  • Team USA just might have a chance to advance. You can bet there are a few Capitol Hill venue owners rooting for that.
  • Stranger writes: “If Austin and Nicole Stone—perhaps Seattle’s only son-and-mother nightclub partnership—have their way, Kremwerk will help shift Seattle’s epicenter of cool from Capitol Hill to the Denny Triangle.”
  • It’s time to fly your Pride colors:

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6 thoughts on “Capitol Hill food+ drink | Balancing tradition and modernity, Restaurant Marron opens in the Loveless

  1. I’m really glad to hear that the beautiful murals have been preserved at Marron. Thanks to the owners for hearing community comments.

    This promises to be an excellent place, if a bit pricey.

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  3. Why does no restaurant ever last in the building?
    I believe this is the 4th one since I moved to the area in 2007.

    • I think the main reason is that it’s a very small space, and can seat a limited number of customers at a time. This makes it difficult for it to pencil out with a profit for the owner.

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