The “inauthentic Eurasian” tagline isn’t the only thing clever going on at Cook Weaver, newly opened in Capitol Hill’s historic and really quite lovely Loveless Building.
“We’ve been in here every day for three months,” front of house guy Nile Klein tells CHS. “When I see people walk by, I go out, introduce myself, tell them what we’re up to, and give tastes.”
One by one, Klein and chef Zac Reynolds — the back of house guy — have already won the neighbors in the slice of Capitol Hill including the dense cliffs of I-5 Shores and the stately avenues of the Harvard-Belmont district.
The new restaurant opened for business Saturday with hopes of creating a new dining experience north of the Broadway core that is just clever enough to be intriguing to draw in the increasingly competitive Capitol Hill food and drink scene while still giving neighbors a place to call their own.
Reynolds’s menu focuses on “responsible” sourcing and seasonal ingredients, Klein says, and will be in ongoing rotation showcasing Pacific Northwest produce, fish, and meats in non-PNW fashion. Cook Weaver’s first menu — “winterized,” Klein called it — includes Korean bibimbap with hominy, “lots of bacon, and brothy things,” Klein said.
“The type of food and cocktails are at home in fine dining,” Klein said, “But we want it to feel like a dinner party with friends.”
That basic recipe will be familiar to fans of a previous project Reynolds built with the plainly named Food pop-ups in the Central District. We first reported on Cook Weaver earlier this year as the concept for the new showcase for Reynolds and his concoctions came together in the Loveless where the restaurant replaces short-lived but ambitious Restaurant Marron. Unlike the modern Marron which hid the space’s artwork away, history buff Klein made sure the restaurant’s amazing old murals are back on display. “The murals are our number one priority,” Klein told CHS earlier this year. “It’s a beautiful and very interesting gem.” Alexander Pushkin’s 19th Century Russian poem that inspired the murals tells the story of three sisters — a cook, a weaver, and a wife — and involves a swan-turned-princess, naturally.
While Reynolds is focused on creating surprises on the plate — check out the current full menu, here — Klein tries to keep up in the creativity department behind the bar. During the chilly times for its opening months, you can expect herbal cocktails with a few twists. Cook Weaver’s bar is also set up as a drop-in friendly place to hangout in the middle of the small dining room and a happy hour with snacks and smaller dishes runs 3 to 5 PM.
The setting with the old murals just off bustling Broadway is a good place to enjoy the little jokes Reynolds seems to like to play with his dishes. The dessert menu is illustrative. All desserts include a sweet and a savory component, Klein informs. OK. We’ve seen that before. “And a vegetable,” he says. Alrighty, we’ll try it. coconut Thai soup with carrot jelly sounds pretty good, come to think of it.
Cook Weaver is located at 806 E Roy. It is open Sundays through Thursdays 5 to 10 PM and Fridays-Saturdays, 5 to midnight. You can learn more at cookweaver.com.