Weeks before Eight Row opened its doors I passed the restaurant and saw the culinary team huddled around a table training the staff about each of the dishes they were bringing out of the kitchen. The crew looked more like a bunch of friends than a labor force. You could tell they liked what they were doing. That was when I knew this restaurant was going to be different. To dine at Eight Row feels like dining at a friend’s house who seriously loves food and can host you in a ridiculously cool dining room. And to the owner Chef David Nichols, that is exactly what it is. Eight Row is one of Green Lake’s newest restaurants. We’ve written about it a bit previously but last week I got a chance to dine with a friend thanks to a gracious invitation from the restaurant who hosted us.
Before we talk about the food, first let’s talk about the name, because it is this restaurant’s guiding light. Row number is the standard unit of measurement for cherries, with eight rows being exceptionally large and rare. Executive Chef and Owner David Nichols grew up on his family’s orchard in Wenatchee. Nichols’ family drives produce from the family farm and their surrounding Central Washington neighbor’s farms once a week.
He created the menu to follow the fruit tree seasons of Central Washington as well as the cultures that are represented there.
So what kind of cuisine is Eight Row? Chef describes it as Pan American. Nichols talks about how growing up in the farming community of Central Washington everyone that worked on the farm was either from Mexico or Central America.
“Recent immigrants make our farming way of life possible,” Nichols said. “And the cuisines they brought to our farm played a major part of what our childhood tasted like. And what home still tastes like. Eight Row is not a Latin American restaurant. It is quintessentially American, in our view. We are an entire country of immigrants, and the food influences come from all of the world, just like the people. So by serving the kind of Pan-American dishes on offer at Eight Row, we want people to think about what it means to be American cuisine.”
With that description I was really curious what the menu would look like. For our evening, it started with the daily special which featured the most delicious scallops. On the recommendation of the server we ordered the Dungeness Crab Salad, Fried Eggplant and Kohlrabi salad. First of all, I have never eaten eggplant and liked it in my life, until I tried Eight Row’s eggplant. Chef joked that if you fry anything it will taste great, but don’t be fooled. He knew what he was doing with the cumin creme and the chili de arbol honey drizzled all over that amazing dish. Equally delightful was the kohlrabi. Yes. KOHLRABI. I had always kind of dismissed that cabbage as a tough, unforgiving vegetable but this salad may have been one of my favorites of the evening. We finished off the night with the an apple galette that featured apples from the family orchard that had arrived earlier that week.
Equally amazing is the restaurant’s bar program. The cocktails include ingredients such as pickled ramps (yup, that’s a form of a spring onion) and many other pickled fruits. Our amazing server joked about it took her a while to make sure she knew all of the ingredients that were featured on the cocktail list. How many restaurants can say that? The wine menu was hand picked by Nichols and his brother, Ian, based on their travels through Italy, France, and Spain. And of course, it also pairs well with the flavorful foods and feature some really hard to find wines from across Europe.
In the coming weeks the menu will change again to feature the flavors of early fall in Central Washington. And keeping with his promise to feature seasonal ingredients, be it tree fruit or even hops, Chef is planning a special prix fixe menu designed around a wet hop beer pairing lineup. Look for that special menu to run the first week of October.
I asked Chef Nichols why Green Lake? “We especially liked the idea of serving a neighborhood with the kind of community feel that Green Lake has. I moved to the area from downtown two years ago and I love it here. So the location search was a bit biased from the get go. The people and surrounding business have been great to us so far. We like to rub elbows and make friends. Eight Row is a no-freeze zone.”
I, personally am really glad they are here. Check them out. I bet you will be too.
Special thanks to Elliot Stoller for sharing his video of this year’s Luminata festivities with us. The annual Autumnal Equinox celebration took place over the weekend as it has every year in Green Lake for the past 20 years.
Some restaurant openings and, sadly, a closure to share with you.
First for the sad news. After 10 years in business Turnpike Pizza, (6900 East Green Lake Way) has closed. It served its last pizza on August 31. No word on future tenants.
Around that same time two new restaurants opened in Green Lake.
Eight Row (7102 Woodlawn Ave NE) opened August 20, taking over the former Lucia Kitchen and Bar location in Green Lake Village.
According to the restaurant’s press release, Eight Row’s name is a hat tip to the chef’s family cherry orchard near Wenatchee, WA where the chef, David Nichols, grew up.
“Row number is the standard unit of cherry size, with eight rows being exceptionally large and rare,” according to the press release. “The menu follows the various tree fruit seasons of Central Washington, and draws inspiration from the confluence of cultures represented there, as well as nostalgia and family traditions from Nichols’s childhood; he describes the cuisine as Pan American. The space seats 70 plus a bar area for 40, and patio seating for 30.”
Eight Row will offer weekend brunch service from 10 -2 pm with items such as porchetta, hominy, fried egg + salsa verde; crispy sweetbreads and waffles + spiced honey; and Dungeness and avocado salad with béarnaise. Check out the full menu offerings here.
The restaurant will be open daily from 4-10pm, with a happy hour offering at the 40-seat bar area from 4-6pm.
Directly across the street Da Long Yi Hot Pot has opened at 7119 Woodlawn Ave in the former Ming China Bistro space. Hot pot fans are rejoicing because not only does this fill a hole in our otherwise hot pot void here in Green Lake, but it is also a popular chain that has more than 200 locations across the globe.
The menu includes a variety of options for hot pot starting with three broth bases and including add-ons such as veggies, meat and spices. The Chengdu flavor section of the menu caught our eye with options such as pork brain, duck blood and more. Reservations or takeout orders are now available via their website.
We received a question from reader Elliot about why the diving boards were removed early before the swimming areas closed for the season. The reader had noticed that people were still jumping off the diving board structures without the boards.
According to Rachel Shulkin, a Spokesperson for the Seattle Parks Department, “The boards may come down during the last couple days of the season based on weather and estimated bather load as it is labor intensive (requires several site staff) to remove them. Ropes are also removed and dried for winter storage over the last couple days of operation. The logistics of this planning leads to them coming out a day or so early as we pack up for the season. East Green Lake staff transport equipment to West Green Lake for storage for winter, so this site has a bit more involved in packing up for the season.”
Mystery solved. And if you would like to see Elliot’s other photos of the divers, you can view their flickr site here.
No doubt tomorrow’s Monday morning office chatter will still be about last night’s epic thunderstorm. According to the Seattle Times, more than 1,250 lightning strikes rocked the region in less than three hours.
Our family stayed up watching it and even saw a close strike, which we found out later was the strike that downed a tree onto the fence of a Green Lake Park tennis court right off of W Green Lake Drive. Chards of the tree were blasted all over the large grass lawn. The inside of the bark had the appearance of being steamed from the lightning. Could that happen? Large green pine cones were everywhere.
Directly across the street from the park, 46 houses are still without power according to Seattle City Light. They are anticipated to regain power tonight at 6:30 p.m. At the time of posting, 191 houses city wide are affected by power outages, likely due to the storm. If your household is one of those affected, you can monitor the outages and when you may get your power restored at Seattle City Light’s outage grid.
For more than two years Greenlaker Dustin Guy has been contributing awe-inspiring photos of Green Lake on Seattle Greenlaker. But this summer Dustin and his family have moved out of the area. He bids a farewell with a few photos from his last bike to work through Green Lake.
Thank you, Dustin for sharing so many beautiful photos over the years. Your photos has shown many of us Green Lake through a lens (and a time of day!) that few get to experience while on the lake.
Sunshine Music Together will have two locations in Green Lake starting this Fall. And starting in September they will be hosting a few free classes at each location.
Music Together is a researched and evidence-based internationally recognized Early Childhood Music Development Program for children birth to five years and their parents or caregivers. The classes include songs, rhythmic rhymes, movement, and instrument play – forty-five minutes of pure fun with your child every week.
Free Music Together Sample Class 09/06/19 and 09/07/19 @ 10:30am- 11:15am The NEST (Greenlake) 6600 1st Avenue NE
“We want to thank our dear customers and the community for supporting us since 1979,” said co-owner Sergio Uvence Lopez. “We have met so many wonderful people and have watched generations of families regularly dine with us over the years. It’s our pleasure to give back to this amazing organization that provides necessary medical care to children in our region.”
Seattle Children’s Uncompensated Care Fund allows families to be able to care for their child and not worry about whether they’ll have to choose between their child’s health and their financial health. By filling in the gaps left by insurance shortfalls or the inability to pay, uncompensated care frees parents up to focus on getting their child well. This essential program fulfills Children’s founding promise to provide care to every infant, child and teen in Washington, Alaska, Montana and Idaho in need of quality care — regardless of insurance coverage or financial circumstances.
Rosita’s has set a goal of raising $20,000 for Seattle Children’s through this one day event August 17, and the restaurant will be open 11:30am – 10:30pm that day. In addition, for those that are not able to attend the fundraiser, donations can be made directly through this page. https://giveto.seattlechildrens.org/rositas