Chop Shop dishes prove seasonal delights — Photo courtesy of Jim Henkens / Chop Shop
Not far from the Pike-Pine bustle on Seattle's Capitol Hill, a new culinary oasis draws hungry crowds to its spacious, light-filled venue.
Everything about this welcoming venue feels open – from Chop Shop's expansive ceilings and roll-up windows out front to the "exposed kitchen" layout, popular at many Seattle restaurants, which allows diners to peek as their food gets prepared by talented craftsmen and women.
The most recent project by lauded Seattle chef Ericka Burke (of Volunteer Park Cafe fame), Chop Shop joins the lineup at Chophouse Row, Dunn & Hobbes’ collection of mixed-use properties located between 11th and 12th Avenues.
This unique complex – which melds old and new by combining a historic auto row building with a new steel-and-concrete loft – includes six retail spaces, four floors of office space and three residential penthouses, in addition to a lovely courtyard in which to while away the afternoon.
The 2,800-square-foot restaurant, for which the original façade has been preserved and updated, boasts 67 seats that range from a large, communal table to stools at the intimate chef's counter.
A re-purposed entryway from the century-old Williamsburg Court building brings a feminine touch to the surrounding metal beams and rough woods, and decor touches include swaths of botanical wallpaper, mirrors and vintage artwork.
Chophouse Row brings a refreshing new vibe to the heart of Capitol Hill — Photo courtesy of Corinne Whiting
Burke delights neighborhood folks by keeping Chop Shop open all day, offering breakfast, lunch and dinner options, as well as a juice bar that serves espresso, juices and grab-and-go food every day from from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.
On weekdays, breakfast includes a European-style breakfast buffet, complete with housemade preserves and toast; granola and yogurt; fruit; a juice du jour; and Stumptown coffee.
Other menu options take the savory route, like a breakfast sandwich featuring a fried egg, bacon, heirloom tomato, herb aioli and Gruyere or the Chop Shop Breakfast, a hearty plate comprised of a bone-in ham steak, herb-roasted potatoes and two eggs served any style.
Beautiful food comes to a stunning setting — Photo courtesy of Jim Henkens / Chop Shop
At lunchtime, delectable salads steal the show, including the not-to-be-missed Octopus Salad and the Chop Salad, a bountiful bowl of kale, pulled chicken, bacon, salami, cherry tomatoes, white beans, avocado, Gruyere and a soft-boiled egg.
Diners also enjoy outstanding sandwiches (served with house-made pickled vegetables). Try the Braised Pork with cabbage slaw, cilantro and fresno aioli on a toasted sesame bun or the Open-Faced Egg Salad Baguette, with smashed egg, tarragon aioli, radish, pickled red onion and cornichon.
Dinnertime brings a bounty of seasonal veggies, plus shareable small plates from prawns and pork shoulder to the Gioia Burrata, a stunning combo of heirloom tomatoes, brown butter, oregano and pine nuts.
Larger dishes include the Roasted Game Hen, Bavette Steak and Market Fish, served with "forbidden rice," sweet and sour plum, cassis curry and micro radish greens.
Also, you can enjoy cocktails with clever names like "Built to Spill," a regionally sourced beer list and a France-heavy wine lineup.
One of the biggest draws? An extended “Best Hour” session that happens every day from 3 p.m. until 5:30 p.m., when dinner service begins. The enticing menu includes a selection of $8 sandwiches and salads, as well as three $6 cocktails – like the Garden Party, a delightful combination of bourbon, mint, garden herbs and powdered sugar.
Chef Ericka Burke and her crew jazz up Capitol Hill — Photo courtesy of Jim Henkens / Chop Shop