[99 Park now, and later.]
99 Park, a heavily under construction stand-alone restaurant in the center of Bellevue, thinks its menu and staff will make the drive from Seattle to the Eastside worth your while. With an impressive team and enormous budget, the upcoming stand-alone fine dining spot from restaurant newbie Micah Pittman is going big.
Pittman's background is in real estate development: He was CEO of a company owned by a firm in Abu Dhabi, and he happens to be very into food. Pittman assembled a cast of enthusiastic young pros to run the show, including executive chef Quinton Stewart and sous chef Roger Harper (ex- RN74, Branzino.)
Stewart isn't approaching the restaurant as a "Seattle vs. Bellevue kind of thing." On a recent tour of the space, the chef told Eater that the particular block of Bellevue—sandwiched between Main St. and the city's retail core with a view of Downtown Park—"is a great place for a restaurant."
Stewart kicked off his career working at Tilth, Spur, and the Coterie Room, then completed an almost two-year-long "chef sojourn" in New York kitchens, including Waverly Inn and ACME. "Maria Hines encouraged me when I was a young cook to go to New York to cook," Stewart says. "She actually told me that from her perspective it was important for every cook to cook in New York." Stewart has also spent time in the kitchen at State Bird Provisions, Quince, and Nojo in San Francisco and filled in for Brendan McGill at Hitchcock earlier this year while McGill was focusing on Hitchcock Deli Georgetown.
The menu centers around a "high-end farm to table, casual fine dining" concept that is overly familiar to Seattle diners and a little less common in Bellevue. Food will be classic Northwest and change with the seasons. Case in point: Pleasant View duck breast with morels, mountain huckleberries, and farro; dry-aged beef burgers with grilled Walla Walla sweet onions, heirloom tomato, and Beecher's flagship. "There are so many wonderful ingredients available here in the Northwest that are unique and playful and fun," Stewart says.
Before coming to 99 Park, General Manager Charles Veitch worked on the opening staff of the James Beard award-winning NoMad hotel in New York and managed the bar at Bastille and Campagne. "The space and team are reasons to come from Seattle," Veitch says. "Bellevue is changing a lot. For us, it's a really positive thing. Also, the median age is a lot lower than it was even 10, 15, 20 years ago which is exciting for new restaurateurs and young guys like us."
99 Park will be open for lunch and dinner daily, with weekend brunch and late night menus planned. Look for doors to open by mid-summer.
· 99 Park [Official Site]