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Modern Mexican Tr3s Cocina/Cantina to Open Friday

New venture by veteran Belltown trio features fresh, unusual seafood.

Tr3s Executive Chef Erwin Arceo
Tr3s Executive Chef Erwin Arceo
Ronald Holden

It's time, Belltown: Tr3s, the elegant new watering hole with a Mexican menu, will debut this Friday in the historic Austin Bell building at 2328 1st Avenue.

Again, Tr3s (pronounced "trace," or Spanish for three) is the work of the trio who operate Belltown Pub just two doors down. David Toland will be the GM, with Zack Nethercutt as dining room manager. Erwin Arceo is taking the role of Executive Chef. Arceo is a veteran of Seattle's franchise and fast-casual restaurant scene, including stints at Consolidated Restaurants and Wingdome, in addition to the five years the team has put in at Belltown Pub.

As Eater reported last month, the menu will emphasize fresh and unusual seafood, with recipes uncovered over 25 years of traveling in Mexico. "There will be salmon and halibut, of course, but also parrot fish, pompano, goldband (snapper), and pink snapper,"  says Arceo. The fish will be sourced not just from the Gulf of Mexico, but also the waters of Vietnam and southeast Asia. Some of the more exotic items will be air-freighted from Honolulu; others will come from Emerald City Seafood and City Fish.

The space, at nearly 5,500 square feet, is one of the largest in Belltown, with a licensed occupancy of over 200. The build-out, however, included a vast bar "island" on the main floor, reducing the number of seats to about 100. Half the seating rings the bar; the remainder are booths along the wall.

Doors open this Friday at 4 p.m. For the next couple of weeks, Arceo says Tr3s will be open seven days a week from 4 p.m. to 2 a.m., with lunch and brunch coming once the crew settles in. Until then, they're doing mock service this week for friends and family.

But if you get into a cab and tell the driver you want to go to "Trace," make sure to give an address. You could end up downtown, at the W Hotel's restaurant, called Trace. So far, the hotel peeps don't seem to have noticed.