It is now time — drumroll, please — to announce the winners of the 2015 Eater Awards in Seattle. These winners comprise a diverse group of the finest and most interesting chefs, restaurants, and bartenders in the city. They’ve defined this year in dining, and we applaud them.
First, a quick recap: Eater’s local editors in 24 cities nominated candidates for five major categories: Restaurant of the Year, Chef of the Year, Bartender of the Year, So Hot Right Now Restaurant, and Stone Cold Stunner. These awards are geared toward places that have opened in about the past year, or people who have become involved in new ventures or otherwise changed the game in that time, which is why many renowned veterans don’t appear. Eater readers then voted to narrow the field to a final three in each category. From that final three, the Eater editorial team chose one to move forward. Now, without further ado, here's who came out on top in Seattle.
Eater Awards 2015
Restaurant of the Year
Nominees: Manolin, Stateside, Naka, Girin, Omega Ouzeri
Finalists: Stateside, Omega Ouzeri, Naka
Stateside has been continually packed since it opened last December. It’s buzzy, but the food has consistently stood up to the hype. Eric Johnson's riff on Vietnamese classics is fresh, bold, and delightful, and the service is impeccable. Other restaurants should look to Stateside for how to do things right from start to finish.
Chef of the Year
Nominees: Edouardo Jordan, Shota Nakajima, Eric Johnson, Brady Williams, Blaine Wetzel
Finalists: Edouardo Jordan, Shota Nakajima, Eric Johnson
Winner: Edouardo Jordan
Edouardo Jordan is helping bringing the small neighborhood restaurant back into the spotlight. His newly opened Salare shows off impeccable cooking from a chef that has worked hard to rise through the ranks of some of the country’s—and the city’s—best restaurants.
Bartender of the Year
Nominees: Nik Virrey, Chris Elford, Adam Fream, Bridget Maloney, Anna Wallace
Finalists: Nik Virrey, Chris Elford, Adam Fream
Winner: Nik Virrey
Nik Virrey has managed to turn Naka, one of the city’s best Japanese restaurants—and best new restaurants right now—into an outstanding place for cocktails. He also won the Seattle competition of Bombay Sapphire’s 9th annual search for the Most Imaginative Bartender.
So Hot Right Now
Nominees: Omega Ouzeri, Super Six, Nue, Kedai Makan, Un Bien
Finalists: Omega Ouzeri, Nue, Super Six
Winner: Omega Ouzeri
Greek-born chef Thomas Soukakos has done solid Greek food for years in Seattle before opening big, airy Omega Ouzeri in Seattle’s buzziest neighborhood, Capitol Hill. The restaurant has stood up to its big-time competitors brought by the best chefs in the city. Great reviews have followed.
Stone Cold Stunner
Nominees: Stateside, Lark, Manolin, Girin, Carlile Room
Finalists: Stateside, Lark, Manolin
Stateside manages to be beautiful without being over the top. The subtle, tropical hues, palm frond wallpaper, naked light bulbs, and staghorn ferns help transport you to Southeast Asia. At a time when some restaurant décor can be overwrought and overdone, Stateside is a true original.