Since Hotel Albatross opened just over a month ago, Ballard has been swarming in for tiki cocktails. The food emphasis has been somewhat of an incomplete exploration of their "exotic street food" goals, with dishes ranging from puffy tacos to pinch buns, som tum to totchos. But co-owner Zach Harjo tells Eater a whole bunch of changes are in store for the former Azteca space.
The "exotic street food" concept will soon add bites inspired by Burma, India, and possibly Sicily and Uraguay. Our fingers are crossed that Burmese bent will include a tea leaf salad and other impossible-to-find-in-Seattle dishes from the cuisine.
Says Harjo, "we will curate seasonal changes and indulge our obsessions as we discover or remember them. Travel is an important component here. Many dishes are the result of being hungry in the streets of some country or other."
The current chef at the restaurant is Chris Howell, formerly at Tom Douglas spots, and now in charge of the kitchens at both Ocho and Albatross.
Another big change is the addition of an oyster night, called the "Bearded Clam," which kicks off March 9. Starting this Monday, Anthony Pane—who used to hold down the oyster game at The Walrus & The Carpenter—is taking over the front bar to shuck oysters to order. He'll be picking the freshest bivalves from Marinelli Shellfish, pairing them with mignonettes, and pouring sparkling wines and cocktails.
The front bar will also be pulling daytime duties coming soon as the Daiquiri Bar cafe, with boozy espresso bevs, and breakfast with nods to the south of France, Southeast Asia, Greece, and more. Look for breakfast burritos, Basque tarts, and possibly some savory donuts.
Lastly, starting March 23, Albatross will be launching a weekly Monday Industry Brunch. Starting at 11 a.m. and lasting until they're "out of Fernet and sheer will," they're offering up brunch to the hungover horde of industry folk craving a cure. The cuisine will mimic their current dinner menu, with Asian- and Mexican-influenced dishes, including breakfast tacos and burritos, a puffy ranchera ("a flatter puffy taco with red chili sauce, cranberry refritos, and a sunny-up egg"), congee, maybe ramen, a torta with a fried egg, chilaquiles, and a "Hungover Line Cook Breakfast." The latter consists of a single slice of French toast, thick bacon, scrambled eggs with green chilis, cheddar, "rip your cock off hot" hot sauce, and tots-browns, but "no fucking toast." Harjo says "normals are allowed too," if you're tempted to mix with industry types and aren't one yourself.
They'll also be making a vegan omelette that is the "Destroying Angel" of all other vegan omelettes, and housemade bread and pastries are on the likely list. Industry folk are invited to wash it all down with a kimchee bloody, fresh-pressed coconut mimosas, and boozy (vitamin-replacement-strategy) smoothies.
A warning to the truly too hungover to see straight: Albatross announces that a live tiki band is "in the works."