Perfecto Rocher and Alia Zaine, noted chefs who recently moved from LA to Seattle and announced a series of pop-ups, have already found a brick and mortar space: the home of Tray Kitchen, whose owner/chef Heong Soon Park will sell the restaurant and focus on his other two spots, Bacco and Chan.
"Tray has been financially successful, but it is a big undertaking. I need to pull back a bit on my work life and focus in on my wife and kids," Park said in a statement. Tray closes after service on Saturday, April 2, a year and a half after opening.
The new business, a combination restaurant and cooking school, will inherit the name of Rocher and Zaine's pop-up concept, Tarsan i Jane. It will host as yet unspecified pop-ups from the couple on April 15, 16, 22, and 23 before opening officially in May. Gift certificates from Tray may be honored at Chan, Bacco, and Tarsan i Jane through April 2017.
Rocher told Eater he's nervous as he didn't anticipate finding the perfect opportunity so soon, but he's excited to do his own thing, free from investors — in the past, he admits, he's clashed with outsiders who expected him not to take risks with his menu.
Rocher will lead the kitchen, which will be outfitted with an 11-foot wood-fired oven as its primary cooking surface, and Zaine will manage the front of house. The couple plan to make a name for Spanish cooking, particularly Rocher's native Valencian-Catalan cuisine, which they feel is underrepresented and misunderstood compared to, say, French or Italian fare.
Tarsan i Jane will open four days a week, Thursday to Sunday, with Sunday brunch focusing on Rocher's paella, famously approved by LA Times critic Jonathan Gold. Nearly the entire wine list will be Spanish, while the draft beers are expected to come from nearby breweries.