The Butcher's Table, touted last month as "Seattle's next great luxury restaurant," has announced its management team. The project from Sugar Mountain (of Beecher's Handmade Cheese fame, among many others) will be headed by executive chef Morgan Mueller and his wife, pastry chef Ellie Mueller, both of whom arrive from San Francisco's Jardiniére. They're joined by general manager and wine director Anthony Casiello, who was most recently at Mastro's Steakhouse in Beverly Hills.
Sugar Mountain proprietor Kurt Dammeier told Eater he's aiming high for his latest venture, and he felt he had to recruit key players with experience on a grander scale. "Our restaurant's going to be different. It's not the standard 55-seat, chef-driven restaurant that's kind of stock in trade in Seattle," he says. "It's the kind that exists more in LA, New York, San Francisco, and Las Vegas. Not that there aren't great chefs here, but there aren't very many great chefs who are used to working in a bigger format, in a bigger kitchen, with lots of people and lots of moving parts."
"Two or three years ago I don't think you had to be that great a restaurant to be full."
Part of the reason Dammeier is going for such a high-end concept is that he's convinced Seattle is hitting peak restaurant scene. "Two or three years ago I don't think you had to be that great a restaurant to be full, maybe just be in the right area," he muses. He sees The Butcher's Table as cutting through the clutter, rather than adding to it.
"We have a high bar for not only the food but the service, for the rooms," Dammeier says. "We'll have an in-house butcher shop, a rockin' bar, live music, and stay open late, and a kind of swanky, subterranean dining room." Most of the large ground floor windows open, too, which will be perfect for summer.
Dammeier's confident his company can influence the growth of the South Lake Union area, sometimes known as Amazonia for the influx of the tech giant. "I think in two years it's going to be Seattle's only 18-hour dense neighborhood," he speculates, and "I think our restaurant has a chance to, maybe, set a tone."
The Butcher's Table will serve all wagyu beef, produced by another Sugar Mountain subsidiary, Mishima Reserve. The coveted, fat-marbled meat, which originates in Japan, is a big draw for serious carnivores. "The fact that we grow our own is a real important differentiator," Dammeier says. "I think it's way better, and people are understanding and appreciating it more every year."
Don't expect your server to plop down a side of outdated creamed spinach next to it, either. Dammeier says diners should "imagine mashing up a standard old school steakhouse with a modern chef-driven restaurant."
Dammeier promises The Butcher's Table will be open by mid-July at the latest. He also admits the difficulty of making any promises in the food industry. "Every restaurant, until it opens, it's like a baby in the womb. 'It's never going to cry and it's definitely going to Harvard,'" he says. "The minute it's born, you have to deal with shit."