Update #3, 8/25/16: It's official: Vestal did, indeed, open to the public on Tuesday, August 23, so you can now get in and experience Josh Henderson's latest project, and perhaps even catch the man himself at work.
Update #2, 8/15/16: Another false alarm: After the previous update, the Vestal team revealed the restaurant will be closed Mondays, so the official opening will be next Tuesday, August 23. Still, maybe call ahead before you try to drop in unannounced.
Update #1, 8/15/16: False alarm, dear readers: Just after Eater published this story, the Vestal team decided to postpone the official opening until next Monday, August 22. A representative said the soft opening weekend went well but the restaurant needs a little more time to square everything away. For now, the photos will have to do while you continue imagining your first meal there.
Original story: Today's the day that busy restaurateur Josh Henderson steps back into the kitchen regularly, as his group, Huxley Wallace Collective, opens Vestal in South Lake Union. The establishment, originally slated for March, joins Henderson's Bar Noroeste taqueria and Great State Burger outpost in the booming Amazon neighborhood.
Vestal is centered around a large, wood-fired hearth — appropriate for the name, which refers to the Roman goddess Vesta and her Vestal Virgins, who maintained the sacred fire burning at her temples. Henderson plans to spend a few days a week tending his own wood fire, paying homage to the ingredients and seasons of the Pacific Northwest.
Henderson will be supported by chef de cuisine Andrew Iacono, who has worked with Chicago's Alinea Group and came to Seattle in January via Boston. Since, he's helped dial in the experience at a variety of Henderson's spots, including mainstays like Westward as well as this spring's crop of newcomers.
At Vestal, expect an eclectic, locally-focused menu that could change as often as every day. Dishes the chefs are particularly excited about to start are the bouillabaisse as well as a zucchini cake with blueberries, corn ice cream, and candied squash blossom. "Some classics and fan favorites will last but for the most part they'll be playing with the menu quite a bit," a representative for the company told Eater.
There are about 50 seats in the space with room for eight at the chef's counter. In the photos above, check out the interior, whose cozy wood tones and plentiful natural light call to mind another of Henderson's new spots, Scout at the Thompson hotel.
513 Westlake Ave N, website. Open Sunday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday 5 to 10 p.m., Friday to Saturday 5 to 11 p.m.