Famed Seattle restaurateur Tom Douglas (Dahlia Lounge, Palace Kitchen, and too many others to list here) is partnering with Nordstrom on his first Eastside restaurant, Department Bento, serving customizable Bento boxes inside Nordstrom Bellevue Square in late spring. The fast-casual spot will replace the department store’s Grill, which is set to close on March 4.
Department Bento is, of course, inspired by the Japanese concept of several small bites, like fish, noodles, and pickled vegetables, packed into a compartmentalized container, easy for dining in or taking out. Bentos are prepared at home as well as sold in convenience stores, train stations, and designated bento shops.
Douglas and company didn’t offer specific menu examples, but promise a “contemporary restaurant featuring scratch made ingredients” including Bristol Bay sockeye salmon. Alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages will be available, too. The bento box is a popular menu item at Douglas’s Tanakasan restaurant in the Denny Regrade, which nudged Douglas to export it to the Eastside.
The new restaurant, which will be owned and operated by Nordstrom, doesn’t yet have an exact opening date, but it’s expected to land this spring sometime after Grill closes on March 4.