Chef and owner of some 16 Seattle restaurants Tom Douglas is back: Douglas opens a new fast-casual restaurant, Department Bento, in an Eastside Nordstrom store today (June 18), in conjunction with the retail chain.
It’s Douglas’ first move on the Eastside, replacing the former Nordstrom Grill on the second floor of the Bellevue Square location of the department store.
As the restaurant’s name firmly implies, the menu centers heavily around Japanese bento boxes — a small take-out-friendly tray or box divided into sections and generally filled with some combination of meat, rice, and vegetables.
Douglas has experience with the format before: his Belltown restaurant Tanakasan features a build-your-own bento box item on its lunch menu. Department Bento is taking a similar approach: choose between a bento box, rice bowl, or salad, pick a type of rice, vegetable options, and a “main” (meat or tofu). Options include teriyaki skirt steak, seared tofu, sockeye salmon, and albacore tuna poke; vegetables seem to get creative with options like matcha green beans. The bowls go for around $15 to $18.
While it’s certainly a casual spot, the 70-seat restaurant is also serving alcohol — expect wine, Japanese beers and cocktails, as well as sake slushies; Japanese sodas are also on hand on the non-alcoholic side.