After just a few weeks of Instagram buildup, Taurus Ox — which took over the small space formerly occupied by popular Thai restaurant Little Uncle — officially opens for business today, with Lao pork sausage, thom khem (a salty stew), soop pak (steamed vegetable salad), and other classic dishes from the region. Lunch service is from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., and dinner hours are from 5 to 9:30 p.m.
Three chefs with a strong Seattle restaurant pedigree are behind the new venture: Sydney Clark (former chef de cuisine at Poppy), Khampaeng Panyathong (who once worked at Herbfarm and originally hails from Laos), and Jenessa Sneva (from Lucinda Grain Bar, Salare, and Poppy). One thing to note is that all three have worked under James Beard-Award winning chef Jerry Traunfeld, who retired earlier this year, closing Poppy and turning the Sichuan restaurant Lionhead to new owners. It wouldn’t be a surprise if his dedication to locally-sourced ingredients show up prominently at Taurus Ox.
Indeed, there will be plenty of Pacific Northwest influences at the new restaurant, which will use produce from local farms, and a whole animal approach to butchery. On the drinks side, the place will be alcohol free for a few months, while the liquor license is sorted out. “In the meantime, we will have our house sodas on tap, as well as our takes on iced coffee and iced tea,” co-owner Clark told Eater Seattle last week.
Taurus Ox should be a welcome addition in a city where Laotian food is underrepresented. There are some places that mix in some Lao food with Thai offerings, such as Viengthong, Vientiane Asian Grocery, and Song Phang Kong, and there’s the Laotian conveyor belt hot pot restaurant in Bellevue, Blazing Bowl. But restaurants that showcase the cuisine exclusively are a relative rarity.