The International District’s about to get a spicy new dining destination. Chengdu Taste — the wildly popular Sichuan restaurant that started in the Los Angeles area, before expanding to multiple cities, including Hawaii, Houston, and Las Vegas — is getting closer to opening at the historic Publix building, the chain’s first Seattle location. Managing partner Sean Xie tells Eater Seattle that the company is finalizing some permits and other details (it recently applied for a liquor license), but it hopes to open the outpost sometime in early 2020, possibly as early as February, if all goes well.
Construction on the space started in August (a couple of months after details on its arrival first leaked), and the infrastructure for the restaurant is mostly finished. “We are importing decorative arts and furniture from China,” says Xie, explaining some of the work that still needs to be done. He adds that Chengdu Taste has been eyeing Seattle for years, and was the first city the chain considered for expansion outside of California. But it took some time to find the right spot and get the permitting process going. Now it looks like things are in the home stretch.
No matter when it arrives, diners are in for a treat. As Eater LA wrote in its Essential Sichuan Restaurants guide, “The cold spring onion chicken in pepper sauce is as silky as the best Hainan chicken, imparting that familiar citrusy-grassy numb taste that deepens with each bite.” And in a city that was once dominated by Cantonese cuisine, this is a welcome addition, continuing a trend toward more varied Chinese regional representation. Xie says the menu will hew closely to Chengdu Taste’s other locations, with some possible new additions that include Pacific Northwest influences.