North Seattle is about to get a taste of central Washington. Eight Row — the new farm to table restaurant from up-and-coming chef David Nichols — will open on Woodlawn Avenue NE in Green Lake tomorrow, showcasing the ingredients, influences, and aesthetics from the Wenatchee, WA, orchards that Nichols’s family owns and operates. That means a constantly rotating menu heavy on seasonal produce and meats. For instance, the late summer-early fall items will include venison and pork sausage with stone fruit and fermented jicama, sweet corn cavatelli with tomato confit, and bison tartare with pistachio puree and pickled Rainier cherries. The restaurant’s name is borrowed from a term referring to large cherry size.
Diners can also expect influences from Mexico and Central America, whether it’s the black cod ceviche with tomatillo granita, the equites alongside the half-smoked chicken, or the hot sauces and beef fat tortillas that go with the braised lamb shoulder. “Many of the people we worked with on the orchards growing up were from those areas, and you’ll find many flavors of our childhood come out in our menu,” says Nichols, who worked at Queen Anne Beer Hall and the well-received downtown restaurant Rider before this venture (he will run Eight Row with his younger brother, Ian, a financial analyst).
In keeping with the family farm theme, customers will find plenty of pickled and fermented goods in jars along the walls in the bright, fetching dining room (with seating for around 70 and some additional tables on an outdoor patio). There are green walnuts soaking in grain alcohol that will eventually be used to make nocino for cocktails, and plums fermenting for wine. Green plant life adorns pretty much every nook and cranny, and the bar is decorated with a striking floral mural.
In case the countryfied vibe wasn’t obvious enough, those at the bar will no doubt notice the sharp implements on the taps — those are old pruners that Nichols’s family once used, sanded down to take the edges off so that bartenders can avoid major flesh wounds. There are also some other farming tools lying around the place, including a hog holder (which is exactly what it sounds like). “Might be useful for the drunk guys at the bar,” Nichols jokes.
Customers can expect an extensive cocktail list, with drinks named after apple, cherry, and plum cultivars (a term for desirable cultivated plants). The happy hour — available Monday through Friday, from 4 p.m.-6 p.m. — will include four or five food items, including a king crab corndog. There will also be a brunch menu that has a pig’s head dish and a rockfish sandwich with grilled kimchi, and a kid’s menu with some healthy options.
Ultimately, since the elements of his childhood are written all over Eight Row’s DNA, Nichols says he wants his restaurant to be a family-friendly place that “people can come to a few times a month and always find something new.” For him and his brother, that’s a key part of delivering the flavors from home.