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Ballard’s New Cafe Opens with Toasts A-Plenty and a Strong Coffee Pedigree

Sabine takes over the space formerly occupied by French favorite Bastille

Three toasts sit on white plates; the one to the far left has nut butter, the one to the right has red jam and ricotta; and the one in the back has a mix of different jams with ricotta.
Among the food options are toasts topped with nut butter and ricotta and jam.
Sabine [Official Photo]

Comfort food and counter service appear to be two key elements to restaurants opening during the pandemic. At least that’s the case for the new Sabine, which opens in Ballard Wednesday, October 28, bringing a variety of breakfast sandwiches, cinnamon rolls, and fancy toasts, with beverages from one of the main coffee moguls in Seattle.

The new spot comes from local restaurateurs James Weimann and Deming Maclise, who announced that their French favorite Bastille Cafe & Bar would not reopen after it closed in March during the state’s stay-at-home order. In its place comes Sabine, which is named after Maclise’s eldest daughter and brings some of his coffee expertise as the founder of the popular mini chain Caffe Fiore and the current owner of Caffe Vita. Roasts from those two operations will be on hand, with plenty of espressos, cold brews, chai, and matcha lattes — but the beverages won’t be limited to coffee. Among some of the boozy choices are ginger spritz with cava, lillet blanc, and candied ginger, as well as a bourbon tea thyme concoction, plus wine, cider, and beer.

As befitting an all-day cafe, the food menu will be short and sweet, with some intriguing twists. Rather than a classic BEC, the breakfast sandwich has seven-day pastrami, pickled mustard seed aioli, fried egg, and spicy greens on a brioche bun, while the cinnamon roll is made with a Yemenite Jewish pull-apart yeast bread flavored with cardamom. There will be six kinds of toasts to choose from (including one topped with white fish and another with wild chanterelles), plus whole roasted chicken with sauces on the side, such as zhoug, chili crisp, and harissa, for those with heartier appetites. Chef Jacob Dunkelberger — who began his career at local hot pots like Spinasse and Portage Bay Café — is a fan of fermentation and Pacific Northwest ingredients, as well as spices inspired by his travels to Israel and the Mediterranean, so diners should expect some rotating seasonal items.

There will be limited dine-in service to start at half capacity, but Sabine seems to be geared for those more comfortable with takeout, as there’s a sidewalk takeout window and contactless payment options. There are six tables outside, which the cafe shares with neighboring restaurant The Ballard Cut, and the terrace area is open for seating with some covering and heat. The restaurant also plans to make some use out of the back bar from Bastille when it’s safe to do so.

The rooftop garden longtime Bastille customers came to know and love is closed to the public for now, but it will be utilized for growing ingredients, and the bees that inhabit it make the honey for Sabine’s nut butter toast. Inside, there’s a mini market with pantry items for sale, such as jams, nut butters, salsas, and sauces from the restaurant’s recipes.

“Of course, there is still so much uncertainty about what might happen with COVID, but it has been nice to feel optimistic about something for once in a long time,” says manager Kathryn Meyer, a longtime employee of the Weimann-Maclise restaurant group. “Opening Sabine has been a bright spot for all of us involved, getting to create something new and delicious that hopefully brings some joy to our customers.”

Sabine

5307 Ballard Ave NW, Seattle, WA 98107 Visit Website

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