One of the year’s most anticipated new restaurant openings is starting to take shape. Former Canlis chef Brady Williams revealed some new details to Seattle Met about his forthcoming White Center spot, Tomo, announcing plans to open September 9. In addition, Tomo’s website has gone live with some sample menus, interactive food collages, and (perhaps most importantly) a link to an active reservation page via Tock.
The restaurant will have two five-course tasting menus for dinner at $68 per person (including one vegetarian), with an emphasis on seasonal produce, and a couple of supplemental options, such as uni pizza. Tomo will also be open for lunch on the weekends featuring a la carte items, including rockfish ceviche, cured duck breast with hazelnut and melon, grilled spot prawns, lamb belly with fava beans, and shiso and chocolate chip ice cream sandwiches.
The California-born Williams made his bones in the Dallas dining scene, then New York City, working at famed pizzeria Roberta’s and the two-Michelin-starred Blanca. He joined Canlis as its sixth-ever executive chef in 2015 at the age of 29, before departing in February to open his own restaurant. The chef’s menus at Canlis often showed influences from his Japanese heritage on his mother’s side of the family, and those will carry over to the new place (Tomo is named after Williams’s 94-year-old grandmother, Tomoko Ishiwata Bristol, his “biggest source of inspiration”).
Williams — who lives in the South End — told Seattle Met he chose the location at 9811 16th Avenue SW because it was “big enough that it’s vibrant and fun, but not so big that it feels out of control.” When it opens, Tomo will have room for 28 inside, as well as an outdoor patio out back for both lunch and dinner service. It’ll be right next to popular Beer Star on one side and adult-oriented Taboo Video on the other, which the restaurant seems to embrace with a prominent Taboo shout out on the website. The chef also praised the tight-knit White Center community, which rallied around to help businesses down the block destroyed by a recent fire.
Tomo will have a small team to start, including fellow Canlis alum Diana Mata Garcia as chef de cuisine, who hints that there could be some arepas from her native Venezuela making an appearance on the menu. They’ll be joined by pastry chef Richard Garcia (no relation to Diana), bar manager Greg Bonney, and wine director Andy Comer curating a list of over 200 labels, with an emphasis on low intervention offerings and about a quarter of wines coming from women-led producers.
Perhaps one of the more intriguing aspects of the new place, though? Williams said the bathrooms will play whale sounds, and servers will be required to be knowledgeable of orcas, in case guests have any questions: “We’re a mile from the water!” he said.