'Cool comfort food' close at hand
While Madrona may be a bit off the Madison Park Blogger's beat, our near-neighbor up the hill is certainly not off the beaten path of many Madison Parkers who enjoy a good meal and prefer not to have to go very far to find it. We've long been a fan of St. Clouds, a homey, family-friendly, good-food establishment that's been a staple of the Madrona community for a dozen years. Now, for those who haven't already made the discovery for themselves, we're shining our spotlight on Restaurant Bea, which made its debut in late March.
Originally a collaboration of Kate Perry and chef Tom Black, Restaurant Bea has garnered some solid reviews since its opening four months ago, including this from The Seattle Times ("winsome country charm with an urban edge") and this from The Seattle Weekly ("comfy and stylish").
The menu is both "down-home" and upscale, with dinner entree prices ranging from $12 (the Painted Hills burger) to $23 (the rabbit and agnolotti). The food menu for Happy Hour (Tuesday through Saturday, 5-6 pm in the new 22-seat bar) includes clams & chorizo with fennel-tomato broth, mac & cheese, and braised rabbit pot pie, each for $5. Restaurant Bea has a full bar and a nice selection of craft cocktails (one of which, The Frankie, was the subject of a notice in a recent issue of Food & Wine).
Brunch, which is served 10 am to 2 pm on Saturday and Sunday, ranges from strata, brioche french toast and fritters to lamb burger and mussels---and, of course, as a side: fried Spam.
The restaurant also boasts a four-seat chef's table, located in the kitchen, at which a five-course tasting menu is served.
The chef doing the serving, however, will not be Tom Black, who recently "parted ways" with Kate Perry (her words). There's a new guy in the kitchen, though Perry is mum about the details of the split and who, exactly is now cooking up the fennel vichyssiose. But he made his debut last week and "working with him has been smashing," Perry tells us. Seattle Met's Nosh Pitt blog quotes Perry as saying she doesn't want the place to be considered a "chef run" restaurant, and she said much the same thing to us.
In its short run to date, what Restaurant Bea has been offering its patrons is simply good food and friendly service in a pleasant, relaxing atmosphere. We can only hope that what's already good about this new entry on the Madrona scene is enhanced by the chef change and not undermined.
Restaurant Bea's space (1423 34th Avenue) was successively the home of Cremant (2008-2009) and June (2010-2011), two well-regarded restaurants that, for whatever reasons, just were unable to make a go of it. Perhaps the third time's a charm for this location, with Restaurant Bea enjoying not only good reviews but longevity as well.