New Restaurant Marron: 5 Beautiful Dishes to Try

By Leslie Kelly  |  June 24, 2014
Credit: Claire Nelson

Culinary power couple Eric and Zarina Sakai — Hawaii natives who worked at places like Acquerello and The French Laundry in the Bay Area — recently opened Restaurant Marron in a historic space on Capitol Hill that's been home to many restaurants that didn't make it, most recently Olivar. But with the genius creations coming out of the kitchen and the warm, welcoming service in the dining room, we have a feeling they're going to have a nice, long run. Here are a few standout dishes you should definitely try. But take note: chef Eric's menu is constantly evolving, based on what's freshest.

  • Credit: Claire Nelson

    Porcini mushrooms

    These locally foraged mushrooms are halved and seared before they're set afloat in a ridiculously rich bone marrow broth, which is thickened by the presence of a perfectly poached egg. Sweet sugar snap peas and bread crumbs add color and crunch to this intensely satisfying dish that blows away every other mushroom preparation we've tried so far this season.

  • Wild striped bass

    This East Coast fish rarely surfaces on menus in the Northwest and that's a shame because it has everything that's good about a white fish: firm flesh and a mild yet distinctive flavor that doesn't wilt when paired with strong seasonings. In this stellar preparation, the skin is seared until crisp. The bowl is filled with an elegant lemongrass-coconut emulsion, tender green garbanzos, bok choy and celtuce, a root vegetable that tastes like a cross between celery and carrots. Many of the unusual veggies are custom-grown for the restaurant by Present Tense Farm in Carnation.

  • Pork brisket

    This novel preparation will make pork fans weep for joy. The tough cut is first dry-cured and then cooked sous vide for many hours. It's finished on the grill and served alongside smoked Rainier cherries and a kohlrabi puree. The balsamic drizzled on the plate is aged in barrels made of cherry wood, a thoughtful detail that's not gratuitous, just delicious.

  • Tandoori octopus  

    We were initially skeptical about the strawberry sauce that accompanies this wonderfully seasoned, amazingly tender octopus. But it was more savory than sweet and worked to heighten the earthy spiciness of the dish. The wilted chrysanthemum greens bring a pleasantly bitter note to the party.  

  • Wine pairings

    Zarina, a front-of-the-house alum of the French Laundry, is brilliant at pairing unusual wines not often found on Seattle wine lists with her husband's complex creations. A lovely Luis Pato brut made with aromatic Maria Gomes grapes from Portugal was a fine complement to the octopus, for instance. The pairing option is available for the prix-fixe dinners and you should consider putting yourself in Zarina's capable hands.

  • Milk chocolate ice cream

    This not-too-sweet dessert is made with goat's milk but you'd never know it from the delicate flavor — only from the lighter texture. The twice-backed almond crumble reminds us a little bit of eating cookies-and-cream ice cream. But the finish of sea salt and olive oil makes it a very grown-up treat, especially when paired with a Boston Bual Special Reserve Madeira.