Anchoring the up-and-coming Union Street in Capitol Hill sits three adjacent dining outposts from lauded chef Renee Erickson. Doughnut shop General Porpoise, steak restaurant Bateau and, our personal favorite, Bar Melusine make up a new trifecta in Erickson’s growing family of heavy-hitting restaurants in Seattle. Renee, who recently nabbed the 2016 James Beard Best Chef Northwest, describes Melusine as “our love letter to the French Atlantic”. If you’ve dined at any of her restaurants like the late Boat Street Café (her first) or The Walrus & Carpenter (perhaps her most sought-after), chances are you understand Renee’s affinity for ‘the sea’. Bar Melusine is very much a continuation on that train of thought but executed in a way that feels special from the rest. Walking into the Melusine space you are immediately greeted with a pop of cheerful greens; mint and sea foam tiles seemingly dance across the floor and aquamarine stools command your attention. These colorful accents are grounded by a white and airy backdrop, gorgeous brass and heavy white marble throughout. Renee Erickson is a master at achieving elegance without pretension and is celebrated almost as much for her strong design sensibilities as she is for her cooking. At Melusine you get the impression right away that your entire meal will be as captivating and beautiful as the interior itself- and you would not be wrong in assuming so.
The french-inspired menu, which takes its cues from Normandy and Brittany, is seafood focused but equally weighted with meat and vegetables which all come from her farm La Ferme des Anes on Whidbey Island. Offerings from the menu are always changing in order to share the freshest ingredients and also to scratch whatever seasonal itches Renee's chefs may have. Each vibrant dish (like the fried fish skin with salmon roe and radishes, pictured below) seems to play in chorus with the color palette of the space in an impressive way. Their drink list boasts mostly French wine purveyors and cocktails that lean heavily in the world of brandy and vermouth. And at the heart of the restaurant: a fresh oyster bar offering up the best in briny selections from local waters. Expect simple but inventive flavor combinations, a casual atmosphere perfect for a post-work repose, and a sharp service team that is as excited about your dining experience as Renee herself.
To Eat: You might have come for oysters but make sure to save room for their signature savory buckwheat crepes.
To Drink: It’s hard to go wrong with a carefully curated wine list like theirs but we always enjoy a glass of sparkling rose like their cremant de loire from Chateau Brézé.
1060 E Union St
Seattle, WA 98109