Bellevue’s first James Beard Award-winning chef opens at new W Bellevue hotel
Jason Wilson, the James Beard Award-winning chef-owner behind Miller’s Guild and the former, critically acclaimed Crush, announced details about his forthcoming restaurant, The Lakehouse, a vibrant, modern Northwest farmhouse, and Civility & Unrest, a craft cocktail bar with a contemporary speakeasy vibe. Both are slated to open June 15 on two separate floors of the new W Bellevue hotel in the Lincoln Square Expansion, part of The Bellevue Collection.
From The Lakehouse’s seasonal ingredients to its refined, personally inspired décor, the restaurant evokes a welcoming environment that is both familiar and elegant. The inspiration for The Lakehouse name and concept followed Wilson’s reflection on the area’s sense of place and evolution: early settlements, lake homes and small farms; a bedroom community once the first bridge was built; and today, a budding metropolis steeped in arts and technology.
Each season’s menu puts the spotlight on the produce sourced from Wilson’s ever-evolving grower and farmer relationships. Wilson’s concept of a “Modern Northwest Farmhouse,” reflects simple, clean, and fresh craft cooking. Illustrated through the produce-driven concept at the highest level of detail and imagination, the menu is accented with local seafoods and meats, handmade pasta and a housemade larder.
The menu displays a philosophy of total usage of the products and unique techniques employed by the kitchen that elevate an authentic approach of quality and flavor, rather than masking or creating something different. Embracing the Northwest through its ingredients, the menu is packed with small plates (“Forest & Garden” and “Sound Sea & Rivers”), large plates and shareable plates, all telling a story of inspiration and purpose:
Maple & Moroccan Spice Roasted Carrots, goats milk labne, chiles, almonds, mint are inspired by Wilson’s fondness for root vegetables and display an approach that is both simple, yet dynamic in flavor, texture and experience.
The Curry Roasted Cauliflower achieves depth in flavor and showcases the vegetable at its cleanest when prepared with green apple, herb hummus, preserved lemon, kale pesto and ver jus, the signature acid for the restaurant.
Drawing the diner into a family-style experience indicative of creating memories in a home, the shareable Grilled Wild Alaska Halibut T-bone, Mustard Green pesto, smoked clam remoulade, sautéed spinach with lemon, saffron potatoes instills a distinctive Northwest spin on a classic American steak preparation.
Located on the second floor of W Bellevue, The Lakehouse’s layout offers many visual areas of interest. Wilson was heavily involved in the design aspects of both The Lakehouse and Civility & Unrest. For the restaurant, he intended to elicit the feeling of walking into an entertainer’s lake home with vernacular ideas of a house seen through a refined and primitive interpretation. Below the massive trestles is a thoughtful division of rooms with a “living room” and “garden” entry with a communal table and lounge seating; the bar welcomes with inviting counter height marble while the “butler’s pantry” features visible work tops and shelving. Additional seating of banquettes and booths are seen throughout, as well as counter seating at the chefs counter fronting the exhibition grill and working kitchen.
The semi-private “wild primitive” room features porcelain antler sconces and another optional private dining space of “wild modern” features mirrors and screens for subtle transparency at two large tables flanked by a wall of thoughtfully procured wine bottles.
The area’s history is seen in the interior surface of vertical charred wood inspired by shou sugi ban, the wood used for preserving by Japanese migrant workers in the area. Pops of “Lakehouse Blue” are subtly viewed through the sophisticatedly rugged and wild space, accented by soft lighting, polished surfaces and a living column of fresh herbs utilized for food and drink.
Civility & Unrest, located on the street level below The Lakehouse, is a plush cocktail bar inspired by a modern, underground speakeasy, where adults of all ages can retreat for a quality craft cocktail without the nightclub chaos, day or night. Small bites offered on the menu complement the Northwest-inspired craft cocktails showcasing local distillers, and the flowing Champagne and sparkling selections, which run a close second.
Framed as a cocktail experience steeped in discovery, the modern speakeasy factor starts with a commissioned, hand-painted mural which guests must walk behind to access a heavily draped entrance. A long bar in the front prominently shows off craft spirits in a lively, communal space; toward the back awaits a provocative and sophisticated space that offers a mix of plush seating, including a large rounded banquette on one wall, tall tables, and bar seating with an opulent chandelier overhead. Although there is a spot for a DJ to play music, expect only ambient lounge music, leaving room for spirited conversation. Other entertainment will range from fashion shows, tattoo artists, unplugged sessions, and trunk shows, all showcasing regional artisans.
Both The Lakehouse and Civility & Unrest are owned by Wilson and are run independently by Wilson along with his El Gaucho Hospitality partners. Wilson will also provide room service for W Bellevue’s 220 rooms and 25 suites. In partnership with Kemper Development, Wilson will soon announce a suite of programming and amenities for Two Lincoln Tower, the luxury apartments atop W Bellevue and Lincoln Square South.
The Lakehouse and Civility & Unrest, opening June 15, are located at Lincoln Square Expansion’s new W Bellevue, off Bellevue Way at 10455 NE 5th Place, Bellevue; enter through the hotel or via the Lincoln Square South main retail corridor. The Lakehouse, open daily for breakfast, lunch, dinner and late night, is found on the second floor and Civility & Unrest is at the street level. W Bellevue is part of The Bellevue Collection, which includes Lincoln Square, Bellevue Square and Bellevue Place. Stay up to date on developments by visiting chefjasonwilson.com, thelakehousebellevue.com and civilityandunrest.com.
About Chef Jason Wilson
Chef Jason Wilson is a James Beard Award-winning chef and one of Food & Wine magazine’s Best New Chefs. Wilson is the chef-owner of the forthcoming Civility & Unrest and The Lakehouse opening in Bellevue on June 15, 2017, chef-owner of Miller’s Guild restaurant, executive chef of Coffee Flour, culinary director of El Gaucho Hospitality and runs his own culinary consultancy business. His first restaurant, critically acclaimed CRUSH, received local and national awards and positioned Wilson as a leader in Northwest cuisine and innovative techniques. Visit ChefJasonWilson.com and follow @ChefJasonWilson on Instagram.