The onetime 2nd Story space atop Cellar Door Roasters has welcomed new life in the form of Fenrir, a seasonally driven small-plates restaurant by chef Ian Wilson, sommelier Tyler Hauptman, and bartender John James Dudek. Fenrir made its debut last week, and while the spot gets its name from a Norse legend (and Wilson says there's a "decent amount" of Scandinavian influence), the trio notes its menu is more inspired by the Pacific NW's temperate climate than being associated with the Nomas of the world: "We decided we should find a cuisine that matches our climate," Wilson says. "It's been fun for all of us, but none of us have a background in Scandinavian stuff at all… we knew it was going to be a challenge, but in a good kind of way."
The result is what the trio call a "small-plates bar [that] moonlights as a fine dining restaurant," with a more focused version of the "lighthearted and fun" menus Fenrir offered during a series of pre-opening pop-ups. Current dishes include pickled mackrel, caul fat sausage with fried parsnip puree, and braised smoked ham hock with fermented cabbage and boiled potatoes. On the wine list, Hauptman features Old World-style, aromatic white wines from Italy and Germany (expect lots of Rieslings); Dudek's bar emphasizes brandy while sticking to classic cocktails — even cocktails with "negative" associations, like daiquiris and Cosmos.
Regarding the "fine-dining moonlighting," the Fenrir team also plan to launch a one-a-week chef's tasting menu, during which the regular a la carte dinner service is swapped for a "10-12 course, grand affair," Wilson says. The tasting menu's still six to eight weeks away, but coming much sooner: Launch of Sunday lunch (not brunch) service, offering sandwiches and a lower-proof cocktail list. ("Our ideal version of a lazy Sunday was sleeping in, not standing in line [for brunch.]")
Fenrir is open now. Hours of operation: Wednesday through Saturday, 4p.m. to 1a.m.
· Fenrir [Official site]