Every kitchen has its own rhythm, it's own sound. Like an orchestra, many working parts make something beautiful. At 84 Yesler, the restaurant's open kitchen is, literally, center stage.
"I think it's great that people can watch," said Christina Siegl, executive chef of Seattl's 84 Yesler. "It's a really unique experience to see behind the scenes right up front."
Located in a historic building in the heart of Pioneer Square, 84 Yesler's lack of walls is reflective of the restaurant's approach to food.
"We are just so much about hospitality and making everybody comfortable," said Siegl. "We like to call ourself a kitchen without borders, meaning we're not Italian or French or anything like that. We can take inspiration from anybody and anywhere."
A native of the Northwest, Siegl spent several years working in Michelin-starred restaurants around Germany before she felt the pull to return home to Seattle.
"My approach is, really, as fresh as possible, as local as possible, seasonal. I really base the menu off of what is available and what can be found. I know a lot of foragers who say 'Hey, I found this really cool thing. Do you want to do something with it?' And (the answer) is always a yes," explained Siegl.
Sometimes, Siegl doesn't have to go searching for fresh ingredients. Instead, they come right to 84 Yesler's front door.
"One of the best farmers in the world is Annie (Utigard) from The King's Garden in the Methow Valley. She drives all the way out to Seattle and stops by the restaurant to show me the most beautiful produce you can get. Unique ingredients, high-quality ingredients, anything you want. It's beautiful," said Siegl as she pulled cases of fresh peaches, squash blossoms and rare varieties of eggplant to use on her menu.
Diners have the option to experience 84 Yesler in two distinct ways: a six-course chef's tasting menu or a more casual a la carte menu of small and large plates.
"We do have a couple signature dishes, of course. Our fine herb Pappardelle, that's always a favorite," said Siegl. "Our seared foie gras with foie gras-infused cotton candy, that's also a favorite. And, of course, the apple cake is going to be one of our staples, too."
The focus of many dishes is fresh, Northwest seafood, including some varieties that may be unfamiliar to diners, like skate.
"This is one of the things I really like doing. (Skate) is something you wouldn't buy at a grocery store, right? What would you do with it? But doing this, I can show people exactly what you can do with it," explained Siegl, as she put the finishing touches on a dish of skate with a sauce of brown butter, caper and lemon juice.
That is the beauty of 84 Yesler. The dining experience is designed to be whatever you want (or need) it to be. A place where food and hospitality come together in perfect harmony.
"It's fine dining without the pressure or fussy stuff. You can enjoy fine dining in a relaxed atmosphere. That's exactly what this is."
Check out 84 Yesler here.