99 Park Adds A Tasty Touch to Bellevue
Chef Quinton Stewart offers seared albacore tuna with quinoa tabbouleh and more
By Seattle Mag January 6, 2015
It’s a good time to be a diner in Bellevue. If the construction cranes hovering over the city weren’t already a dead giveaway, a lot is happening on the Eastside, and that certainly includes restaurants.
In August, former real estate developer turned restaurateur Micah Pittman opened the splashy 99 Park, sandwiched between Main Street and Bellevue Downtown Park (thus, the name). Pittman’s inaugural restaurant is off to a laudable start. The space resembles a lot of new restaurants in Seattle: reclaimed wood, chandeliers, soft lighting, hardwood floors, ironwork, exposed ducts, plush booths. It’s a polished, handsome place that looks like it’s ready to go out dancing.
Pittman had the good sense to leave 99 Park in the capable and eager-to-please hands of 28-year-old executive chef Quinton Stewart, who has worked under Maria Hines (Tilth), Brian McCracken and Dana Tough (Spur, The Coterie Room), Ashley Merriman (Branzino, The Waverly Inn) and Brendan McGill (Hitchcock). Considering that this is Stewart’s first executive chef title, the kid is all right. His plates are well composed, his menu approachable, and his flavor profiles nailed. Some of the many standout dishes include the roasted carrots with exceptionally kicky mole and Oregon Cotija cheese ($13), seared albacore tuna with quinoa tabbouleh and habañero aioli ($14) and possibly the best Korean-style fried “Sunday Supper” chicken platter ($30) to hit the software side of Lake Washington. Other dishes, such as the kale salad with miso dressing ($12) and fried polenta ($9), are a tad overseasoned, but for the most part, the kitchen crew is right on the money when it comes to execution.
The locally sourced, global menu crosses the bridge between the pretentious stereotype of Bellevue dining and the city’s creative culinary potential. “Eric and Sophie Bahn of Monsoon East and the guys at Cantinetta laid important groundwork for a restaurant like 99 Park to open in Old Bellevue,” Stewart says. With the addition of 1,000 new apartments within a quarter-mile of 99 Park, could this be the emergence of some seriously good eating in Bellevue? Fingers crossed. Dinner daily. Bellevue, 99 102nd Ave. NE; 425.999.3991; 99parkrestaurant.com.