I am, at best, like an E-list celebrity in Seattle – which basically means that I’m not one – but there are SOME moments that make it seem like I have celebrity status. Take the other night, for example, when I took my very first friend out to dinner at Tanakasan.
Let me first back up and impress upon you the fact that I was having dinner with my very FIRST friend. Her name is Katherine and she grew up just one block down the street from me on Grant Place. One day she and her mother were driving by and saw me outside and her mother suggested that she come ask me to play. We were four years old.
We probably haven’t seen each other for the last 15 years (or more! good lord), but thanks to the magic of Facebook we reconnected before she came to Seattle for a conference. (To all those Facebook haters out there – THIS is the point of social networking.) Now, when you follow someone’s life exclusively on Facebook, you’re probably getting a somewhat inaccurate picture – but in this case, my Facebook fabulousness actually matched up with our night on the town.
Katherine was staying at the Westin and we met up for dinner on a Friday night. Surrounded by a zillion pieces of the Tom Douglas restaurant empire, we tried for a spot at the Palace Kitchen but ended up over at the new Tanakasan – part of Assembly Hall in the new Via 6 apartments.
Assembly Hall is one-part Tanakasan, one-part flower shop, one-part grocery-store, one-part café and juice bar, one-part game hall and all-parts awesome. But I didn’t really know all of that until I had to make the long trek across the building to go to the bathroom – and then when I visited the next day to snap a few pix for this blog post.
We faced a bit of a wait when we arrived but eventually snuck in to some seats that were near the bar and ordered our first round of drinks – sake slushies! (the Ruby Red and the Swizzle) and appetizers (fried oysters and the awesome fantastically crunchy chicken wings) and began catching up on the last 15 years of our lives.
Celebrity moment #1: As we neared the end of those first sake slushies, a server appeared out of nowhere with two more – “an anonymous gentleman sent these over for you – enjoy!” I stared at him blankly before replying, “That never happens in Seattle – who was it?” I didn’t mean to be rude – but the number of times that I’ve been sent drinks from a man is holding steady at ZERO – so they must have come from someone that I knew– and even then, I don’t think I know anyone who is generous enough to send over drinks (sorry dudes, but it’s true.) So I started craning my neck to see who I could possibly know in the restaurant and lo and behold, there stood our favorite bartender from YEARS ago at the Icon Grill! What a nice surprise.
Celebrity moment #2: After devouring the plate of sweet and spicy chicken wings and the oyster buns, we were chattering away when suddenly my friend Jeri appeared out of nowhere and exclaimed, “I always know I’m eating at the right place if I see you there!” – helping to confirm that I do have my finger on the pulse of this city.
Celebrity moments aside, Tanakasan impressed in more ways that those. The cocktails were stellar – I also drank a Salty Plummer while Katherine ordered a Citrus Kit – “jinro soju (the world’s best selling liquor), yuzu shiso soda, lime & orange” that you mix together at your leisure. I love a good gimmick, and one where you essentially mix your own drink is alright by me.
The chicken wings are quite possibly the best in Seattle. They’re twice-fried, incredibly crispy and come in two flavors: smoked chili + kimchee ketchup and salty caramel with serranos and garlic. Each order comes with six wings, and you can order three of each flavor.
For our entrees, Katherine ordered the ahi tuna while I decided to give into my ramen craving by ordering the Tanakasan Ramen with wavy noodles. Yummmmmm…
But let’s move on to discuss Assembly Hall in general. Now, I love a good one-stop shop (hence my fondness for Melrose Market) – and this, though entirely focused on Tom Douglas, is a great example of the future of retail in all of these high-rise condo buildings that are being built in Seattle.
As I mentioned, it’s one-part flower/plant shop – aka “Zinna’s Garden Bench“… look at all the air plants! I love them.
One-part grocery-store and deli – aka “Home Remedy“.
Which also features a great-looking salad bar:
It’s also one-part game hall. Upstairs on the mezzanine, you can play shuffleboard, backgammon, checkers and watch sports on the giant TVs. You can order chicken wings and drinks up here – but it’s also a nice place to just hang out. I think if I were between meetings, I might relax and grab a beer and hang out for awhile.
And finally, it’s also one-part juice and coffee bar.
There are plenty of reasons to visit Assembly Hall – you could start with breakfast at the juice bar, grab lunch from the deli and finish with drinks and dinner at Tanakasan without ever leaving the building, but my next visit will focus solely on chicken wings and shuffleboard! I now also entertain dreams of living in the building and being just above all that energy. Take a look at the Via 6 apartment website and help manifest this into reality – or just help me climb the ladder from E-list to A-list.