Like this month’s rain, Seattle has had no shortage of restaurant openings. With each month, the number of new spots increases exponentially, making Emerald City eaters overwhelmed by the options. Some feel repetitive — do we really need one more Euro-centric sausage and beer emporium? Another avocado toast? Thankfully, a few are offering original concepts — the antidote to palate fatigue. Introducing Seven Beef, Seattle’s new tasty on the block.
The third member of brother-sister duo Eric and Sophie Banh’s epicurean empire is a steak shop. Unlike those upscale spots reserved for special occasions or expense accounts, Seven Beef is cozy, rustic and affordable, just what you’d expect from a steakhouse with a Seattle zip code. Mirroring the Banhs' other restaurants, Monsoon and Ba Bar, Seven Beef is infused with flavors from their homeland, Vietnam.
French influences, both colonial and culinary, are woven throughout. The menu is peppered with Gallic dishes (steak tartare, endive salad), the wine list is French-focused, and the executive chef is the talented Scott Emerick of the beloved shuttered bistro, Cremant.
As is the tradition with meat meccas, the menu offers prime cuts of beef along with tasty sides like roasted chanterelles and a sublime aligot (mashed potatoes with Comte cheese). Each week, the Seven Beef chefs break down whole cows from Heritage Meats. Some cuts — Porterhouse, Côte du Boeuf — are dry-aged in-house. Diners can also opt for the traditional Vietnamese seven-course beef dinner, Bò 7 Món, which I got to taste last week.
The Bò 7 Món features lesser-known cuts of meat created during the butchering process. Our bovine feast has beef carpaccio in a tart lime and beef broth, three kinds of Vietnamese sausage, including bo la lot (leaf-wrapped sausage), and beef congee. Each dish is delicious on its own; together, they are seven meats of heaven. Thanks to the Vietnamese flavors of citrus, herbs, and spices, the meal is surprisingly light; at just $35 per person, Bò 7 Món light on the wallet, too. Seven Beet, an all-veggie option, is available for non-carnivores.
Behind every good steakhouse are great wines and cocktails. Seven Beef’s wine list showcases French wines and French varietals from West Coast vineyards. An added bonus is the focus on natural wines, carefully curated by G.M. Ian Harris, which pair perfectly with the Asian-spiced food. He pours a citrus-y, granite glass of Clos des Briords Vielles Vignes Muscadet that proves white wine goes great with chilled beef. The cocktail list has updated classics including a damn fine dirty martini.
Inside, the inviting space is bookended by an expansive open kitchen and long, white marble bar. Wooden tables are tucked under string lights. Lovely details — fragrant Paddywax #2 candles in the bathrooms, a record player by the host stand spinning Andre Williams — hint at the level of care taken throughout the restaurant.
Between the dining bustle of Capitol Hill and the International District, Seven Beef sits solo, across from tennis courts in a residential part of the Central District. The sleek, concrete building has the allure of a destination, yet at just a 10-minute walk from my Capitol Hill apartment, it is easy to get to. Valet parking is available as well.
Open for dinner seven nights a week, Seven Beef just launched a happy hour with $7 drinks and bites, including martinis, old fashioneds, Vietnamese sausage, and a burger and fries. Seven Beef is an all-season steak shop. The open kitchen’s roaring fire is just the thing to combat winter’s chill. Next up, an outdoor patio will open once summer hits. Welcome to the neighborhood, Seven Beef!