The Eastside welcomes its second James Beard Award-winning chef to the dining scene as Chef Jason Wilson opens The Lakehouse. Earlier this spring, Wilson treated 425 to a seven-course sneak-peek menu sampling, setting the stage for his newest restaurant. Part of the Lincoln Square expansion project including a W Hotel, The Lakehouse gives special emphasis to locally grown produce. Wilson seeks to enhance the familiar, saying, “I want to give everyone something they’ve seen before but in a new way.”
From the “Garden & Forest” section of the menu, Moroccan-spiced carrots, the sugars caramelized and blistered, are served with a creamy mound of house-cultured goat’s milk yogurt, mint, and Marcona almonds — it may be the only way we ever want our carrots prepared for the rest of eternity. The “Sound Sea & River” section features locally caught fish like sturgeon, albacore, and salmon — the latter cooked so delicately that it melts off the tongue, its black and silver skin crisped and served on the side with cucumber-pea salsa and tomato-candy nuggets bursting with sweetness.
Wilson’s attention to detail extends from the menu to every aspect of The Lakehouse. If the whole chef thing hadn’t come along, Wilson planned on becoming an architect, and that passion shines through details large and small. Inspired by the notion of transparency, The Lakehouse features several “see through” elements, allowing guests to feel like part of the action.
“I designed it to be the house I always wanted to have and entertain in,” said Wilson. Locally grown produce takes center stage, paying homage to Bellevue’s roots as an agricultural hub and showcasing the craft of local farmers. Wilson notes that each season, there aren’t just a couple of items that are good — there are at least 10 or 12. Therefore, he will offer a range of small-plate options and shareable entrees in an effort to make guests feel comfortable and welcome at this culinary home. “The goal was to create an environment where people are familiar with how to order and eat a meal. Ultimately, it’s about how to host people in a modern Northwest farmhouse.”