The success of Bradley Dickinson and Mikel Rogers’ Pearl Bar and Dining next to the Westin in Bellevue has led the business partners to set their eyes on growth. Koral Bar and Kitchen, a modern American tavern, is an indicator of the partners’ recent restaurant success. Their new spot is located in the space once occupied by 0/8 Seafood Grill in the Hyatt Regency Bellevue.
The updated space includes a brand new cold kitchen to go with the remodeled hot kitchen (both of which are open), a charming bar separated by repurposed, free-standing doors from old buildings and what Dickinson calls “The Grotto,” a semi-private dining area that could be the hottest table in the restaurant. Koral is about the same size as Pearl, but has a much more homey feel. While it’s sibling down the street has a certain swank and chic, Koral exudes a relaxed, dining room feel. It’s as if one of the 6-tops, with rustic leather-backed chairs and candleholders, is something you might see in your own home.
Expect a similar Northwest/elevated American menu at Koral. Dickinson remains the executive chef, but Peter Kelly has been hired on to run the kitchen as chef de cuisine. Expect a nice selection of small plates and larger full fare entrees. Roasted marrow bones, crostini, parsley salad or the special sliders with braised oxtail, chef’s mustard sauce are two that catch my eye. I’m eager to try entrees like the chicken-fried chicken sandwich on potato bread with mashed bacon gravy and the bleu cheese meatloaf with Yukon gold potatoes and caramel carrots, too.
Dickinson says the challenge here, similarly at Pearl, will be to appeal to two different sets of clientele — the business traveler staying upstairs at the Hyatt, and the return customer who lives or works nearby. After opening Pearl, Dickinson feels he and Rogers are better equipped for success. “We’ve gotten smarter about this whole thing the last few years. We’ve been thrifty with this experience, and I feel strongly about this place,” he said.
Koral will observe the following hours: 4 pm to 10 pm, Monday through Saturday, and 4 pm to 9 pm on Sunday; bar from 3 pm to midnight seven days a week. Also expect a weekend brunch at Koral, set to launch in late March, served Saturdays and Sundays, 9 am to 2 pm.
UPDATE: Just received word that Koral Kitchen and Bar will open TODAY, Friday March 2 at 5pm.