International Mashup At Water’s Table

Photo by Shubha Tirumale Photography

When you step into the Hyatt Regency at Seattle’s Southport and walk through the stylish lobby toward Water’s Table, the floor-to-ceiling view opens up. You take immediate notice of how this relatively new restaurant on the Seattle food scene takes full advantage of one of the city’s best assets: Lake Washington. You take your seat and browse the menu that’s been placed in your hand, and it becomes clear that you are about to embark on an east-meets-west culinary journey. After all, that’s what much of the Seattle food scene is about—a delightful mashup of world cuisines.

While the setting is one of casual elegance, the food is an inventive world tour for the curious. Of course, the experience can be as adventuresome or as safe as your mood dictates, but here you are well advised to lean on the side of adventure.

That’s because Chef de Cuisine Andrew Cross makes it his personal business to deliver a wide spectrum of flavor and ingredients, occasionally melding influences from various culinary traditions in a single dish.

For Cross, an interest in cooking blossomed in childhood when his grandmothers and mother taught him traditional Scandinavian and Southern dishes. He grew up on an organic, sustainable farm in Washington, where he developed a deep respect for not only local, seasonal ingredients, but also nose- to-tail cooking, butchering and a love for foraging, clamming,crabbing and fishing.

“My mother and both my grandmothers taught me much as a child: My grandma on my father’s side taught me to bake and fish, while my maternal grandmother taught me to cook and garden,” Cross says. “I had an uncle who was a commercial salmon and crab fisherman and another who owned a shellfish farm; as you can see, my family was very much into food, and it rubbed off.”

Couple his food-centric upbringing with his professional achievements in an array of kitchens, from private clients, to hotel, to fine dining restaurants, including such award-winning establishments as Seattle’s Canlis. His work has taken him to many places across the country, giving him an appreciation for regional traditions and different approaches to cooking from some of the world’s best chefs. Eventually, he returned to the Northwest, where he enjoys access to some of the best local seafood, meats and produce this region affords.

As your gaze runs down the menu page, you see small plates, then dishes identified as “sharable”(in my experience, anything within reach of my fork or chopsticks is sharable) and entrees grouped into separate Land, Sea, and Vegetable sections. Should you start with the Asian-inspired charred octopus with soy beans and squash, the fire-roasted Pacific oysters with lobster cream and caviar or the cedar-plank salmon flatbread? Travel to the deep South with duck gumbo or to Italy with lamb sugo tossed with pappardelle or to Thailand with Thai Vegetable Coconut Curry. Of course, for the more restless palate, a generous list of sides tempts as well, inviting you to really mix it up. Better yet, go with a group, and let your forks wander around the table.

From the bar, order the national drink of Korea, soju, or sip a cocktail made with the clear liquor, like a soju negroni. Or try one of the bar’s sakes.

Book a table at Water’s Table at hotel/washington/hyatt-regency-lake-washington-at- seattles-southport/searl.

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