Seattle doesn't "do" Spanish, doesn't really get it.
Mexican, a different story. There are almost as many Mexican restaurantes, tavernas, burrito wagons, taco trucks, taquerias, and tortilla stands as there are Italian trattorias, ristorantes, caffès, and pizzerias. But not formal Spanish.
Lord knows, it's been tried. Jason Stratton, who can do no wrong when it comes to northern Italian fare (Spinasse, Artusi) stumbled badly with Spanish-themed Aragona. The folks who took over Cascadia, when chef Kerry Sear returned to the folds of the Four Seasons, tried with infinite patience to make a go of high-end Spanish cuisine at La Taberna del Alabardero.
And they knew about infinite patience: the company, Grupo Lezama, began with the ministry of a humble pries, Luis de Lezama, who took over a rundown tavern in central Madrid as a classroom to teach hospitality trade to disadvantaged youth, adding restaurants and hotels around the city and the Spanish countrysde until his Grupo Lezama became a powerhouse that opened Taberna del Alabardero, a showcase of Spanish gastronomy, in Washington, DC, in 1989, and ten years later in Seattle.
Alas, Belltown proved one leap too far. Not for the management's want of trying, but Seattle's appetite for sophsticated Spanish cuisine and formal service faltered. (Next door, outside a lounge called Sarajevo, a procession of hoodied gents and their miniskirted ladies wait more-or-less patiently for entry.) The Spaniards withdrew three summers ago, leaving the premises for sale through Conrad Topacio's Vantage Commercial Partners. The terms were $275,000 to take over the business (furniture & fixtures) and assume monthly lease payments of $11,800.
Well, that, at least, was the deal back then. No one's disclosing details of the current deal, but, folks, there's news to report: We have a tenant! We have a tenant!
The new tenant is a gent named Kwang Yoon who's been living in Alaska for the last few years. It appears he once ran a Mongolian restaurant there, but more recently seems to be in the seafood business. The liquor license application gives the business name as "Red King Crab Seafood," but that could change. Still, we're salivating already for Alaska king crab and Yukon king salmon. Now, if we could only get Chef Sear to license his Alpine martinis to Mr. Yoon, And maybe the Alaberdero folks could provide a few tips for paella. Watch this space.