99 Park Restaurant
- THE GOOD: excellent location and service.
- THE BAD: waffles needed improvement.
- THE NEIGHBORHOOD: Bellevue, Greater Seattle.
Compared to Seattle, Downtown Bellevue lacks diversity.
In my humble opinion, brilliance–and only brilliance–paints the growing area; with pristine high rises amplifying a brilliant skyline, and intellectually-brilliant software professionals, babbling acronyms of “IDE” and “API” and such.
Food in Bellevue, again in my humble opinion, lacks diversity as well–unless fancy chains constitute diverse. For “spicier” palates, eating out can be exciting, as long as expectation is flat.
With flat expection for 99 Park, then, we praise its location.
A newly-constructed standalone, strategically-placed between Old and New Bellevue, facing a sparkling Downtown Park. Its sleek architecture defies Seattle’s gritty essence, but Micha Pittman (Hydra LLC CEO) never aimed to compete anyway. Unique and boutique construes his plan: “an upscale joint with a casual-dining experience.” (source: Bellevue Reporter)
Backing his words, executive chef Quintin Steward stated, “(our goal is to) provide fine dining tablecloth service without the tablecloth.” (Source: Seattle Mag)
Valet and street parking seem obvious choices.
The park’s lots work too; and if you don’t mind walking, Bellevue Square offers tiered garages.
The restaurant’s atmosphere embraced us with comfort.
Look under the tables.
And find Plank and Grain‘s signature pipeline legs supporting handmade Douglas Fur table tops. The pipelines’ practicality balances the woods’ exquisite craftsmanship.
Also well-crafted was the brunch menu.
A neither extensive nor eclectic list made Cured Salmon Benedict (pouched farm eggs, hollandaise and crispy potatoes, 15) and Fried Chicken & Waffles (whipped honey butter, Vermont maple syrup, 18) easy decisions to make.
For Seattleites, comfort food includes cured salmon.
And ours arrived in chunky slices resting above fresh buttery biscuits (from Macrina Bakery), under two perfectly-pouched eggs and a blanket of hollandaise.
While biscuits added substance, eggs, salmon and sauce created a creamy and flavorsome combo.
Fried Chicken and Waffles intrigued us.
At least for nerds who need a life they did.
Presentation lacked appeal but flavor tasted anything but dull: meat was moist; and crust won the prize, with herby seasoning touched–and therefore pronounced–by sweet maple syrup.
The crust had a crispy crunch; and if I had to guess, the chicken was breaded just before entering the fryer.
Prior to ending today’s review, can I please mention our waiter?
He smiled–a lot!–and constantly checked in. When we inquired about the restaurant’s background, he spoke with pride.
I can’t say the same about other Bellevue restaurants’ service.
Of course Bellevue isn’t as diverse as Seattle.
Nor will it ever be. Or perhaps it doesn’t care to be. But it’s growing fast and coming into its own–starting with Pittman and Stewart’s creation of a downtown-cool and uptown-chic restaurant that Bellevue hasn’t seen before.
Cool and chic are NOT what we know.
But we know this: next time at 99 Park, expectation won’t be flat.
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99 Park Restaurant
Open Monday – Sunday
11 a.m – 11 p.m. (Kitchen closed at 9 p.m.)
Brunch Sat. – Sun.
11 a.m. – 2 p.m.
Monday – Sunday
4 p.m. – 6 p.m. only