Koral Restaurant and Bar

Koral Bar & Kitchen Restaurant Review

Koral Restaurant and Bar

Located at the Hyatt Regency Bellevue, Koral’s candlelit dining area offers a lived-in feel. Large tables made of reclaimed wood are perfect for celebratory gatherings. Leather sofas beckon intimate conversation. Small, well-spaced tables are ideal for lingering diners. And the bar offers a sexy pit stop for post work happy hour goers.

This is Bradley Dickinson and Mikel Rogers’ second restaurant venture. Their first, Pearl, was a smashing success with its seafood focused menu. At Koral they are sharing a new take on American comfort food, called new American cuisine.

What exactly is new American cuisine? Imagine plucking the best of America’s melting pot and cultivating it on a plate. While you’ll still see the occasional fried goody, it uproots the traditional golden-battered, butter laden everything associated with cooking in the states.

Yes, fusion’s been done before. But here in the Pacific Northwest, the focus on locally sourced, seasonal ingredients means fresh is king. Points Living residents recently experienced this freshness and more at a menu sampling. The party included: Jason Kono, June Grayuski, Dan Grayuski, Annette Vegarra, Juan Vegarra, Joy Stewart, Sandy Stewart, Marilee Smith, Graham Fitch and Ann Wilcox.

While Bradley is also the Executive Chef, he and Mikel have let Chef Simon Zatyrka flex his culinary muscles. Chef Simon’s not so secret passion for bacon comes alive in dishes such as the Penn Cove mussels in bacon-blue cheese broth. Your only complaint of this savory bowl could be the broth left at the bottom. Asking for an extra helping of garlic toast is highly recommended.

While Chef Simon prominently displays his pork love affair (his colorful arm tattoos include the outline of a hog and some of Simon’s favorite thoughts: “Bacon is my favorite vegetable,” “pork fat rules,” “what would you do for bacon?” and “mmmm, unexplained bacon”), he doesn’t let pork dominate his creativity.

Drawing from time spent in Honolulu, he shares an ahi tuna crudo packed with onion and sesame. He hits an artichoke crostini with a bight touch of acid and a salty finish of Parmesan. When in season, a roasted beet and goat cheese salad is served on a bed of peppery arugula.

Roasted marrow bones have a deep, earthy flavor. Indulging in them with your dining companion might feel a little like PDA. Don’t worry. No one will judge.

Entrées range from Dungeness crab cakes with sweet corn sauce to garlic chicken with fingerling potatoes. The center cut, Black Angus filet mignon might make you think you’re in a high-end steakhouse. Graham said, “In the last month I’ve eaten at Morton’s, Spencer’s and Ruth’s Chris. This is the best steak I’ve eaten.”

For a little down home taste, the bacon wrapped meatloaf is glazed in Bar-B-Q sauce. And for a complete Pacific Northwest experience, market fresh king salmon is seasonally prepared.

Entrées come with substantial extras, but the side dish menu invites you to undo your belt an extra notch (or two). Green beans are spiked with dill. House-cut fries are tossed in truffle oil and served with a truffle cream. And, asparagus is roasted and topped with lemon bread crumbs.

With so many great appetizers, entrées and sides saving room for dessert might be difficult. Try anyway. The bittersweet chocolate mousse will have you licking its martini glass. And the sticky toffee pudding with caramel sauce and salted caramel ice cream is, “Delicious,” reported Joy. “It was my favorite dish.

Seattle’s restaurant scene may gain plenty of national attention, but Koral’s new American cuisine certainly demands a shout out.

Check it out in print.