Kraken Congee Opens Today in Pioneer Square

Buzzy Asian pop-up makes brick-and-mortar debut
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Monthly pop-ups are fun, but for passionate chefs, cooking every night in a coveted brick and mortar is the stuff of dreams. In the case of Pioneer Square’s Kraken Congee, one of the most highly anticipated openings of the spring, it is a foodie’s dream, too.

Today, co-owners and chefs Shane Robinson and Garrett Doherty unveil their Asian-inspired eatery in the 2,000-square foot former Little Uncle space just across the street from Seattle Underground.

At the center of the menu is the duo’s signature congee, or rice porridge, prepared with gourmet and global twists (hello, duck confit and pork belly Adobo), alongside a medley of innovative starters and snacks.

In a phone interview on April 18, Robinson and Doherty, whose mugs are now famous from their appearance on CNBC’s Restaurant Startup, gave us a preview on decor, new dishes, an--yes--adult drinks. Here’s what you can expect:

1. Little Uncle’s dark stone walls are gone and have been replaced with happy Douglas Fir wood.

2. The restaurant’s seating capacity is still 60 but a new 10-top communal table (available to parties by reservation only) adds a family-style vibe.

3. Little Uncle’s wok station remains, allowing the Kraken team to offer some inventive new dishes, including a baby octopus and kimchi fried rice and kare-kare, a Filipino stew made with Wagyu beef, Chinese eggplant, hand-shaved noodles and Chinese longbeans.

3. The bar program, headed up by Nick Wood, formerly of The Ruins, will feature fruit-infused vodka drinks and a small wine list that features primarily Washington white wines.

4. Dessert, you ask? Kraken will be offering the cult-favorite Hood Famous Bake Shop Ube (yes, purple yam) Cheesecake. At presstime, they were one of two spots in Seattle offering the cheesecake. Seafood City Seattle is the other.

Most of all, Robinson and Doherty are thrilled to be a part of the revitalized Pioneer Square corner. Following the success of neighbors La Bodega and Damn the Weather, they hope to create a space that is “loud and full of life” and represents “the hustle and bustle.”

“It’s the oldest neighborhood in the city and the place people come to see when they visit Seattle,” Doherty says. “We want to help make it better.”