When it opened in September, expectations for Trove couldn’t have been higher. The place—a 4,000-square-foot, four-concepts-under-one-roof, renovated auto-shop space on Capitol Hill housing a Korean barbecue, a cocktail bar, a noodle bar and a parfait walk-up window—had been the talk of the town for months. Its chef/owners, Rachel Yang and Seif Chirchi, impressed first at chic Korean-fusion Joule, then followed it up with an even bigger hit, the less formal Revel, where irresistible kimchi and local albacore rice bowls, griddled short rib dumplings, an array of house-made noodles and salty-tangy corned lamb salads keep the lines long at lunch and dinner.
In Trove’s bright and open space, the high ceilings are painted hot orange-red—almost the color of Sriracha. And design details, such as aluminum serving trays and the red X signage—a nod to the restaurant’s four concepts as well as a reference to X marks the spot—are modern verging on sterile.
Make a first stop at Trove’s noodle bar, where Revel’s famously delicious noodle bowls get a proper showcase: a bright corner space with a show kitchen (bar seats facing the wok stations are prime) and floor-to-ceiling windows with a counter for people-watching on lower Pike Street. There, lunch crowds hunch over wide disposable bowls filled with house-made fennel noodles wearing smooth, creamy fennel sauce, tender clams and big, satisfying chunks of five-spice sausage mixed within; or ward off the cold with wide rice noodles tangled with slow-cooked beef and bitter greens in a meaty reduction sauce (all dishes, $12). At night (the noodle bar is open 11 a.m.–2 p.m. and 4–11 p.m.), the menu can be ordered in the adjacent bar, an intimate space with dark-stained wood paneling, dim lighting and a cocktail menu that specializes in citric sippers such as the Seoul Mule ($10), infused with tannic Korean omija berries.
Trove’s biggest draw—and its riskiest—is the Korean barbecue in back. Here’s where expectations and price points collide; the restaurant’s premium meats and seafoods (and the prime location) make dinner here much spendier than at Korean barbecue joints in the northern and southern suburbs. And some of the meats are cut so thin, it’s tricky not to overcook them. Grill tables (where diners grill veggies and meats themselves) are built to seat six. The best route is to bring a group, order the “baller” plate ($100 for all 12 meats, veggies and seafood: pork belly, shrimp, wagyu tri-tip, Japanese eggplant, variously marinated), along with several dishes that are cooked by the chefs (the duck confit with pickled apricots is especially good, $11) and make it a party. Sit at the bar or long table if you want Trove chefs to handle the grilling.
Just don’t leave without stopping at the adorable parfait window, built to look like a food truck. The “new school” Snickers parfait ($6)—vanilla frozen custard with miso caramel, black sesame cake and candied peanuts—is your sweet tooth’s new best friend. Capitol Hill, 500 E Pike St.; 206.457.4622; troveseattle.com