It’s been a year of restaurant dichotomy: impressive, big-budget openings and an influx of fast casual spots. Few, though, have filled the void in between: that neighborhood restaurant where many of us want to go for a satisfying dinner that’s casual enough for a Wednesday and special enough for a Saturday. This middle ground is precisely where Opus Co. shines.
The new Greenwood restaurant is driven, both in scope and style, by chef-owner Mark Schroder. It’s such a small space—just 18 seats, a former sandwich shop—that even when Schroder is working the custom wood-fired grill, he can keep an eye on what’s going on in (and who’s coming into) the cozy dining room.
“In a big place, you’re just kind of hanging on,” Schroder says. “I wanted a small place to maybe not make a lot of money, but get better as a cook and chef, and have a better balance [of work and life].”
Schroder knows what it’s like to work in a big place. He’s coming off five years as part of chef Rachel Yang’s top team, first at Korean-influenced Revel (one of our best Seattle restaurants of 2017) and most recently at Trove. He left with Yang’s blessing, and you can see her influence in his cooking: bold and balanced flavors, playful ingredients, lots of pickles.
The regularly changing menu of small, shareable dishes isn’t recognizably Asian, though, which is an intentional departure on Schroder’s part. He combined that influence with his own Midwest upbringing, so you’ll see crispy rice and bonito-rubbed lamb, but also three-bean salad and roasted chicken.
À la carte is an option, but Opus Co. is best experienced in the Opus Feast, a $50-per-person tasting menu that requires whole-table participation. In the vein of Staple & Fancy and the late Blind Pig Bistro, you’re taken through a parade of dishes—ours included five savory, plus two sweet—some variations on the menu and others all new to show off Schroder’s creativity (and include some less familiar cuts from the whole animals he butchers in house).
There’s little use in discussing what I’ve eaten there; what you’ll be offered will definitely be different. But I’m confident it’ll be just as remarkable.
7410 Greenwood Ave. N; 206.420.8360
If available, try the excellent salmon paired with a kasu risotto ($22).
The kasu, a rice paste by-product of sake production, is sourced from Cedar River Brewing Company, which until recently operated below the restaurant.