Seattle’s culinary culture is known for two things: seafood and coffee. Nick Badovinus hopes to bring both of those to Dallas in a new way with his latest Preston Center concept, Montlake Cut.
The restaurant, named after the canal that links Lake Washington to the Puget Sound, evokes Badovinus’ childhood in the Seattle area.
“There’s a saltwater-scented, blue collar appeal to it,” he said. “That’s what we kind of hope to bring — that great, quality fish doesn’t have to be rarified. It’s a different point of view to fish.”
Badovinus, whose existing restaurants include Neighborhood Services and Off-Site Kitchen, will bring that comfortable, casual approach to seafood with menu items such as oysters on the half-shell and fish, of course, and he’ll also include more mainstream classics such as burgers and roasted chicken. But this won’t just be a dinner joint.
“We are going to do a little breakfast component, so it is going to have a little coffee program, but more of a petit dejeuner — a little lighter,” he said.
With that added, Montlake Cut will be open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner as of June 1. The restaurant is moving into the spot previously occupied by John Tesar’s Spoon, so the space didn’t need as much physical work as it did a redesign.
“We’re going to warm it up and rough it up a little bit,” Badovinus said. “We’ll be using a few materials that are more native in the Northwest. But … it’s a late-model restaurant with low miles. It doesn’t need a lot.”
As for Preston Center, Badovinus felt is was the perfect place for this concept.
“We know that customer really, really well between what we’re doing at Preston Royal and what we do on Lovers and Inwood,” he said. “It’s a customer base that we know.”
He calls the shopping center “premium but affordable,” which, in a way, circles back to his hopes for the restaurant itself.
“When you come from the coast, fish is kind of everyday. I grew up tasting salmon and crab in Puget Sound, and that’s kind of how you spent the summer,” he said. “It has a way of being part of your life, and we want Montlake Cut to be about that.”