Thompson Seattle announced the opening of its new signature restaurant, Conversation. Following an extensive redesign and rebranding of Scout PNW, which closed its doors in January 2019, Conversation showcases sleek new interiors along with a fresh and provocative culinary perspective on all-day dining.
The inviting restaurant just steps from Pike Place Market offers a sensory dining experience pairing a menu of worldly dishes with a welcoming setting curated to foster conversation—as its name suggests—and ignite a sense of community. Serving breakfast, brunch, lunch and dinner, Conversation is helmed by Executive Chef Derek Simcik and Executive Pastry Chef Kate Sigel, who have both drawn from their eclectic backgrounds to develop experiential culinary offerings that spark conversation.
“We are incredibly proud to unveil our new signature restaurant Conversation,” said Thompson Seattle General Manager Amanda Parsons. “Our team has poured their hearts and souls into cultivating a dining experience where culinary excellence and authentic connections go hand-in-hand. Our goal is to create a space that encourages our guests to disconnect from their screens and reconnect with family and friends over thought-provoking and inspiring cuisine.”
A Provocative, Global Perspective on Pacific Northwest Cuisine
Inspired by Simcik’s international travels as a child, the menus at Conversation are a true reflection of foods he and his family enjoyed together while living abroad. While globally influenced, these dishes also celebrate the foremost ingredients of the surrounding Pacific Northwest region, including locally grown organic produce and sustainable seafood.
“I want our guests to get lost in the moment,” said Simcik. “The food is an important aspect of the experience, of course, but I really want to curate a welcoming atmosphere that will inspire our visitors to live in the moment and create new memories together over the dinner table.”
Showcasing an approachable mix of classic and modern preparation and cooking techniques is the Lamb en Croute, accompanied by spring peas, sunomono (Japanese cucumber salad), and crispy prosciutto. The Trout is another dish offering a contemporary take on a Seattle favorite – fish and chips. Utilizing the Northwest’s local bounty, freshwater brook trout is breaded with potato flakes, served atop a bed of potato purée and caramelized onion broth, and garnished with dots of smoked aioli and caper purée to create the essence of a tartar sauce. Simcik’s Stuffed Quail entrée is a spin on one of his traditional southern comfort foods. Glazed with a barbeque-spiced sauce, the quail is perched on a bed of beans, accompanied by cornbread crumbs and pickled stone fruit, a recipe inspired by Simcik’s mother’s baked beans.
Executive Pastry Chef Kate Sigel pioneers the dessert program at Conversation, creating edible works of art with a cleverly sweet perspective. Sigel’s confections hold a sense of thoughtfulness and nostalgia, both in flavor and appearance, and are intended to evoke a sense of discovery and delight. Desserts include a take on an Ice Cream Sandwich, a macaron shell filled with honey-roasted corn ice cream and a salted caramel center. The London Fog is a dessert that evolves as it’s consumed; a large puff of childhood favorite cotton candy is delivered to the table and doused with a vanilla bean milk to melt away the cotton candy “fog,” revealing earl gray mousse, lemon oat streusel and lemon ice cream underneath.
The cocktail program at Conversation, helmed by Bar Manager Joshua Haddock, features light-hearted original creations, artfully presented and smoothly balanced. Haddock takes inspiration from his favorite travels, books, and films to curate fresh yet unexpected crowd-pleasing cocktails that incite a sense of wonder and curiosity.
Eclectic, Intimate Design Tells a Timeless Tale of Seattle
Designed by Chicago-based Rebel House Design, Conversation is a welcoming mid-century modern-meets-contemporary minimalist space that harmoniously layers diverse furnishings to convey the distinctive story of Seattle, with most pieces custom-made for the restaurant. The inviting space feels as though it has been collected over time, referencing a style-forward living room dotted with vignettes of vintage pieces to create intimate seating arrangements for a residential feel.
Conversation employs a diverse selection of furniture from various time periods. Dining chairs designed by the great George Nakashima, who spent time in the 1940s making furniture and teaching woodworking in Seattle, are complemented by matte black velvet curved sofas inspired by the 70s style of Vladimir Kagan, imbuing a warm yet timeless appeal and aesthetic. Wild, local foliage throughout provides earthy pops of color from the concrete, dark steel, and black walnut structures, integrating life into the boldly revamped space. Bright brass accents in the form of chandeliers, warm sculptural leather lounge chairs and sage mohair banquettes lend luster to the natural rawness of the interior and add to the residential feel of the space.
Additional design features include an elegant zellige-tiled bar space, a new and adventurous take on the subway tile trend. These glazed black tiles provide nuances of drying ink and are handmade out of terracotta in Morocco, where their creation was born out of a 10th Century tile-making craft. At the center of it all is an architectural design anchor for Conversation: a dramatic, double-sided fireplace clad in custom fluted, warm walnut paneling and surrounded by cozy chairs and sofas, creating a warm, inviting setting for human connection in this one-of-a-kind dining destination.