Black Bottle's original Belltown location is moody, quaint, and sexy. Its Bellevue digs on the ground floor of Avalon Towers are unmistakingly polished and pretty. Finer touches fit the aesthetic of its older sibling--fresh flowers, a fireplace, and rustic wood floors. But the refined Eastside locale smartly blends right into downtown Bellevue, with its micro and macro chain restaurants, busy mall, and smattering of J. Crew-adorned couples strolling the strip.
The Barkeep: Steve Beck is fresh on the job but an industry vet. He's worked as a corporate trainer for more than 20 restaurants, and was most recently on staff at Sky Ultra Lounge. A wine rep he worked with at Sky recommended the job. "This is one of the best places I've worked," he says. Both friendly and surprisingly professional, Beck took notes as we chatted, then moved through the dining room with ease, trotting between tables and the bar.
The Drink: Rejecting two empty glasses after close inspections in the light revealed spots, Beck succeeded in pouring his current favorite red, the Benton-Lane Pinot Noir from Oregon's Willamette Valley. He likes it because it's light, not too complex, and matches well with seafood, especially his current dish of choice, the seven spice shrimp.
Sure, Black Bottle offers a dozen beers on tap and a full bar. But it would be a small crime not to opt for a couple of glasses of wine. The pinot was clean and pleasing, tasting a little like marionberry pie. The place rotates a trio of wine kegs and stocks dozens of bottles. A solid menu carries through. The perfectly seasoned broccoli blasted and pillowy flatbread with kicky sausage, mozzarella, and a pile of dandelion greens are bright spots.
Black Bottle Postern markets an unpretentious ambiance with hearty sharable plates and well-picked pours. While downtown Bellevue might never be able to sustain an authentically easy-breezy gastrotavern, the smartly priced menu and accessible wine list invite repeat visits.