Marmite: Meet Me at Marmite
In every city there are little gems, encapsulated havens in the midst of the dirty corners that would otherwise be bypassed by any onlooker.
So if you find yourself in the midst of a crown of our personal favorites; Cupcake Royale, Plum, La Spiga, and Kurt Farm Shop, look for a glowing alleyway between Pike and 11th.
On the street corner of the breezeway, recently opened Marmite [mär-meet] is serving up traditional French foods, specializing in exquisite soups and meals meant to revive the soul. Aptly named after the cookware of classic dishes, it is a chef's vision. While sitting at the chef’s counter we shared a table with chefs Nick and Ryan. Surprised by the simplicity of some of their ingredients, Nick explains even he wasn’t aware you were able to cook with stinging nettles until he started on the road of self-education, working in more innovative restaurants with inventive chefs. When asked about his favorite ingredient Nick tells us, “the devil’s club; they get really big, the plants and the thorns become edible, but they smell like the ocean floor.”
Regarding the future of the menu, we discuss elements of seasonality incorporating divine ingredients sure to surprise.
Perfectly crafted meals require equally thought-out vinos. Catherine, one of the managing partners, explains the process of making choices for the wine list.
“I try to avoid reds that are really lush… While some people want that big mouth filling red, we try to steer them towards something more restrained, yet still give them flavors that they’re familiar with”
Overseer of the restaurant’s social media, historian, and basically everything in between, Catherine outlined the progression of the restaurant for us and indulged us in other significant details.
Meanwhile, primary owner and visionary lead chef, Bruce Naftaly mingles with tables in his casual clothing. Never an obligatory interaction, but a balance between listening for the diner's impression and stepping back to let them enjoy the time with friends and loved ones gathered in his culinary studio.
Poignant and deliberate, when we had the chance to chat with him, we learned that he’s been working with local ingredients from local suppliers for over four decades. He went on to tell us that his wife and other main partner, Sara Naftaly, curated most of the menu. Sara also owns Amandine, one of Capitol Hill’s sweetest sweet spots offering an array of impeccable pastries (the macarons there are a perfected feat).
The restaurant and bakery sit side by side. The couple shares a love for the kitchen, for cultivating meaningful relationships, and for their commitment to the local community.
The beautiful interior, local ingredients, and welcoming environment didn’t happen overnight. After a soft opening in late December, the various elements of the restaurant evolved organically. “Instead of all at once, the phases have been rolled out layer by layer,” Catherine explains.
With creativity and impeccable taste comes the restaurant’s next chapter, Spirit in the Bottle. The low-keyed cocktail lounge is set to open this month.
The evening progressed into an unforgettable one that demonstrated two of the key pillars of this business: relationships and community.
As Catherine pointed out, “there are incredible benefits of being a part of an inclusive community”.
In a city of transplants, outliers and visionaries, they have decided to introduce their community to anyone and share the benefits of that bounty.
Beyond thankful and pleasantly surprised for the opportunity to have made this connection, we returned to Marmite a few times- continuing conversations, soaking up the environment, partaking in the ever-evolving spirit of culinary delight that satisfies a type of longing in any heart.
Tuesday - Friday 11am-3:00pm, 5:00pm-10:00pm
Saturday 10:00am-3:00pm, 5:00pm-10:00pm
Contact Marmite at +1 (206)755-8606