New Seattle Restaurant Utilizes Beverage Director Amanda Reed and Chef Varin Keokitvon’s Skills
Designed to ignite conversation around the table, Heartwood’s contemporary American menu revolves around intertwined flavors. Working together, Beverage Director Amanda Reed and Chef Varin Keokitvon carefully construct dishes and original beverage pairings to enhance them.
“We want to give our guests the opportunity to taste across a spectrum and discover how the nuances of flavors play off of one another,” says Chef Keokitvon. “This is a social experience that encourages diners to try something new and unexpected, but in an approachable way.”
Over the past year, Beverage Director Amanda Reed and Chef Varin Keokitvon have worked tirelessly to remove the barrier between the dining room and bar. Instead of offering traditional, convenient pairings, the two spend hour upon hour collaborating and melding flavors to create custom pairings.
“Our vision was to stop relying on traditional pairings and start curating custom flavors as part of one meal. We intentionally design unique beverages for each dish. We wanted to further explore what these flavors and textures mean to each other and why. The beverage is not just an accompaniment to the dish, it completes it.” – Beverage Director Amanda Reed
The goal is pairings that borrow on the familiar yet elevate the experience to the next level. For example, Chef Keokitvon brightens the earthy richness of fall and winter beets by combining Mediterranean and North African beets with chermoula—a Moroccan marinade normally used for seafood—while Reed takes inspiration from the dish’s vibrant colors to develop a honey infused tequila citrus cocktail.
“While most of our pairings center around flavor profiles, this was one of the few dishes where color became the inspiration,” says Reed. Using blanco tequila as a base, she adds floral elements that soften the alcohol, and incorporates Dolin Blanc for a richer mouthfeel, touch of sweetness and wine-like component. Meletti 1870 Bitter Liqueur adds complexity and flavor that matches the earth and spice of the dish, honey compliments the praline, and a final touch of the lime brings freshness and balance.
While each dish on the menu may be enjoyed with a pairing-size cocktail, wine, or beer, dishes or drinks may also be enjoyed as standalone experiences. In addition to the food and beverage pairings, Reed’s beverage program features a signature cocktail menu with an emphasis on seasonally inspired ingredients, including house made amari, syrups, tinctures and shrubs. The varying menu will consist of 10 featured cocktails. Her wine program features Northwest, and Old World wines. She has also assembled a unique selection of artisanal beers to showcase by the bottle and draft.
Sample Pairing: Beet Salad + Cocktail Pairing
BEET SALAD. ORANGE. CHEVRE CREAM. CHERMOULA. PISTACHIO PRALINE. WATERCRESS. $14
Blanco Tequila, Meletti 1870 Bitter, Dolin Blanc Vermouth, honey, lime. $5
Contemporary American Food
Riffing off fall’s comfort food, Chef Varin has created a braised oxtail dish that can be enjoyed as a standalone, or with a beverage pairing.
Featured Dish: Braised Oxtail
BRAISED OXTAIL. ROOTS. JUNIPER STREUSEL. HORSERADISH CREAM. BEET PUREE. $24
Featured Cocktail: Fair Trade
Mezcal infused with espresso beans, Ruby Port, Ramozotti Amaro, Crème de Cacao. $1
Heartwood Provisions menu offers shareable items and tradition and a la carte options. Entrees range between $10 and $40. Beverage pairings range between $4 to $6 and standalone cocktails from $10 to $14.