Yurts, a type of round tent, were once the province of camping enthusiasts, but now, thanks to a new promotion with the restaurant booking platform Resy and American Express, they've taken on an unexpected new role as a fine-dining destination. The companies are teaming up to provide individual reservations for private outdoor dining at pop-ups in cozy heated tents in "yurt villages" at 13 restaurants across the country. (This announcement came after Washington state officials released more specific guidance around winterized outdoor dining, stating that smaller structures like domes and pods are permissible if they adhere to proper COVID-19 guidelines, are limited to a single dining party at a time, keep doors and windows open while diners are inside, and are aired out for at least 10 minutes, cleaned, and sanitized between uses.) Reservations will be available exclusively to American Express cardholders, beginning at 8 am P.T. on Wednesday, November 18—so if you happen to have an AmEx (or know someone who does), read on to learn more and to see the participating Pacific Northwest restaurants. If you don't have an AmEx card but you do live in Seattle, you can also check out our guide to other covered and heated patios.
Seattle's premier fine-dining restaurant, which has been constantly adapting and evolving to stay ahead of the curve with COVID-friendly programming like Canlis Community College, will host a "yurt village" in its parking lot and will feature a four-course prix-fixe menu of yurt-inspired "pandemic comfort food," including a classic family-style melted raclette course, a choice of appetizer and entrees, and "desserts deserving of a winter yurt extravaganza." There will also be craft cocktails and full wine service. The tasting menu costs $145 per person and will be available from December 3 through January.
Kann Winter Village
The Top Chef star and James Beard-nominated Departure chef Gregory Gourdet will use the yurt promotion as a way to preview his highly anticipated upcoming Haitian restaurant, Kann, which is expected to open in 2021. The Kann restaurant concept first appeared (and won) on Top Chef: LA All-Stars's "Restaurant Wars," a challenge in which chefs come up with and present restaurant concepts to the public under a strict time constraint, and was debuted at a pop-up preview at Mama Bird over the summer. "Kann" refers to the Haitian Creole word for "cane," a reference to Gourdet's childhood memories of sugar cane vendors in Haiti, and is inspired by his Haitian roots. The restaurant is also staffed with a BIPOC, LGBTQIA and womxn-led team. The pop-up will take place in the Redd parking lot and will feature a six-course prix-fixe menu highlighting the "bright, soulful, slow cooked flavors of an underserved cuisine," including dishes like ripe plantain and roasted squash with smoked peanuts, griot twice-cooked pork belly, fish marinated in epis (a Haitian seasoning base), and beef short ribs stewed in habanero and thyme. The menu also includes a zero-proof cocktail pairing, and optional wine or beer pairings will be available. Service will begin when Gov. Kate Brown lifts restrictions on onsite dining on December 18 and will last for three months.