Tomo is a new Seattle restaurant that offers the cuisine typically associated with fine dining – think micro-seasonal, locally sourced dishes – in the congenial atmosphere of a neighbourhood hangout. 

Bar at Tomo Seattle with interiors designed by Greypants

The cusine 

The restaurant, which already has a thousand-plus waiting list, features a consistently changing five-course set menu that places a premium on Pacific Northwest ingredients and is heavily influenced by Japanese techniques and flavours

Bar at Tomo Seattle with interiors designed by Graypants

Dishes include delectable Chawanmushi savoury egg with tropea onion; pork collar with kohlrabi cabbage and sea lettuce; and albacore with sansho pepper and caramelised onion. It’s food that is experimental without being polarising, ideal for those who enjoy the experience of small-plate dining but without the shirt tails. 

The interiors 

That relaxed attitude is reflected in Tomo’s interiors, which have been designed by Seattle and Amsterdam-based studio Graypants. 

The space, like the food it serves, takes Northwestern materials and filters them through a Japanese sensibility. Wood felled in Washington forests fills the space, from the walls to the tables and the chairs, with much of it stained a deep ebony in homage to the Japanese practice of shou sugi ban (where the surface of wood is charred). 

Tables at Tomo Seattle with interiors designed by Graypants

Textures are combined, with one wall of scale-like shingles running parallel to a wall of vertical ash slats. The lighting is subtle and intimate, integrated into the architectural elements such as the wall panels, the bench seating, and the bar shelves. 

‘I love how the space expands and contracts,’ says Brady Williams, Tomo’s founder and former executive chef of Seattle’s landmark 1950s restaurant Canlis. ‘There are both intimate zones and areas for guests to spread out and let loose.’ 

Tables at Tomo Seattle with interiors designed by Graypants

‘The restaurant’s interior not only helps draw attention to and set the stage for the food, but creates a real warm, comfort for guests – it’s a space you want to spend an evening in. And that was definitely our goal as a restaurant, to be a destination, to make people want to stay.’ 

Whether its the food, the atmosphere, or both that make you want to stay, Tomo is almost certain to please. Is worth sticking around for the lighting alone, which, as Williams puts it, is ‘extremely flattering – everyone looks great in here’. §