Chef Michael Whisenhunt

The Comfort Zone

Believe it or not, most of the Seattleites I know delight in the cool, drizzly weather that autumn so often brings. This time of year signifies warm libations, bundling up in sweaters and scarves, spending time in the great indoors, and of course, comfort food. The latter is something that we happen to know quite a lot about at Brimmer & Heeltap; “comforting” is one of the things that defines Chef Mike Whisenhunt’s unique style of cooking.

Our current menu offers an array of dishes that showcase bold flavors, employ familiar ingredients in an inventive way, and kind of just make you feel like you’re being held by your mama. The Yukon potato puree with bonito cream, chives, and a sprinkling of dancing bonito flakes warmed by the starchy layers below is a deliciously comforting fall-time dish. If you find yourself more comforted by carnivorous creations, you’ve got to try Chef Mike’s grilled pork shoulder. Smoky, succulent, and grilled to perfection, this menu mainstay is a favorite of Brimmer & Heeltap’s crew and regular guests alike. See below for Chef’s “mop” sauce recipe he uses to really bring this dish to life.

Personally, there are three things that comfort me most: chocolate, bread, and booze. Happily, these things often take center-stage at the restaurant, where I am lucky enough to have the chance to go wild on our famous bread, spiced chocolate cake, and bartender Brian Hibbard’s genius concoctions more often than I care to admit. With new seasonally-inspired wine and cocktail lists launching this week just in time for fall, an ever-changing dinner menu, and brunch offerings that leave guests feeling happy and satiated every weekend, fall looks really good on B&H.

Stay tuned for more information about seasonal menu changes, and remember that we’ve got a seat waiting the next time you’re in need of some seriously comforting food and libations.

Chef Mike’s Pork “Mop”


300 grams (1 1/3 cups) water

1500 grams (6 1/2 cups) sugar

1500 grams (6 1/2 cups) sherry vinegar

250 grams (1 cup) Urfa Biber*

To make:

1.       Heat water to boiling and add sugar; boil until sugar is dissolved and begins to caramelize.

2.       Add sherry vinegar and boil until reduced by half.

3.       Add Urfa Biber to the reduction; stir until blended evenly.

4.       Apply “mop” generously with a basting brush to poultry, pork or beef before and after grilling.

*Urfa Biber, also known as isot pepper, is a dried Turkish chili pepper, cultivated in the Urfa region of Turkey. World Spice calls it a “luscious pepper flake” with an “earthy, smoky edge that hits at chocolate and tobacco.” You can purchase it at World Spice Merchants as well as other specialty spice shops.

Blog Author: Caitlyn Edson

Images: Will Foster Photography