On May 4, Café Nordo will unveil its new dinner theater experience, “Cabinet of Curiosities,” with a fresh five-course menu, wine pairings, original music, quirky performances and one intriguing addition to its formula—art installations. For its fifth and most ambitious show yet, Nordo has transformed the Central District’s historic Washington Hall into a series of culinary exhibits to tempt all five senses. With an enthusiastic cult following but space for only 60 diners per show during its limited six-week run, this gala event promises to become one of the hottest tickets in Seattle in the coming weeks.
Directed by Erin Brindley and based on a script by Terry Podgorski, “Cabinet of Curiosities” quite literally takes the audience on a gastronomic journey. As participants wind their way through Washington Hall, they discover different food-themed rooms designed by local artists Anne Blackburn, Jed Dunkerly, Nik Weisend, Mark Siano, Dayton Alleman, Colin Ernst and Seattle Magazine Spotlight Award recipient Mandy Greer. With each successive theme, such as French culinary history or medicinal uses for food, guests are treated to the next delectable dinner course.
The kitchen takes pride in its fresh, local, sustainable ingredients and inventive taste combinations. Morel and camembert tarts with microgreens, anyone? Rabbit confit with pickled fiddleheads? Vegetarians have meat-free options, and omnivores will not be disappointed with sirloin and king salmon selections for the main course. Diners keep up their appetites as they march around Washington Hall, and it’s just as well; they will want space for the rhubarb and lemon curd trifle at the end.
With each course, the Nordo actors also dish out a new installment in the story: A visit to an early 20th-century cabinet of curiosities—a chamber full of collected wonders, with an emphasis on the edible. This show features original musical compositions by Annastasia Workman, as well as performances by Maximillian Davis, Opal Peachey, Aimée Bruneau, Devin Bannon, Carter Rodriquez, Keira McDonald, Evan Mosher, Sachie Mikawa and the multi-talented Siano.
Since Café Nordo debuted in 2009, the Seattle Times has honored it every year with Footlight Awards in categories such as “Kookiest, Most Delicious New Dinner Theatre.” This budding Seattle theater institution has previously staged two five-course dinner shows with wine and two cocktail shows, ostensibly under the direction of mysterious celebrity chef Nordo Lefesczki. Brindley and Podgorski field questions in Chef Nordo’s absence.
“Cabinet of Curiosities” runs May 4 through June 17 at Washington Hall (153 14th Avenue). Tickets are available through Brown Paper Tickets. To learn more about the show (including accessibility issues), visit http://www.cafenordo.com/.