Executive Chef Matt Seeber says he's put on a couple of pounds testing out new recipes for the menu at Heavy Seas Alehouse, an upscale casual restaurant that plans to open an Arlington location in late December or early January.
Seeber, who will split his time between the restaurant's flagship location in Baltimore and its new Rosslyn spot at 1501 Wilson Blvd., told Patch that the restaurant will offer a "beer-centric dining experience."
"We have that thread of the Heavy Seas line of beer woven through the entire experience," he said. "It's not exclusive to every dish. But if there's a way I can cook with beer to accentuate the dish, and bring it to another level, then I'm going to give it a shot."
He added: "It doesn't always work. But that's the beauty of being a chef: No one has to know if you made a mistake — unless you put it on the menu."
Heavy Seas is a brewery in Baltimore that started about 16 years ago under the name Clipper City Brewing. A one-off beer called Heavy Seas proved to be enormously popular — so much, that it became the company's brand.
Heavy Seas craft beer is now available in 13 states, and the Rosslyn location will be the second Heavy Seas Alehouse.
"It's not a Coors Light. It's not an Anheuser-Busch beer product. It's a craft beer," Seeber said. "There's a specific type of person who drinks craft beer. And they're usually into good food. With the kind of culinary background I have… I'm not interested in doing a 'Subway-style sandwich.' "
The Heavy Seas Alehouse menu in Baltimore includes grilled Angus flat-iron steak, braised rabbit fettuccine, cumin spiced salmon and Prince Edward Island mussels.
Seeber said some of the dishes would translate to the Arlington location, while the rest of the menu will be the new recipes he's developing.
The Baltimore location has something of a pirate theme. Seeber said the company didn't want to go overboard with that, and so the new Arlington location will feature a modern nautical theme.
"The space in Baltimore is brick and a lot of wood, a very modern tavern. In Arlington, we wanted to do something that while similar was not restricted to the space — because we're designing it from the ground up. It's raw space," he said. "So, we could do whatever we wanted."
Interior design features will include a sail, a sculpture made of rope and porthole windows above the bar. One of the two private dining rooms will have a feature made from old-style buoys.
Seeber said the Rosslyn location was selected because of the mix of businesses and residences in and around the area now and what's slated to come. "We just feel that specific area of Rosslyn is currently underserved in relation to the style of restaurant that we're looking to do," he said.
Seeber took his first job as a dishwasher in 1984. He first became an executive chef in Manhattan in 2001.
Between the bar, lounge, dining room and patio, the new Heavy Seas Alehouse should seat about 170 people.