Posted on | July 12, 2010 | 11 Comments |
In this past year, so many Seattle restaurants have gone out of business, its got to a point where youâ€™ve got to call and check if your favorite restaurant is still open before making dinner plans. Some of those restaurants had it coming, but it was the biggest shock ever seeing a few others in that list. I guess the restaurant industry is so volatile and their profit margin is so small that surviving in this economy is pretty darn tough. The good news is that in place of every restaurant that closes down, a new one opens up sooner or later. Some are hits and some are big misses. Fortunately the two new restaurants that opened up in Belltown recently are in the former category, at least for me.
Â Bisato replaced the beloved Seattle institution Lampreia. I loved the food at Lampreia, but the ambience was a bit depressing or I should say, a bit stuck up. Bisato sure has changed it around; itâ€™s got a more friendly casual vibe to it. The space looks more open and inviting after the remodel. There is a huge 180 degree bar where you can sit and watch the chefs in action in the open kitchen. Chef Scott Carsberg walks around mingling with the patrons making small talks and answering questions about the food. The food is as good as ever, or even better! Bisato is a Venetian style Cicchetti bar. Cicchetti is the Venetian equivalent of tapas where you make a meal out of a bunch of tiny appetizer size plates, just my kinda meal! The portion sizes here are really small in typical Cicchetti pub fashion. We werenâ€™t particularly hungry this particular night, so we were good with sharing four dishes amongst the two of us, but normally youâ€™d need to order at least 5 or 6 for two people.Â
Seared Lamb Chop with Whipped Potato ($5 per chop)
Sliced Pork Loin with Venetian Tuna Sauce ($10)
Warm Prawns with Fava Beans and Seaweed ($9)
Pork Sausage , special of the night
Semifreddo Pistachio Nougatine ($6.5) â€“ Do not miss!
They have a nice wine list and would even do wine pairing with your dishes, if you want to make a formal five course meal out of the small plates. We had wine both times we were there, but the cocktail list sure looked tempting too! Overall a great addition to Belltown, hope it stays around for a while!
Another favorite Belltown joint of ours â€“ Txori closed down one fine day in April and a new Basque style Pintxos bar cleverly named as Pintxo opened in its place in less than three weeks. If you just walked in without noticing the sign outside, you wouldnâ€™t know it was a different restaurant until your server comes up to you and start talking without a Spanish accent. Youâ€™d surely know you are at a different restaurant when you donâ€™t hear him/her repeating the dish names in Spanish after you place the order in English. Yep, Pintxo is a less pretentious version, or should I say a slightly Americanized version of Txori with a smaller menu. Most of the menu is still very Spanish, but the sliders seems to have been added to entice the American clientele. I am not complaining, those Pork Sliders were totally delicious, so were the other dishes we ordered!Â
Pork Sliders ($7.5 for 3) â€“ Slow braised pork with cayenne, lemon juice & cinnamon on brioche with chimichurri, those Macrina bakery buns were delicious! They also have Tuna and veggie sliders as well!Â
Baked egg with Ham and Peas ($5) â€“ One of my favorite Spanish dishes that we prepare for breakfast at home. I was excited to see this in the menu and it was fabulous!
Charcuterie Plate ($7), the selection was superb! Bacon Wrapped Dates ($4) stuffed with goat cheese, yummy! Spanish Rice ($5) â€“ Rice with chorizo and vegetables wrapped in piquillo pepper was not my favorite, Siv enjoyed it though.
Mushroom Caps ($3) sautĂ©ed with roasted garlic, sweet paprika, cumin and lemon juice was light and refreshing, get some bread to soak up those yummy juices!
There was no room for dessert that night, but all the three options sounded really good â€“ Rice Pudding, Spanish Flan and Chocolate Mousse. We are going back soon for those, and more of those sliders! They have an all day happy hour on Sundays and the outdoor patio seating is perfect for these sunny Seattle days, assuming the sun is going to stay around for a while!