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Spinasse second night report (Long).

Charles Aug 15, 2008 08:10 AM

In keeping with my tradition of going to new restaurants on their second night three of us went to Spinasse for dinner last night and well color me impressed.

I had made reservation and got a call from Jason in the early afternoon to confirm and let me know a little about the “format” of the restaurant. Guests are seated communally with tables seating between 4 and 20, everything is served family style and they offer three different price point options $35, $45, $75 with several choices within each selection. For $35 menu you get one antipasti and one secundi, at $45 you get two antipasti, a pasta and a meat dish, for $75 you get much more. Because of the family style dinning your entire party must order the same price point and everyone gets the same food. For our little threesome this was not an issue but I will be very careful about who I go to Spinasse with in the future.

The space has been totally transformed from the 7th level of vegan hell that was the Globe Café in to a warm rustic room where people are obviously having a great time. We are seated next to a very nice couple who had already finished their antipasti of prosciutto and melon and were waiting for their gnocchi. They told us that the prosciutto was delicious and a very generous portion and their gnocchi when it came smelled, and they said tasted fantastic. Two seats remained empty to our left until we were done with our first course.

Our very friendly server explained the format again clearing up some details that I had not understood from earlier and made some great suggestions including that she thought the $45 menu was the best option (I have to agree). The wine list is entirely Italian with some interesting looking bottles but none under $30, she also told us about a wine that was not on the list a chilled red whose name escapes me, which we ended up ordering.

For our two antipasti we ordered the oil poached veal with a tuna caper aioli, and a chicory salad with pickled hunks of porcini. The veal was good not great with the aioli over powering the delicate veal flavor, also I woke up at about 3am still tasting it. The salad on the other hand was fantastic huge hunks of porcini so delicious I want to be buried in a coffin made out of them, nicely dressed this is what salads should all aspire to be. We told the people who eventually sat to our left how great it was as well as the couple who ended up replacing the prosciutto and gnocchi people. It is easy at this restaurant to get involved with your fellow diners, something I love to do but obviously not for everyone.

For pasta we choose the Tajarin a thin had cut Piedmontese pasta served with a ragu. Although the pasta itself was great (as I expected from Seattle’s reigning pasta overlord) the sauce needed something, maybe a just a bit more salt or a little more parmesan but something was definitely missing.

We had two choices for the meat course, chicken or braised goat. We took the goat it came with chickpeas and some greens and was delicious. Perfectly cooked and salted with enough acidity to cut through the fat, the chickpeas were tender but not mushy. So much food we couldn’t eat it all.

There was some cheese with grilled apricots and honey on offer for dessert but at that point we needed to walk, not eat more.

All in all a very successful new restaurant just blocks from my abode. Can’t wait to go back.

  1. barleywino Aug 15, 2008 08:59 AM

    thanks for the report. sounds like it is not permitted to order just pasta(s) or just meat(s), then?

    1 Reply
    1. re: barleywino
      Charles Aug 15, 2008 09:38 AM

      Maybe at the bar, but I wouldn't count on it.

    2. a
      ack Aug 24, 2008 07:59 PM

      Went there this past weekend. In the "plus" column -- the food is quite good and they've changed the menu arrangement to add a non-set menu (aka "normal") in addition to the combos. His pasta is his best category. And, it is great to see the place open in Cap Hill. The "minus" column -- the food is very good but not amazing (yet... hopefully... I've had some world class food by Justin in the past). The space is way too loud, made worse by the communal table arrangement. At points people were shouting to be heard one person over... Only one dessert offering (cheese) seemed weak. It is going to be tough when winter comes (tables near the door and no curtain, etc - like Le Pichet or the old Cassis). Overall, a good start but with high expectations, will have to work to get there... I'm really hoping they do.

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