One of the highlight meals of my trip through Washington State, this brilliant Italian restaurant is run by Chef Nathan Lockwood and is a short taxi ride from downtown Seattle. I had spent the day tasting through flight after flight of Washington State reds and had planned on sitting back and reviewing notes, but a front row seat at the bar overlooking the kitchen changed that and I spent the evening watching impeccable dish after impeccable dish being prepared, plated and whisked away. All of the courses were superb, with the highlights being an incredible plate of Casoncelli Pasta that was served simply, with a creamy cheese filling and a sprinkling of crispy pork belly on top. It’s not often you find pasta done this perfectly and it was a total treat. The Potato Gnocchi with a Lamb Ragu was as ethereally light and airy as they come, and the Ribeye Cap gives Bryan Flannery more than a little competition.

The wine program is managed by Sommelier Guy Kugel and the list is almost exclusively Italian, with a small, solid selection of Nebbiolo and Tuscans. I ordered a bottle of 2007 Castello di Neive Barbaresco Albesani Santo Stefano off the list and enjoyed it over the evening. A sweetly fruited, hedonistically styled Barbaresco that’s loaded with kirsch, licorice, mineral and floral aromas and flavors, it developed beautifully with air and offers classic Nebbiolo flair that’s hard to resist even at this young stage. I think it will be even better in another 3-4 years, but wouldn’t bat an eye about opening a bottle tomorrow if I had any. All in all, this is a brilliantly run restaurant that’s a must stop if you’re visiting Seattle!

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