This weekend was the soft opening for Tom Douglas' latest restaurant, Cuoco, which means "cook" in Italian. The restaurant is located in Seattle's South Lake Union neighborhood and features a northern Italian menu, a full bar, open kitchen, pasta-making station, and three private dining options. The private dining areas include The Sophia Room which holds 24 people, The Goat Room which is a Chef's table that serves family style meals, and lastly, there is The Gathering Table which is a cozy nook next to the central pasta kitchen that holds up to 16 people.
[This is Herschell. He is part man, part pasta-making machine.]
The exterior of the building is brick and the interior is warm and urban with lots of dark wood and exposed beams. The tables were topped with brown craft paper and large candles that provided nice ambience along with the dim lighting in the restaurant. Classic Italian songs (Hey Mambo!) played throughout the space.
We started with a bottle of 2008 Fattoria La Massa Toscana (cabernet sauvignon, sangiovese, merlot blend) which was delicious - super full-bodied and fruit-forward (raspberry and cassis).
The first thing to hit the table was a dish of Parmossa Parmigiano Cheese that had been aged 32 months. It was super nutty and wonderful. I could have eaten an entire pound of that cheese.
Next we enjoyed the Fonduta Cappelletti with Broccoli Amaro which was like eating little pillows of creamy cheese sauce that exploded every time you bit into one - just awesome. We also had a dish of Spring Leeks with Cipollini Balsamico which was rustic and delicious. There are few things better than perfectly roasted vegetables.
One of my favorite dishes of the night was the Spicy Sausage stuffed Calamari served over a White Bean cake. It had a sort of spicy tomato sauce that paired perfectly with everything else on the plate. Major yumminess - we pretty much licked that plate clean!
For our entree course we had the Baked Seven Layer Lasagna Alla Ferrara and the Cuoco Bistecca which is a Dry-Aged Washington Beef (meant for 2) with Grilled Anchovy Bread, Roasted Cherry Peppers, Beacon Hill Arugula, and Lambrusco Spring Onions. The lasagna wasn't cheesy or saucy but didn't need to be. It was jam-packed with flavor and very light which is not a way in which I would normally describe lasagna and that's one of the reasons why I really loved it. There was something romantic and rustic about the dry-aged beef especially given that it was huge (and I mean huge) and came on a platter with grill marks across it.
For dessert we tried the Chocolate Gelato with Malted Chocolate Chip Biscotti and the Arborio Rice Pudding with Vanilla Bean and Cinnamon. The rice pudding was to-die-for!! It was super creamy and the texture was totally on point.
The Cuoco team did a wonderful job and I have no doubt that this restaurant will become just as successful as the rest of Tom's Seattle landmarks.
310 Terry Avenue North