Blissing out at Bisato
Abigail: I was so excited you wanted to go to my favorite restaurant, Wayne, and that we made time to do it! I know this was back in June, but let's talk about it.
Wayne: You had mentioned going to Bisato and it sounded like something right up our alley. Emily and I love food prepared with attention and care. Adding to that excitement was other foodie co-workers who independently waxed effusive about Scott Carsberg’s restaurants.
Abigail: What was the first thing that you noticed that you liked about Bisato?
Emily: On a small table in the entryway we found a Viewmaster with a reel of 3-D photos of the restaurant’s food. This quirky and whimsical throwback relaxed me a bit and said that this place had a sense of humor.
Abigail: I love that, too. The restaurant is so simple and elegant, and each detail is fun or beautiful or both, in a quiet way. And what you said about a sense of humor...that very much comes through for me in the food. This visit was only my 3rd time at this new incarnation of Bisato. Before, it was in Belltown in 2 different incarnations (Lampreia and Bisato). This one seems like a culmination of all the years of focus and experience and a journey.
Wayne: For me, it was the clean lines, unfussy decor, and generally minimal layout. The entire restaurant has a Mid-Century Modern feel crossed with some contemporary design, while remaining fun and welcoming.
Abigail: Totally agree. With both Italian and Asian accents. And the food...Scott’s food...is super-aligned with all of that.
Emily: I never felt rushed. If anyone was waiting for our table, I never felt it, though we were among the first tables to be seated and the last to leave. The service staff was friendly and attentive, but they let us relax and enjoy each dish at our own pace, never hovering.
Abigail: Yes, the experience is so completely seamless and consistent in its approach. I hadn’t thought about it until just now, but I’d use the same adjectives to describe the food as the service as the environment. Which is pretty great. Speaking of the food, what’s the most memorable thing you had?
I was just remembering the amazement of pasta looking like citrus slices. And the surprise of the giant single gnoccho with nudja hiding under that a cap of melted cheese.
And, of course, the color and flavor of the Sicilian white wine.
Emily: I immediately think of the gorgeous linguine with uni and saffron cream sauce. This simple, subtly flavored dish tasted as good as it looked. Served on a white plate, it might have looked lackluster. The grey plate highlighted the sunny sauce—another example of the attention to detail that went into every aspect of my dining experience. Even the focaccia was extraordinary, draped in a cloud of freshly shaved truffle and parmesan.
Wayne: I am typically averse to uni (cured sea urchin gonads); while I will eat just about anything that comes from the water, uni is my rare Hard Nope. The kitchen staff showed us the box of uni which was an ingredient in the dish they were about to bring. I was immediately struck by how different the uni looked and smelled in contrast to what one gets even in most upscale sushi restaurants. The flavor, color, texture, and smell of the uni saffron pasta was nothing short of enlightening. It was one of those moments where I am taken aback and realize, “Ah! This is why people enjoy this!”
And that Sicilian white wine… I can take or leave white wine, usually leave it. I know there are good white wines out there, but I usually can’t be bothered to invest the effort to seek out the good ones. The wine steward highly suggested the Occhopinti SP68 as a pairing for our dishes. He was absolutely correct. This wine stood up well to the flavors and textures of the meal. We ordered a second bottle.
Abigail: Wayne, Shhh about that second bottle. Nobody needs to know! But, back to what Emily said about that uni pasta! I usually do. not. like. Dark. plates. But YES the grey plate perfectly expressed the delicacy of that paste. I don’t know if I mentioned it, Wayne, but I had a luxurious uni dish within recent memory that was clumsy even though it had an embarrassing amount of uni on it, and OMG was this ever refreshing. The right amount of uni elevated to a position of authority and expression. And, Emily, I agree about the focaccia that kinda started it all, if I remember correctly. When I think of focaccia, Liguria Bakery in SF is quite naturally my revered go-to, but this was a whole new, equal and fascinating experience of what focaccia can be when it’s at its best. Oh, and about the wine...didn’t we also have some pinoit nero? Maybe it was just a dream. So were a few other things.
Maybe this masterpiece of color flavor and fun was also a dream? It’s as if...Italy and its modern design instincts met the Pacific Rim and its obeisance to purity over a doodling and exploration session with lots of laughs and an uncompromising threshold.
We three need to go out together again, maybe next time to Kau Kau or somewhere more repeatable! I know we’ll have lots of aligned opinions and a good time again.