Monday, April 13, 2009

Barolo Ristorante
1940 Westlake Ave
Seattle, WA 98101
206 770-9000
Barolo Ristorante (Metropolitan Tower) on Urbanspoon

It was a quick drink and appetizer the other night at Barolo. I was with a friend who was up from LA on business. We sat in the lounge area on white leather couches with low white coffee tables. I kept knocking my knee against the base of my martini glass and elegantly spilling a Chopin lemon drop on lap. Smooth. Sexy and svelt black-clad hostesses and waitstaff buzzed about. This place is decidedly unrustic. It is loud. It is crowded. It is loud dance music. It is the place to be seen. It is the place to wear your silver belted taupe trench dress and your Manolo Blahniks. Our server was a green-eyed, tight-bodied, dark-haired beauty. Sweet, not too knowledgable, and not too quick on her feet.

To whet the appetite we ordered:

Polipetti e Ceci
Baby octopus, garbanzo beans, fresh herbs and wine reduction

It rocked! Yum. I love when Seattle restaurants can serve seafood without breading and frying it to death. But beware, the little garbanzo beans swimming in wine sauce, bless their hearts. They must be individually speared, or they roll right off the fork prongs and onto the nice white leather couches and dress pants of one's cocktail companion. The luscious herbed garlic-laden sauce is perfect for bread soaking, but the set up (leather couches, low table, well dressed date) is not so ideal. Again, drippings on my skirt and sweater, to the horror of my companion. I stopped slurping.

The couple across the low white table from us ordered something that looked like a bit like mush.

"What is that?" I mused.

"Risotto with veal," they proudly replied. "It's not on the menu, but we have it here all the time. It's one of our favorites. They made it for us."

My guess was that his name was Cecil and she was Miffy. Neither one looked as though they had really ever worked a day in their lives, in a distinguished, public service kind of way. They weren't over dressed, and they had that bored, stiff, but pleased look. She was strawberry blonde and he had swept back dark brown Euro hair. Neither were over 35.

"Can I try the risotto?" I asked.

"Sure," said Miffy, "if you can find a fork." Cecil looked mildly amused. Our place settings finally arrived via the green-eyed vixen.

I tried the risotto. One bite. Didn't get any of the veal in that first bite, so I took another big bite. It didn't impress me and I told them so, "Yeah, it's good, but doesn't knock my socks off. It is very comforting though."

They explained that the risotto and some other meat sauce pasta dish were their favorites, but that this particular risotto wasn't quite up to snuff. I'm not so sure I'm willing to give the benefit of the doubt on the risotto. As far as a pasta dish goes, I'm so unaccustomed to ordering pasta dishes at restaurants because it is so easy to replicate good pasta with meat sauce at home, for about one one-hundredth of the price. I mentioned all of this, but they claimed that the meat sauce was really astounding.

I didn't have time to sample anything else at Barolo, but I'll be looking out for the meat sauce next time, and a decent heighted table made for eating and drinking.