Belltown, Seattle

Everything on the menu at Bisato sounds and looks like a work of art.  The tapas-style restaurant’s emphasis is on the construction of the dishes, and ingredients are creatively combined and beautifully presented, with each element placed ‘just so’ on the plate and each bite requiring a careful assembly of all the flavors on the plate. Eating at Bisato feels a bit like tip toeing around a modern art museum, where the works of art can be mesmerizing or abstract, with some dishes leaving you impressed and intrigued and others making you yearn for a simple bowl of pasta.

The deconstructed tuna and hamachi crudo with pickled seaweed and a mousse of parsley and oyster sauce was one of the most beautiful dishes I’ve been served, with bright colors and strong shapes; each bite required a careful construction of each ingredient on the plate in order to fully experience the intended flavor.  The roasted sardine over shaved fennel was also delicious – surprisingly smoky and intense without being overly fishy.

Tuna and hamachi crudo and the roasted sardine over fennel

In general, the dishes were served with just enough for everyone at our six-person table to have a taste of each. This worked for the pasta square with truffle oil, heavy cream and sprinkled with parmesan, which only required a bite to appreciate the essence of the dish. However, for the parmesan gnocchi in a wine sauce (which wound up being my favorite dish), they served us five rather than six pieces of gnocchi, a service oversight that seemed quite silly when we were so obviously going to great pains to split dishes.

We also tried the braised short rib, the polenta with meat ragu, and the folded pasta with octopus puttanesca – all of which were creatively and thoughtfully arranged, and while the dishes were very good, the presentation was more memorable than the food itself.

The parmesan gnocchi, polenta with meat ragu, and folded pasta with octopus puttanesca

The highlight of the meal was dessert – orange confit with chocolate caramel mousse. The syrupy orange had been prepared for three days and had an exquisitely intense flavor, matched bite for bite by the rich chocolate mousse paired with it.

On the whole, while I admired the creativity of the menu and the aesthetics of the presentation, at the end of the day, I left the meal feeling more like I’d experienced a delicate work of art than like I’d had a wholesome dinner.

2400 First Avenue
Seattle, WA 98121
This entry was posted in Belltown, Dinner, Italian, Seattle, Small plates, Tapas and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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