Seattle's restaurant reviewers took a hard look at the do-overs of Vespolina (formerly Aragona) and Hommage (formerly Book Bindery). Kathryn Robinson of Seattle Met says that Hommage has attempted to reinvent itself as younger and more accessible, thanks to some redecorating and a menu redo by chef Nico Borzee.
"Hommage is aiming a straight pitch at the young cosmopolitan connoisseurs who roam the world’s cities photographing their plates," Robinson writes. Some of the dishes went over very well, while that pesky boeuf Bourguignon (which irked Providence Cicero of The Seattle Times) didn't receive such high marks here, either. It was "so overrich and overdone it had no business in a restaurant, period. Ah inconsistency…perhaps the most youthful quality of all."
Nicole Sprinkle of Seattle Weekly also visited Hommage, noting "while excited by the pageantry, I was also mildly burdened by it." The food was met with mixed reviews, and the pacing was off. "If I closed my eyes, I might have have been at Damn the Weather or Single Shot or any of the many trendy cocktail bars that send out food like extra balls in a pinball machine, fast and unpredictably—which is fitting in those places but not at this one." She gives Borzee the benefit of the doubt, positing that he might just need more time to get it all right.
Robinson also visited Vespolina, Jason Stratton's Italian re-do of Aragona after it became clear that his Spanish restaurant wasn't going over well. Robinson isn't pleased with the pasta: "Vespolina lacks Spinasse’s pasta—and not just its signature rich tajarin. No, it lacks Spinasse’s way with pasta; detectable on several visits in the form of a gummy lamb ragù cavatelli, a bland and bloodless guanciale carbonara, a cliche of a squash ravioli with sage butter and amaretti." She liked the non-pasta dishes better.
And Sprinkle doesn't seem overly pleased, either. There were miscues with her reservation, and the food was up and down. Overall, "I expected—and hoped for—more from Vespolina since it’s based on a formula that Stratton has perfected at his other restaurants, and because solid Italian restaurants are hard to come by in Seattle. But until better ones come along, I’ll stick with Il Corvo and Ethan Stowell’s generally spot-on, and affordable, Northwest trattorias."