In the past week, the city's restaurant critics have reviewed two new neighborhood restaurants—Madrona's Vendemmia and Ravenna's Salare—along with John Sundstrom's Lark 2.0 in Capitol Hill. Here's a roundup of what they're saying:
For Providence Cicero, Brian Clevenger's Vendemmia joins the ranks of Seattle's best Italian restaurants: "Every pasta was superbly sauced. An intense tomato-basil emulsion clung to strands of spaghetti ... Another way to go is to reserve the chef's counter for a tasting menu. It seats up to five and requires 48-hours advance notice. The meal typically includes six starters, plus a pasta, an entree and dessert. At $50 per person, plus $25 if you add wine pairings, it's a deal." 3 stars.
Nicole Sprinkle has enjoyed some dishes at Edouardo Jordan's Salare, but feels they aren't consistently worth their prices: "[First trip:] While I don't typically have a problem with inflated ingredient costs at restaurants, that's because they're usually tastier than what I'd find on my own and elevated by the chef's craft. But merely throwing scant exotic elements at a dish doesn't count ... [Second trip:] A moist, medium rare duck breast was the best dish I had ... This was the kind of flair I'd been looking for from Jordan."
Angela Garbes says the new Lark is "honest and focused" (and delicious): "[Lark] chefs are doing some of the most confident cooking in town, knowing how and when to coax flavor out of an ingredient or to just leave it alone and let it shine ... Chicken-fried oysters ($16) is a dish you could order at many Seattle restaurants, but it wouldn't be as good as it is here: Thick, crackly shells of batter encase plump oysters so moist and briny, it seems dubious they ever saw the inside of the fryer."