At least one critically-acclaimed restaurant in Seattle won’t be making a post-pandemic comeback. Bisato, the upscale Italian destination in Pioneer Square, is permanently closed. Founding chef and co-owner Scott Carsberg confirmed the news to Eater Seattle.
Bisato shut down in mid-March around the time Washington’s stay-at-home order was implemented. But troubling signs had already emerged the previous month when Carsberg departed the restaurant suddenly. The chef wouldn’t elaborate on the reason for his leaving, but appears to be ready to move on. “When I was there, I enjoyed cooking behind the stove every day in dedication to my customers, cuisine, my beloved neighbors in the community, and to the partnership, as well as the landlord,” he says.
The restaurant had been around in one form or another for years. Carsberg — one of the most prominent names in the Seattle restaurant world — originally opened Lampreia in Belltown in 1992, then transformed it into the original Bisato 18 years later. Carsberg closed that restaurant in 2012, citing the “intensity” of his schedule as a reason, and took a six-year hiatus, before announcing Bisato’s Pioneer Square revival, with backing from Sam and Katsuko Takahashi (Sam has been a silent partner at Pike Place’s prestigious Japanese spot Sushi Kashiba).
When Carsberg left Bisato redux in February, the remaining crew kept things going under the same name, but were in the process of rebranding the restaurant’s location at 84 Yesler Way before the COVID-19 pandemic hit the city in full force. It’s unclear whether Takahashi will try to introduce a new concept in the same space when dine-in services resume. Eater Seattle has reached out to the restaurant and Takahashi through various channels for weeks, but has not heard back.
As for Carsberg, he still leaves open the possibility of returning to the kitchen at some point down the line. “I wanted to be a chef when I was 15 and I still do, and I look forward to my next venture,” he says.