Thursday, August 29, 2013

Italian cuisine invades the Valley

Bar Cantinetta set to debut this week

With its five French restaurants plus a patisserie or two, Madison Valley has evolved into something of an à la française neighborhood over the past few years. French influence, however, took a big hit recently with the demise of both Rover’s and La Cote. Now a new entry onto the scene is about to mix things up in the Valley with a dose of Italian. Later this week, Bar Cantinetta will open its doors in the space vacated by La Cote.  Where crepes were once the thing, diners can now expect something Tuscan inspired.

Since it opened in 2009, Wallingford’s Cantinetta has been a successful and well-regarded Italian restaurant (rated, in fact, “Best Italian” by Seattle Magazine last year). Bar Cantinetta is intended to be a worthy offshoot, but with a more intimate space and a less expansive menu.

Owner Trevor Greenwood tells us that there are several things that drew him to Madison Valley. “It just seemed like it was the right time and right place,” for one thing. “We’re going to try to be a good neighborhood restaurant,” he says, and Madison Valley seemed to have a lot of the attributes of the Wallingford neighborhood.  Another factor is that Greenwood lives in Leschi, so the commute is easy for him personally.  Finally, Greenwood is friends with La Cote’s former owner, Arnaud Guerin, and had the inside track on moving into the space when La Cote exited.  It all just fell in to place.  Guerin will be a part owner in the new venture.

Greenwood says he’s not trying to duplicate Cantinetta but rather create a smaller version of the restaurant, with one of the possible benefits being “opening people’s eyes to what we can do and perhaps driving them to try Cantinetta.”  But the new restaurant will certainly stand on its own, Greenwood notes, catering to the people who live in the neighborhood and who want Italian.

Bar Cantinetta will be half the size of the original, but Greenwood says it will be similar in terms of offering the same kinds of traditional Tuscan foods.  There will be 12 antipasti dishes, four primi dishes (pasta), and at least one secondi dish (“halibut or something else that’s fresh”).  There will also be a full-service bar and a “fairly extensive” wine list, Greenwood promises.

Structural changes to the La Cote space have resulted in a bit more seating, with about 35 seats, including at the bar. There will be eight large tables as well as a Tuscan long table, seating 8 or 9.  Unlike Cantinetta in Wallingford (or its sister restaurant in Bellevue), Bar Cantinetta will offer lunch, Greenwood says, as well as a “nice Italian Sunday brunch.”

Those who’d like to get a preview of what’s to come at Bar Cantinetta are invited to a “Friends and Neighbors” pre-opening party tonight, August 29, at 6 p.m. The restaurant is slated to open for business on Friday.

[Bar Cantinetta is located at 2811 E. Madison St.]

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.