July 15, 2011
Interior shot of Trattoria Cioppino
A couple of weekends ago, when Seattle’s summertime weather was still an iffy proposition and sunny days were still very much in the minority, we seized the day (so to speak) to trek the approximately three-mile circuit around Green Lake.
Just before starting, we walked by a small retail complex across the street from the lake that houses a BluWater Bistro, pizza joint, health club, and a new entry–Trattoria Cioppino. As we passed by, we recognized a familiar face–Erik Brisbane–long-time general manager at Barolo Ristorante in downtown Seattle and most recently employed by Cafe Campagne.
We struck up a conversation with our friend, picked up a menu, and snapped a couple of shots of the inviting interior of what used to be a World Wrapps!
Below are further details from a press release that Erik sent out yesterday announcing a new menu and other tweaks to this newcomer upon the Seattle restaurant scene.
Welcome to Erik and Chef Riccardo Simeone. Long may you reign in Green Lake!
<<Seattle’s newest Italian dining destination, opened their doors for business at the beginning of June. Chef and co-owner Riccardo Simeone (sim-ee-oh-knee) spent the month of June perfecting his timing and recipes and released a new menu the second week of July.
“I was finally able to source some good organic flour and perfect my recipes,” Simeone says. “The soft opening allowed me to experiment with my pastas and try out new techniques.”
Located at the north end of Green Lake in a former World Wrapps storefront, Simeone and co-owner Silvia McDowell have transformed a drab space into a casual dining spot with elegant and affordable food.
By its very definition, a trattoria is an informal dining establishment akin to a bistro or café. The fantastic, quick to prepare food is perfect for a full lunch or dinner, an afternoon snack with a glass of wine, or a perfectly crafted dessert with an espresso.
Hailing from Gaeta, Italy (located midway between Rome and Naples in the province of Lazio) Chef Simeone spent his youth working in kitchens throughout Italy. Upon arriving in the States in 1993, he perfected his kitchen skills in Las Vegas and Seattle, including stints with Cucina Cucina and Barolo. Most recently Chef Simeone ventured to the Washington D.C. environs to open the Buddha Bar there. After surviving an East Coast winter, he concluded that appeal of Seattle was too great and that he must head home to open his own place.
His business partner (and pantry cook) Silvia McDowell found the North Green Lake location and with a bit of imagination, paint, and marble they transformed the fast food restaurant into a casual 40-seat dining destination.
“Green Lake is wonderful,” says McDowell. “It’s close to where I live in Greenwood and the neighborhood itself is so dynamic and friendly. We’ve heard from our neighbors that there was a real need for a new place, so our timing is perfect.”
Though Chef Simeone’s birthplace is near the center of Rome, his culinary influences explore all of Italy, embracing Tuscany, Sicily, Sardinia, as well as his homeland of Lazio.
Homemade and inventive pastas are a passion for the chef. He constantly strives to find new combinations of flavors that marry well on the dish. He makes Cavatelli, multiple flavors of gnocchi, as well as raviolis on a marble-topped workspace in his kitchen. He is working with a local craftsman in designing a new table where he can make pastas in the dining room during the daytime. In the near future, he will sell pre-packaged pastas that he has created for people to take home and cook themselves. Along with his signature marinara sauce, one will have the option of enjoying dinner at Trattoria Cioppino or taking Trattoria Cioppino home with them.
The vast menu includes both the familiar and inventive. Trattoria Cioppino features the same menu (with few changes) both for lunch and dinner.
For appetizers, one can enjoy Crispy Calamari with Prawns, Zucchini, and Granny Smith Apples; Lemon-Butter Prawns; as well as a delightful Prosciutto and Marinated Fig Crostini or a Portobello Mushroom and Crab Patty.
Lunchtime selections include a Watermelon Salad with Aged Ricotta and a Raspberry Dressing as well as a Portobello Mushroom Sandwich with Spicy Strawberry Jam and Goat Cheese.
Pasta highlights include a section devoted exclusively to pastas made in house including a variety of raviolis, Spinach Gnocchi with Prawns and Bottarga, and a Duck Ragu Cavatelli.
Living up to the restaurant’s namesake, a Rich and Robust Cioppino is offered to fulfill any seafood lover’s desires. With Manila Clams, Penn Cove Mussels, calamari, and so much more in the chef’s tomato broth, the seafood “stew” is a crowd-pleaser. Chef Simeone includes Free-Range Chicken, Natural Angus Beef Tenderloin (with a Garlic-Rosemary Truffle Butter,) as well as Veal Porcini, and Chicken Marsala.
Not to be outdone, the desserts made in house include the familiar (a quite light Tiramisu and a Seasonal Crème Brulée) as well as the “BDCIS,” a secret recipe cheesecake that Chef Simeone guards closely.
7900 East Green Lake Drive North Suite 107
Seattle, WA 98103
Hours of Operation:
Lunch: Tuesday through Sunday from 11 am to 4 pm
Dinner: Tuesday through Sunday from 4 pm to 10 pm
Beer, wine, and non-alcoholic beverages are available.
Reservations not required for parties up to four. Parties of six or more are highly recommended to book in advance, as space is limited.