Monday, December 7, 2009

Pisanos and the Wolf. by violet

How to Cook a Wolf has been at the top of my “places to try” list for some time. Utter Ambrosia says it is one of her faves, so clearly it comes with good street cred. Whenever J.’s parents come into town we like to pick a nice place to go to dinner. Much like J., his parents are always up for good food, good wine and a new place. How to Cook a Wolf also has the great appeal of being just about in between our place and J.’s sister’s.

So it was off to Wolf for dinner. It’s a teeny tiny little place. It probably seats only about 20 or so. This is not a place I would recommend for big groups.  And forget about a waiting area. You’d better go across the street and get a cup of coffee. But even though there were 5 of us we got a table pretty quickly - it was Tuesday. 

The menu changes daily so every time you go it’s a little bit different. Since its small plate style we got the try a lot of different things. Everyone  threw out a dish or two that they wanted to try and that ended up being enough food for us all.

We started with the poached ocean trout with cucumber, radish and lemon.

Next up was the frisee salad with hazelnut, sherry dressing and ricotta salata. Sometimes it’s hard to wax poetic about salads. Many a contestant on Top Chef has been kicked off for “only” doing a salad. But I really liked this one. The dressing was tangy and the hazelnuts and ricotta were a nice addition.

Up next was my pick for the evening, brushcetta with chicken liver mousse, pistachio and sultana. I loved it. The chicken liver really was a whipped mousse. That turned a few people in our group off but I liked the juxtaposition of the rich flavor with the light texture.

Baked polenta with mozzarella, anchovy and garlic

Escolar crudo with avocado, serrano chili and lime.

Duck leg confit with chanterelle, faro and marjoram (Liz is going to kill me...)

Semolina gnocchi with brown butter and parmesan

Strozzapretti with gunciale, tomato and chili. This was definitely J.’s favorite dish of the evening. Certainly one of mine too. It had just the right amount of heat.

Overall, How to Cook a Wolf met my high expectations. I loved the small plates style that makes it easy to try new things. Who would I have thought that I would be into chicken liver mousse? The atmosphere is great and our service was excellent as well. I would totally recommend for showing out of town guests what food in Seattle is about or for a special occasion – especially if said occasion is on a weeknight (word on the street is that weekend wait times can top an hour).

Since our out of town guests had just driven up from Portland that day they came bearing Voo Doo Donut treats. The Voo Doo Doll, the bacon maple bar and the Portland Crème. And yes the Voo Doo Doll is filled with raspberry jelly and looks pretty gross when you cut into him.

The bacon maple bar taste pretty much like you think it will. It’s good but I still find it wrong.

The Portland Crème was my hands-down favorite.

Though I’m not sure I could have eaten a whole one, especially after the dinner we had.

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