Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Pasta Paradise by violet

Every once in a while, you get a dining out experience so great from start to finish that you can’t keep it to yourself. So apologies to my friends and family who have already heard about Spinasse but you get to hear all about it again.

After doing some research and a strong recommendation from Shelby and Nick, I decided on Spinasse for my most recent birthday dinner. JP called the Monday before we wanted to go on Friday and they informed him that they could get us in at either 5:15 or 10:15. The hostess did inform us that they reserved some tables for walk-ins and we might get lucky.

Since we had a wonderfully day of kayaking, shopping and drinks with friends we took out time getting over to the restaurant and arrive about 9:45. Even at that late hour the small dining room was still bustling. The space feels little bit like you have been invited to the coolest dinner party ever. The dining room feels like what a welcoming, hip, food-lover's dream.

The hostess told us it would probably be 20 minutes and we could wait at the connected bar, Artusi. The bar in it of itself is a gem. A great relaxed vibe, there weren’t too many people there considering that it was a Friday night and Capitol Hill is always looking for a good place to get a drink. Fellas, if you are looking for a place to take your lady for a drink – I highly recommend it.

Our bartender was friendly and easily chatted. He was incredibly knowledgeable with both us and other patrons at the bar – suggesting drinks, talking about alcohols, etc. We order drinks and bread and cheese to tide us over.

Our bartender soon informed us our table was ready while handing us the bill for the drinks. This is one of those seamless service things that continued throughout the night. No strange exchange with the hostess. The staff all worked together to make our experience awesome.

The hostess (who knew exactly who we were when we walked up) sat us at the small bar with a view into the kitchen which turned out to be a great way to see a busy staff at work.

Our server was amazing from the start. I’m not sure we ever got his name but he was a bald hipster guy with glasses. He was funny, charming and attentive, without being overbearing. He made great recommendations for a half bottle of wine which didn’t break the bank. When the girls next to us asked with the rabbit meatball smelled like, he said “heaven.”

We ordered those heavenly rabbit meatballs along with a salad, ravioli and the duck ragu pasta special. The rabbit meatballs served with polenta were the highlight but everything was delicious. It was exactly what you want from Italian food, house-made pasta with sauces cooked slowly and with care.

As the night wore on we got to see the staff eat dinner in the kitchen, which also looked amazing. Our server’s girlfriend showed up and ate at the bar. We got to talking with them about restaurants in Vancouver BC. We felt pretty cool for being able to say that we had been to Vig’s.

I walked away from the night thinking that if Spinasse was a person I’d marry it. Laugh, I know, but it was a place that you could tell was built with love - open, charming, unpretentious, yet still excellent and uncompromising. Wait…maybe I am marrying Spinasse.

Thank you to my lovely fiancé for the wonderful birthday. And thanks to Spinasse for the wonderful dinner.

Violet in Steve Madden Tuscaan

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