Tossed Salads and Scrambled Eggs

Off the Menu with Marissa Guggiana and Ethan Stowell at Tavolàta – Belltown, Seattle

Posted on: Tuesday 01 November 2011

‘For every dinner service there is a staff meal. Family style celebrations prepared by chefs for their crew, the meals are never on the menu, but are designed to show appreciation, provide energy for the evening, and more importantly, please even the pickiest palate.’ Marissa Guggiana

We joined Marissa at Tavolàta for an Off the Menu dinner by Chef Ethan Stowell. A converted loft with a high ceiling and an urban design, the dining room was moodily lit with flickering candles. Mirrors of varying shapes and sizes reflect light onto the bar.

Central to the restaurant is the tavolàta, a communal table.

The Sunday dinner was held on the mezzanine level which has an intimate view of the open plan kitchen.

The upstairs walls had metal inserts for pillars from which I souvenired a bruise on my upper arm.

Served family style, there were nine items listed on the printed menu plus bread with olive oil and balsamic vinegar, and olives.

These vibrant, glistening globes of Castelvetrano olives were mild and nutty.

My eyes widened as wooden boards and bowls were delivered one after the other. We manoeuvred plates, cutlery and stemware as our table was enlivened with appetisers.

Thin slices of prosciutto di Parma were topped with fresh figs and shaved Parmesan. I could have eaten the entire platter of buttery cured meat! Only three ingredients and yet such complex flavours.

Balls of buffalo mozzarella were drizzled with balsamic vinegar. Thick wedges of the soft, creamy cheese were spread onto grilled bread.

The last of the paddles were sword fish and pickled red onions crostini.

The chickpea salad was tossed with celery, golden raisins and lemon.

A requisite bowl of mixed garden greens was dressed with red wine vinaigrette and shaved Parmesan.

A much maligned fish, the grilled sardines had strong flavours and paired well with fennel, pistachio and salsa verde.

Crispy edged with a wobbly yolk, the sunny side up duck egg was resting on pan fried potato gnocchi and chanterelle mushrooms.

Bigoli with anchovy, chilli, garlic and pangritata is the recipe in Marissa’s book. A hollow, tubular pasta, the strands of firm bigoli contrasted with the coarse breadcrumbs.

Fluffy dough balls were dusted with icing sugar and we dipped the zeppole into the glossy chocolate sauce.

We were gifted a bag of freshly made Lagana Pasta campanelle. These little bells will be cooked for a midweek dinner.

We were lucky to have Marissa at our table to share a meal with, and engage in fascinating and convivial conversations. And sincere thanks to Ethan and his staff at Tavolàta for an impeccable service and a delicious dining experience.

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2 Responses to "Off the Menu with Marissa Guggiana and Ethan Stowell at Tavolàta – Belltown, Seattle"

[…] complimentary Lagana Foods campanelle from the Off The Menu dinner had a shelf life of two to three days. I followed this recipe for sous vide eggs and this […]

[…] has links to the ingredients’ local producers. For example, the mac and cheese pasta is from Lagana Foods, and cheeses are from Beecher’s and Mt Townsend Creamery. Bravo Chef Seth Caswell for […]

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