We decided to have a Ritrovo festa at a new restaurant called Cascina Spinasse which is chef-ed by our longtime friend and Ritrovo pal, Justin Neidermeyer. Here is a chef who knows exactly how to place an Il Mongetto Stuffed Hot Pepper on a meat plate, or adorn a cheese platter with a dollop of Mostarda d’Uva. He pours Acetorium vinegars and Mannucci-Droandi Organic Chianti Classico Extra Virgin Olive Oil, all RITROVO® products. And he also has a great selection of after-dinner grappa, for those who long for this Italian luxury.
“Our most elegant dinner in Seattle was at a new Piedmontese restaurant called Spinasse. It is Justin Neidermeyer’s presentation of the ‘vera cucina’ of the Piemonte– meaning true to the nature of Italian Regional cooking. It is quite refreshing to be impressed by the authenticity of an Italian restaurant here in the Northwest, after frequent disappointment upon returning from the astounding food culture of Italy. Featured here is a brief description of our beautiful meal at Spinasse.
At Spinasse there are two options for the tasting menu– a full four-course meal, with choice from Antipasti, Primi, Secondi and Dolce– or simply an Antipasto and a Primo. We opted for the latter, as our Italian eating skills were slightly out of practice. Spinasse also serves individual dishes, al piatto, by the plate.
Antipasti: We filled our small side of the candle lit, rough wood table, with colorful antipasti plates of rabbit & chicory salad, anchovies in a classic Piedmontese Salsa Verde w/ egg yolk (a dish I remember seeing on countless menus in Italy). This dish was bettered only by the delicate and simple presentation of veal slices with Spinasse’s Tonnato Sauce. Ottimo. This is the distinction between a restaurant that desperately tries to impress foodies with weird new concoctions simply for the purpose of being different, and a restaurant that creates a new experience from one that is truly authentic.
And we haven’t even arrived at the primi! The hand-cut egg pasta, ‘tajarin’ on the menu, was even more delicate than the pork ragu‘ sauce which accompanied it, and second only to the best bolgnese ragu’ I’ve had in Bologna proper. The thick aroma of the sauce, combined with the lightness of the pasta created a perfect contrast to the al dente texture (which Italians take very seriously).
We also couldn’t resist a bowl of Spinach & Ricotta Ravioli made by Justin’s own hands (or those of his sous-chef staff) gently paired with butter and sage. This is yet another quintessential Northern Italian comfort meal, light and rich simultaneously.
We finished our meal with a small complimentary grappetta. From the decor to the handmade pasta, Spinasse is clearly run by love, and a very well executed infatuation with the Piemonte se regional cuisine. Italian cuisine is Italian culture. Bravo, Justin.”
This is a guest spot from our marvelous Oregon Sales Representative Catie Di Gregorio.