Dinner at Assaggio, Belltown

This is the first Italian Italian restaurant we’ve stepped into since arriving here in September. I say Italian Italian to highlight that it’s not American Italian, i.e. the sort that serves spaghetti bolognese and chicken parmigiana, and to highlight the fact that it’s waaay different from Olive Garden. (Nothing against Olive Garden, mind you, I love their breadsticks. But Italian Italian is just so much better!)

We had the grilled scallop starter which was really quite inexpensive but which I also thought tasted a little weak on the scallop flavour, like they were injected with water. They were extremely soft (not mushy), but not soft in the nicely under-seared sense, just… soft. I liked them but they are certainly not the best scallops around. FYI, the best seared scallops I’ve had in Seattle so far were at How to Cook a Wolf.

I had been craving for a saltimbocca for the longest time – it’s pretty rare in Singaporean italian restaurants and when it’s not rare, it’s REALLY expensive just because it’s veal scaloppine and well, we import all our meat. The saltimbocca here is really quite good, although I think they could have wedged more sage between the prosciutto and the veal. The champagne sauce on the veal was also perfectly velvety and aromatic.

We decided to get the risotto special with gorgonzola sauce, melon, and prosciutto – thought it was pretty interesting that someone decided to build the classic Italian appetizer of prosciutto and cantaloupe into a risotto. The gorgonzola sauce was a little on the dry side, but I must say I thought everything worked together really well. I love how innovative restaurants here are and how they keep making me push the limits of what I’m willing to try. So many of the restaurants in Seattle have convinced me to eat sp many things I never thought I’d care to eat and convinced me that they were delicious. I must say the chefs in the Pacific Northwest are extremely adept at putting ingredients together in mindblowing combinations. More on that in a later post on Tavolata.

We had a Tartufo for dessert – chocolate gelato with a zabaglione center dusted with cocoa powder. I liked the strong marsala/egg yolk taste of the zabaglione, although the chocolate gelato was a little lacklustre. Still, a pretty good tartufo, since I rarely see this outside of Italy I’m gonna give them stars for the effort.


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