Lunch at Il Corvo, Pioneer Square

Il Corvo

Saw this wonderful hand made pasta dish posted by Shevonne on instagram and decided there and then to make a trip down to Pioneer Square to check it out. It’s situated next to a rather promising looking BBQ joint as well, and right after a meal one could just pop down to Uwajimaya to get some groceries done.

They usually have about three pastas on the menu, and the menu changes daily based on what’s available, kinda like an omakase but for pasta. So you can order as much or as little as you like. What we ordered was pretty much what we saw everyone else ordering:

Il Corvo
We started with the prosciutto and pickled celery – the prosciutto was so fresh! For a cured meat. You know what I mean. It’s not like those square cut prosciutto packages you find in QFC – I have one sitting in my fridge right now that’s like a month old and tough. This was really tender, nicely salted, and went perfectly with the tart celery.

Il Corvo
Their focaccia is also to die for – moist, squashy cubes which mop up the olive oil beautifully. I wish I could bake focaccia like that – have had no success with that particular bread so far despite having a bread maker. I suspect I’m not adding enough oil – their focaccia just slides down your throat.

Il Corvo
For pasta, we got the casarecce with prosciutto, caramelized onions, and calabrian chili – a pretty inventive ragu which unexpectedly works, and works well. The kick from the chili was perfect – there are too few spicy pastas in Seattle.

Il Corvo
We also got the Chitarra d’oro – chitarra being like spaghetti but with a square cross section. Their pastas have a great bite and taste obviously homemade. This was done in a saffron sauce that was kinda tart, I preferred the casarecce. I’d definitely go back to try their bolognese sauce. They seem to have a bid for authenticity and I would love to find a great non-tomato bolognese just like the ones in well, Bologna.

In general in ordering hand made pasta I think it makes more sense to go for thicker cut pastas like linguine or tagliatelle, or even the cute little rolled ones like the casarecce or orechiette, just so the pasta is thick enough for you to appreciate its bite. If they’re cut up all thin like in capellini or chitarra the chewiness may not be as apparent.

Oh yes – they frown on holding tables. The protocol is to join the queue to order (which is typically rather long, long enough for a few tables to vacate while you’re in line), and THEN grab a seat after you’ve placed your order. They WILL tell you to vacate your table if you have not ordered and are just ‘choping’ it, like Singaporeans are wont to do. I don’t think this is a very good system, because what if the place is packed and first-timers are not vacating their tables fast enough? You’d just be hanging around holding your plate. And the place is TINY, mind you. Apart from standing in the line there really isn’t much more space to hang around to wait for a seat. It’s worked for them so far and I haven’t been in enough times to comment, so you’ve just got to trust that this system works given their quick turnover.

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