|Guests at Artusi|
Artusi occupies a quiet, signless corner at 14th and Pine. It has a high ceiling, a concrete floor, a neutral gray color scheme with bright yellow accent tiles and hand-rolled paper lampshades. There's seating for a total of 50 at two bars (one at the cooking station, one for cocktails) and a string of tables for two overlooking the sidewalk. The place is named for Pellegrino Artusi, a northern Italian silk merchant who wrote Italy's first post-unification cookbook ("The Science of Cooking and the Art of Eating Well"), wildly popular in Italy at the end of the 19th century and only available in English since 1997.
|Borlotti beans with egg|
Gulp! Seattle wants more: bigger portions, more full-meal options. Sheesh! But Stratton's not a dogmatic chef, he's the soul of attentiveness to what his customers want . (Helps that he's got a great staff of business professionals working with him.) So dinner-size portions it is.
A lot of people, needless to say, have negative experiences (or negative expectations) about tripe.
"There's something deeply satisfying about taking such an overlooked and even off-putting ingredient and transforming it into something delicious and tender," Stratton tells me. "I've had many guests be surprised at how much they like it."
|Tripe with bone marrow & black truffles|
Most of the "funk" contained in tripe lies in the fat, and poaching helps render it. After the tripe is chilled, the honeycombs are scraped with a spoon to remove the rest of the fat residing in the folds and near the valves of the stomach. Then it's cut into thin strips.
Meanwhile the cooks prepare a brodo, a meat broth that begins with a soffrito of finely diced carrot, celery, onion, garlic, chopped rosemary and a little sage, pancetta and prosciutto rind. After it caramelizes and gets deglazed with white wine, the trips is added back and simmered for another three hours. When it's done, the brodo is thick and stew-like.
Stratton's line cook (Bobby Palmquist on a recent evening) finishes the dish with a slice of grilled bread, julienned black truffles from Oregon (sourced by Jeremy Faber of Foraged and Found), and discs of bone marrow (from Silvies Valley Ranch), seared in a hot pan and added at the last minute.
"This is sort of a Northwest ode to cooking tripe in the style of Piedmont, where bone marrow is often used to enrich tripe dishes," Stratton explains. In any event, the tripe is rich and flavorful, with the texture of sliced mushrooms. The best wine? Schiopettino from Friuli, Primitivo from Puglia, Negroamaro from Siciliy, Canonau from Sardinia, Barbera from Piedmont. It's really a dish that transcends wine.
Artusi, 1535 14th Avenue, Seattle, 206-251-7673