This is a danger alert from your Capitol Hill neighborhood watch.
Chef Jason Stratton (of savory handmade pasta fame) has opened Italian aperitivo bar Artusi next door to beloved restaurant Spinasse. Plywood zebra striping, handsome gunmetal walls, and a cozy nook with a Venetian glass chandelier lure in unsuspecting passersby.
There are reports of a sophisticated yet casual atmosphere, wherein folks share complex cocktails like the Brujita Mia (tequila, Liquore Strega, cardamom bitters, lemon, and Meyer lemon liqueur) and exotic small plates including homemade ricotta on semolina crackers and Lopez Island clams with dolcetto, fresh sardine tortino, and arugula. It would be a crime not to try the local pigeon in saor — which comes with raisins, sweet-and-sour cipollini leaves, and cocoa.
Patrons have been seen enjoying themselves in the nine-seat, bar-side kitchen. Further investigation reveals that a horseshoe-shaped bar maximizes socializing and merrymaking.
Beware repeat offenders. You will become one of them.
Artusi, 1535 14th Avenue (206-251-7673 or artusibar.com).
Photo: Lindsay Borden Photography / Courtesy of Artusi