“Cuoco” is the Italian word for “cook.” Right now, at any given time during Seattle Restaurant Week, there are over 160 cuochi at the ready to try to please your palate during the promotion. You actually have a little more than a week to participate, as Seattle Restaurant Week is actually two weeks, running this week and next, Sunday through Thursday (October 13-17 and 20-24) excluding Sunday brunch.
Seattle Restaurant Week remains an affordable way to check out a place that’s been on your must-try list. Cuoco was on mine. Part of the Tom Douglas family of restaurants, Cuoco features northern Italian cuisine. With Matt Fortner (former chef at How to Cook a Wolf, among other places) at the helm, I expected an enjoyable evening out.
The food was good (in that solid “B” range that I’ve come to expect from Tom Douglas’ restaurants) and the service was spot on. Cuoco was clearly handling Seattle Restaurant Week quite well, though I suggest recognizing that kitchen crew and waitstaff might be a little more stressed than usual for these two weeks. You might want to dine early, if possible, to avoid the chaos that can come with crowds.
Your investment for a three-course dinner menu (appetizer, entree, and dessert) is just $28. (Drinks, tax, and tip are extra.) Considering that, for example, Rigatoni with Pork Sausage Ragu at Cuoco is usually $19 by itself, the addition of two courses is a bargain. Even better: some restaurants, like Cuoco, offer a three-course lunch for only $15. That’s my recommended way to enjoy Seattle Restaurant Week if your schedule is flexible.
Further, be flexible with your restaurant choices. Popular places like Poppy and Crush can fill quickly. Call ahead to check on reservations. And review Seattle Restaurant Week’s website for a complete list of restaurants, including links to the menus, to discover other restaurants preparing three-course menus for the two-week period.
Read on for a look at some of the dishes (two rounds of three courses) from Cuoco’s menu for Seattle Restaurant Week.
Salt cod fritters with aioli and pickled vegetables were simultaneously creamy and crispy.
Seems like the right season for this delicious winter squash soup, pine nut brittle, and brown butter.
Here’s the Rigatoni with pork sausage ragu, marjoram, and pecorino. My dining companion and I really enjoyed the porky flavor of the sauce despite slight oversalting.
The true cod came with braised greens and cauliflower puree. A nice dinner plate all-around, but water escaping from the fish, I believe, diluted the otherwise delightful puree.
The textures of the chocolate-espresso semifreddo, soft whip, cocoa crunch, and verona caramel were captivating. I enjoyed the firmness of the frozen exterior “shell,” followed by the mousse-like meltiness of the interior.
The other dessert was this butterscotch budino with rosemary pine nut brittle, and rye cookies. A sweet finish!