Ristorante Machiavelli – Seattle – Capsule Restaurant Review

[Note: this is a capsule review; here are more complete restaurant reviews]

Ristorante Machiavelli is somewhat the antithesis of Seattle’s upscale restaurant scene. They specialize in red sauce Italian. With the exception of tuna carpaccio, the cliches are from the 1950s, not 2008. Sometimes that is just what I’m looking for. Minestrone, Caesar salad, spaghetti, lasagna, piccata. Alfredo, carbonara. No surprises.

The cognitive dissonance with the rest of Capitol hill is kind of pronounced; clientele is young and hip. If you are young and hip it is dark and candlelit enough to make a good second or third date. My wife says it is a little loud for a first date.

Machiavelli takes no reservations, and is usually jammed by 6:30 or so. There is a small but hospitable full bar downstairs where you can down a Manhattan or a glass of house red and wait for one of the ten or so tables upstairs.

Tonight I had a simple gnocchi al sugo. Gnocchi is darn tricky to get right in a restaurant. Trust me, I’ve rolled thousands of them. Machiavelli takes the path of least resistance by not pressing each one with a fork. That means they don’t hold sauce quite as well. But the texture was excellent. Pillowy and soft, not at all chewy or tough. Served with a simple strained tomato sauce, they hit the spot intensely. Other vegetarian options include penne with red pepper, cream and walnut sauce and eggplant parmesan.

Dinner for three adults and a kiddo, with 3 salads, 4 entrees, and 2 adult beverages came to $94 including tax and tip.

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