On the Menu
Artusi's New(ish) Chef Adds a Tasting Menu to the Mix
Nico Borzee has an impressive background, which he uses to produce multicourse tasting menus in a very small space.
The quality of food happening at Artusi was already pretty impressive, given the fact that the kitchen is, shall we say, limited. (As is the freaking fantastic cocktail program, headed up by Adam Fortuna. But I digress). But Spinasse's aperitivi-focused spinoff has a new sous chef with an impressive track record and he's creating full-on tasting menus, much like the ones happening in Spinasse's dining room next door. Except he pulls these off using little more than a hot plate, a tiny convection oven, and a few induction burners (and some prep help from the Spinasse kitchen).
French-born Nico Borzee spent the first decade of his career in France, cooking at places like L'Atelier de Joel Robuchon and Alain Ducasse's Bar et Boeuf in Monte Carlo. He spent four years in San Francisco cooking at Coi and elsewhere, before arriving in Seattle and adding this twist to Artusi's food offerings. His menus are a mix of plates from the regular menu and dishes freestyled with some input from Spinasse chef Stuart Lane and stylish culinary overlord Jason Stratton.
There's a new lineup every week, Borzee said in an email, and customers "get a blind menu," aka you won't necessarily know what's coming out next. Menus can be three, four, or five courses ($35, $45, or $55, respectively). A recent $55 dinner started with a poached shigoku oyster with blood orange essence, radish, and a buckwheat cracker, moved on to a soft poached egg with prosciutto cream, broccoli and balsamic, then a tortellini dish with roasted veal in a ginger allspice brodo, The meat course: a roasted lamb chop with green garlic pan jus and grilled spring onions; for dessert, an opera cake with chocolate glaze and espresso gelato.
If you're not into dessert, you can sub in an extra starter or pasta dish. Oh, and speaking of Fortuna, he and the bar staff will absolutely do beverage pairings.