The tree remains. Agrodolce retains much of the look of former occupant 35th Street Bistro.

While the rest of the world counts down to doomsday, food-minded Seattleites are anticipating a momentous occasion of a different sort: the opening of Agrodolce. Maria Hines will debut her Fremont restaurant on December 21.

Agrodolce is located at 709 North 35th Street, the longtime address of 35th Street Bistro, which only just closed at the end of November. (Speediest changeover of restaurants ever? Quite possibly.) At first glance Agrodolce may not look all that different, but what's happening in the kitchen sure is a switch.

Agrodolce is the third restaurant in Hines's portfolio (Tilth and Golden Beetle being the first two; Agrodolce, too, will maintain Oregon Tilth organic certification) and finds the chef dabbling in the cuisine of southern Italy and Sicily. There's pasta, a food Hines has always loved, cannoli, and arancini, delightful fried orbs stuffed with beef and rice. To master the flavors, Hines embarked on an 11-day binge through the region. Rough. Sample the resulting handiwork as part of the special four-course menu Hines has planned for the Friday opening.