Brian Clevenger's ever-expanding universe of pasta houses and vegetable havens—Vendemmia in Madrona and Raccolto in West Seattle—adds another one: Le Messe officially opens today, January 26, in Eastlake.
In a wedge of a space at 1823 Eastlake Ave East, Le Messe is sleek and spartan—natural wood tables, white most everywhere, cement floors. Zero fuss given.
Menu wise, Clevenger stays true to form, delivering on the usual suspects such as freshly extruded pastas, simple seafood dishes, and vegetables done well. Indeed, the dude knows what he's good at. “Let’s stay true to who we are," Clevenger told me last November. "People get lost in trying to do something different.”
Find some of Clevenger's greatest hits like ahi crudo with Calabrian chili, many a handmade pasta—cappeletti with ricotta, strozzapreti with tender braised rabbit, bucatini and clams—plus smoked Wagyu hanger steak for the meat fiends.
In the center of the space a long chef's bar wraps around the prep zone. This will be walk-in only seating where an exclusive menu of three or so dishes will be served; maybe Clevenger will make you some fresh mozzarella right in front of you.
Meanwhile at the bar, tucked towards the back where the Space Needle and twinkling surroundings of Lake Union are in view, expect lots of lovely Italian wines and house cocktails, many of which include some amari or bitters or a combination of the two. Catch happy hours twice daily from 5 to 6, and again from 9 to 10. Restaurant hours are 5 to 10.