When Scott Carsberg closed Bisato in 2012, it was the end of a storied chapter in Seattle dining. Now the James Beard Award–winning chef will write a new one.
Carsberg will open a new iteration of Bisato later this year in Pioneer Square, specifically at the 84 Yesler Way address that was long home to Trattoria Mitchelli.
“I looked everywhere,” says the chef, who cooked the occasional popup dinner in the intervening years, worked for a while with Fran’s Chocolates, and consults in various capacities. Rent for restaurant spaces on Capitol Hill and in Ballard gave him pause. One day he was walking his dog past this brick building, where Post Ave meets Yesler Way, and saw workers inside. Carsberg knew the former occupant, Danny Mitchell, and poked his head in to ask what was going on. One look upwards at the natural wood ceiling no longer hidden beneath paint and drywall and he was in.
The new Bisato should look familiar to anybody familiar with the original small-plate Venetian dining concept. Some favorites, like the beet blini and ravioli aperto will return; Carsberg has ordered a custom slicer from Italy designed specifically for Parma ham. The dining room seats nearly as many people as the original.
According to the Daily Journal of Commerce, the address has been empty since 2009, the year before Carsberg transformed his fine dining restaurant Lampreia into the more casual Bisato. Back then, he installed a long, curving bar; here the old brick walls will house more of a dining room vibe, though the same unfussy approach, which Carsberg terms “fine cooking, not fine dining.”
It's far too early to hazard a guess when the new Bisato will open—Carsberg and business partner Sam Takahashi haven't yet finalized a contractor. During the Lampreia days, the West Seattle–born chef was a force in Seattle dining. While he's opening his doors to a city, and a neighborhood, in the throes of big changes, I can't wait to see what his return brings.