It's officially obsolete to say West Seattle isn't a great food neighborhood. Vendemmia's Brian Clevenger just opened his second restaurant, Raccolto, a bit north of the Junction. The chef (an alum of Delfina in San Francisco and former head chef at Tavolàta and Staple and Fancy) lives in West Seattle; his new place arrives just after New Luck Toy's buzzy debut and toward the end of a year full of new eateries in this oft-underestimated part of town.
At his first restaurant in Madrona, Clevenger emphasizes seasonal seafood and vegetables, often alongside beautiful pasta. Vendemmia is one of those places that sounds so simple, but the savvy kitchen renders the reality utterly charming, and equally suitable to a casual Tuesday or a proper night out. (Which is why you'll find it on our list of the city's 100 best restaurants.)
Raccolto will share that focus on seafood and vegetables. The price point is a little lower, says Clevenger, and in a neighborhood that skews younger, "we're going to play a bit more." There's a dedicated "raw and cured" menu and a slightly larger lineup of housemade pasta, like strozzapreti with lamb bolognese, mint, and mascarpone, or charred octopus with farro and avocado. The chef is betting a tagliatelle with Irish butter and sea salt will become a staple the way the elementary spaghetti with tomato and basil built a fan base at Vendemmia.
Raccolto's 50-seat space at 4147 California Ave SW is bright and spare; happy hour runs 5 to 6pm. The kitchen is tucked under the mezzanine, along with the chef's counter, its six seats reserved in advance for a $70 chef's tasting. No surprise, seafood comes from East Anchor, the market Clevenger co-owns in Madrona. Oh, hey—there's a sample menu up on the website.