"I know what we're best at and that's what we're going to focus on," says Brian Clevenger. And if you've been paying attention, you know he means pasta, seafood, and vegetables. His restaurants Vendemmia in Madrona, including neighboring market East Anchor Seafood, and Raccolto in West Seattle stand as evidence. Clevenger indeed sticks to what he executes well. "And I think that's okay," he says, "Let's stay true to who we are; people get lost in trying to do something different."
How oddly refreshing. There's a self-help book in there somewhere.
But you can't eat books. You can eat extruded pasta made in house, vegetables sourced locally and treated with TLC, and seafood dishes at Le Messe at 1823 Eastlake Ave East.
If all goes according to schedule, Clevenger's latest restaurant will open in January. Squid ink spaghetti and short rib agnolotti are a couple dishes that might appear on the Le Messe menu, says the chef, alongside fresh burrata, crudos, and made-to-order mozzarella, which sounds pretty heavenly. The 50-seat space includes a chef's counter (sorry, no reservations here), plus a full bar with cocktails and wine, local and non.
Eastlake holds a sort of special place in Clevenger's heart; it was the first neighborhood in which he lived a decade and some change ago. And early in the new year, he'll bless it with a large pasta menu, with dishes hovering around $7 or $8, a twice daily happy hour from 5 to 6 and 9 to 10. Later in the spring, an outdoor patio will sprout up with about 30 seats.
As Erik Jackson helms Vendemmia in place of Rock Silva, Silva will soon take the lead alongside Clevenger at Le Messe. Updates on the new space as we have them.