I work in Queen Anne and was hoping to go to Emmer and Rye after work and ended up at Ethan Stowell’s joint, How to Cook a Wolf. Funny name. It was quite cozy in there and is described as “a handsome wood-slatted den that evokes a Le Corbusier-designed wine barrel.”

La Burrata sopra Frise'

La Burrata. Amazing. Fresh. Abbastanza Mozzarellaness. The Mozz was so fresh it melted yet felt like it was still being stretched in your mouth. Almost squeeky. The part that puts the Butter in Burrata: Creamy and yet runny in the middle complete with a herby finish. The Frise’ that the Burrata was piled on was quite lemony and lightly oiled. And there was a fig marmalade that was a peppery sweet compliment.

But geez was this place pretentious. The menus changes almost every week and claims to have ïtalian inspired plates”. Let me set something straight, if you were an Italian inspired place, you wouldn’t charge 3 dollars for a piece of bread and some olive oil. That was a little ridiculous as I ordered a piece of the  Burrata Mozzarella for 12. Bread is cheap. Olive oil can be too. I don’t care if its “örganic” most olive oil is organic in Italy or close to it and even if it is a tablespoon of it sure as hell wouldn’t be worth charging for. It’s really irritating how exclusive good eating in America is. So for a candle lit dinner in a Umbrian terrace with live music, a liter of wine, a salumi board (yes, artisanal)  and fresh farm umbrian cheese (and FREE bread) cost me less than 12 euros. For a dinky glass of some standard italian wine, an OK board of salumi (that I SPLIT with a friend) and the PIECE of Burrata (which was also split) we paid 35 dollars each. In this “handsome wood-slatted den that evokes a Le Corbusier-designed wine barrel.” After getting the bill, the only thing that was handsome was the macho-bald-muscle tattoo man-who looked like a butcher fellow making a delicate Frise’ salad.

Pu-lease. Give me a break. Perhaps I should visit a second Stowell establishment before completely making the following assertions but until then I will hold the notion that this place is in it to make a profit off of frilly well presented “plates” that serve more to showcase artistic gastronomy than as a “go-to” for a satisfying gourmet meal. Why is good food in america so compartmentalized and difficult to access? I know its “organic”and “hand-made”but so is most of the food I had in Italy and it was better AND affordable. This creates a huge question. Is our food more expensive because our government only subsidizes crud like corn and soy, therefore restaurants like this have to charge a head and an elbow for quality or is it true eliticism so that these people can walk away with a hefty profit? From my understanding, Italy’s subsidy system isn’t terribly better but the service industry isn’t a quarter profitable like it is in the states. People break their backs for almost nothing in a restaurant and no remarkable tipage. But yet its better. Food at least. Service, a different question. So my answer is, we in America (or the West Coast) pay exorbiant amounts of money for a good dining EXPERIENCE.  Or go to Marie Calender’s for a grilled tuna melt for 8 dollars and GERD (acid reflux).

So if you want a good piece of cheese and a pretentious elite dining experience, Ethan Stowel has indeed figured out how to cook a elaborate wolf.

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