UPDATE: This story has been changed since it was first published. Links to Nancy Leeson’s blog post and the first reviews on Yelp have been added.
Susan Kaufman, Eastlake resident and Serafina’s owner, says she’s “very excited” to see the new restaurant open. She refers to Cicchetti (pronounced “chi-KET-tee”) as “Serafina’s little bratty sister.”
The new place is right behind Serafina in a former architects’ office that Kaufman says she had wanted to buy for years. When it became available, she bought with the intention of creating a private dining room.
But that idea soon became Cicchetti, named after the “small plates” found in restaurants in Venice.
“I liked the idea of the small plates,” Kaufman explained Saturday evening as the restaurant bustled around her during a “soft” opening. “I like to eat like that. It’s just a nicer way to eat.”
The Moors brought this style of food to Venice, she said. She didn’t want to limit it to just what was served in Venice, so she and Executive Chef Dylan Giordan incorporated influences from around the Mediterranean, adding in touches of Portugal, Spain, Morocco and more.
Kaufman sees Cicchetti as “a little secret restaurant.” There won’t be any reservations and she says there should always be a place to sit. She thinks of it as a casual, neighborhood, drop-in place where you can sit at the bar and have a glass of wine and a couple of small dishes, or take a table and have more of a meal.
Big windows (including one that runs from behind the bar up to the second floor) give you views of Lake Union. Upstairs has space for groups as well as communal tables and a couple of cozy rooms for smaller gatherings. There’s a space on the ground floor that the hostess referred to as the “library.”
There’s an impressive bar downstairs where bar chef Chris Bollenbacher (a “mad genius,” Kaufman says) has created an extensive list of drinks concocted with house-made infusions, syruprs and the like.
Kaufman wanted the neighborhood to know that she’s “been mindful of the parking situation.” She rents a lot a block south to serve both restaurants and diners can also park in the lot above the Eastlake Market for only $3.
And, she says she hasn’t forgotten about Serafina’s annual Eastlake Appreciation Party. Things were too busy with work on Cicchetti to have it in the fall, Kaufman says, but it will happen sometime after the first of the year.
Cicchetti will be open Tuesday through Saturday, 5 p.m. to 8 a.m. Enter off of East Boston. Check their web site or call 206-323-0807 for more information.
- Nancy Leeson’s post about Cicchetti from her Seattle Times blog, All You Can Eat.
- First reviews of Cicchetti on Yelp are here.