The dessert list is mostly made up of unadulterated Italian classics: i.e. zeppole, panna cotta and this chocolate budino.
My dinner at Wolf wasn’t meant to be a review. I was only there to check out the new spot and maybe do some Christmas shopping at the behemoth new Nordstrom that houses the restaurant. But chef Ethan Stowell’s food was actually inspiring. I wanted to write about it. So here we are.
Wolf is one of several of Nordstrom’s dining concepts—Read our guide to them here. The ambiance is muted without many eye-catching features, save for the views of Midtown below. Mostly made up of small plates and pastas, the menu carries elements of both Italian and Pacific Northwestern cuisines. The common ingredients (mushrooms, seafood, cheese) point to Stowell’s Seattle background, and even beyond the pastas, the menu feels Italian in its simple respect of these ingredients.
Yeasted polenta fritters
Possibly the best way to start the meal is the yeasted polenta fritters, a play on arancini, with ricotta, honey and sage. Also ambitiously unusual is the flavorful duck egg with a variety of wild mushrooms and parmigiano reggiano.
When the crab salad with avocado mousse first arrived, I was disappointed, though the plate was beautiful. I have never liked beets, and these played a starring role. But they were wonderful, perfectly dressed to evoke summer and support big chunks of king crab.
However, my favorite appetizer was delicata squash. The plate contained five things—perfectly cooked squash, maitake mushrooms, parsnip puree, pistachios and pomegranate seeds—and each was absolutely necessary.
Agnolotti at Wolf
If you only have one pasta, make it the agnolotti. Ricotta and hazelnuts fill the stuffed pasta, and the surrounding brown butter and parmigiano harmonize in what is the ideal signature dish for Stowell's story at Wolf.