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Monday, September 24, 2012

Oh, No! Bisato Is Closing

Posted by on Mon, Sep 24, 2012 at 10:35 AM

Chef Scott Carsberg emailed to say that his absolutely delicious, abundantly lovely restaurant Bisato in Belltown—the successor to his longtime Lampreia, which opened in 1992 and was as haute as Seattle has ever gotten—is closing on October 14th.

Bisato has been a labor of love for Carsberg and [his wife and business partner Hyun Joo] Paek who essentially have worked every night the restaurant has been open. While this has enabled them to deliver a very high standard of service—and the meticulous cooking Chef Carsberg is known for—the intensity of this schedule for two decades straight has left them very little time to themselves. Carsberg and Paek plan to rest, travel and to spend time with family. They are also working on a book about their experiences. After a brief break Chef Carsberg will be exploring fresh restaurant and food concepts as well as fielding offers for new opportunities. “I’ll definitely be keeping my knives sharp,” says Carsberg. Over the next few weeks, prior to closing, Chef Carsberg’s menu will revisit some of his favorite dishes of both restaurants. “We’d like to thank our guests of the last 20 years,” says Paek. “We’ll hope to see them again soon.”

We will hope so, too. More information after the jump.

ChowLead_KellyO-570.jpg
  • Kelly O

Bisato restaurant to close permanently on Sunday, October 14, 2012
Seattle, Washington, September 24, 2012 – After 20 years on the corner of First Avenue and Battery St. in Belltown – first with their iconic Northern Italian restaurant Lampreia and more recently with a focus on Venetian small plates at Bisato – Chef Scott Carsberg and his wife and business partner Hyun Joo Paek have decided to close their restaurant on Sunday, October 14th.

Bisato has been a labor of love for Carsberg and Paek who essentially have worked every night the restaurant has been open. While this has enabled them to deliver a very high standard of service – and the meticulous cooking Chef Carsberg is known for – the intensity of this schedule for two decades straight has left them very little time to themselves. Carsberg and Paek plan to rest, travel and to spend time with family. They are also working on a book about their experiences. After a brief break Chef Carsberg will be exploring fresh restaurant and food concepts as well as fielding offers for new opportunities. “I’ll definitely be keeping my knives sharp,” says Carsberg. Over the next few weeks, prior to closing, Chef Carsberg’s menu will revisit some of his favorite dishes of both restaurants. “We’d like to thank our guests of the last 20 years,” says Paek. “We’ll hope to see them again soon.”

In 1992, the couple were pioneers in Belltown, opening Lampreia in a raw space in what was then an emerging neighborhood. Cuisine in Seattle and in America changed significantly in that time and over the past two decades their restaurants attracted both regional and national press as being among Seattle’s most consistently innovative. They relaunched in the same Belltown space in 2010 as Bisato with the small plates concept which has been lauded by critics and diners alike for its value proposition of a high standard of cuisine, at a more accessible price point, in a less formal space.

A native of West Seattle, Carsberg trained under Yannick Cam at Le Pavillion (Washington, D.C.), Günther Seeger at the five-star Ritz-Carlton (Atlanta), Andreas Hellrigl at Palio (New York City) and then at the Michelin-starred Villa Mozart (Merano, Italy). Through his training in the best kitchens of the world, Carsberg found his own approach to cooking, marrying the rigor and restraint of French cuisine with Italian inspiration and attention to ingredients.

Chef Carsberg was a 2006 recipient of “Best Chef: Northwest” from the James Beard Foundation, a 2010 recipient of Mobil’s Four-Star Award, and in 2012 Birra Moretti’s Best Authentic Italian Restaurant in North America.
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Comments (12) RSS

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1
so sad .. he makes some of the very very best food in town .. he restaurants just aren’t hip, he doesn’t have tattoos, he doesn’t kiss ass .. so sadly this probably doomed Bisato .. says much more about Seattle than it does about Chef Carsberg
Posted by olive oyl on September 24, 2012 at 11:02 AM · Report this
2
this is one of our favorite date places! sad. we'll go once more before it goes.
Posted by barfy cute on September 24, 2012 at 11:08 AM · Report this
care bear 3
I only eat at restaurants where the entire staff have full sleeves.
Posted by care bear on September 24, 2012 at 11:57 AM · Report this
sperifera 4
Good riddance. The chef was THE biggest chef/asshole that this city has ever known. Just ask anyone in the food service industry.
Posted by sperifera on September 24, 2012 at 12:07 PM · Report this
stirwise 5
@4: I believe you, he always gave off a dickish vibe. That said, the food at Bisato was great, the staff was great, and I will miss both sorely.
Posted by stirwise on September 24, 2012 at 12:51 PM · Report this
Cato the Younger Younger 6
Really sad. Too many places just can't stay open in an economy that's barely growing. Part of the reason I really wonder if the new club Q is going to survive past a year.

Scary, if you can't make enough money to pay bills and keep a roof over your head, putting money out for high end food and dancing doesn't happen much
Posted by Cato the Younger Younger on September 24, 2012 at 12:52 PM · Report this
7
If you don't actually know someone it is possible to believe absolutely anything at all about them. In truth, Carsberg is a funny, crazy, sweet guy. Really a prince of a man who loves his hometown intensely. That he's somewhat shy, very intense and incredibly focused about what he's doing often gets misread by less perceptive people. He cares a lot about what he's doing in an age in which mediocrity is rampant. To me he embodies an old school, authentic Seattle quality about being really exceptional about what you're doing, keeping your head down and not bragging about it. I'm sure he has pissed off a lot of people over the years – boorish customers with no taste, young chefs who weren't invested in their work, purveyors who tried to pass off sub-par food. But none of it was personal insomuch as I was about Carsberg upholding a very high standard. That guy is the real deal... a rockstar, honey badger of a chef who has been killing it for decades and who's determined to constantly find some way to improve on what he's doing. He's not out to massage anyone's ego and tell them they're great when they're not. There's no bullshit with that guy. He's a Seattle gem and his restaurant closing is a real loss to Seattle cuisine. Most restaurants close in the first year. Anyone who can thrive as long as he has – at the standard he has upheld – deserves respect.
Posted by cjboffoli on September 24, 2012 at 1:37 PM · Report this
stirwise 8
@7: Perhaps he is personally a wonderful, sweet, sensitive, caring man. I haven't had the opportunity to get to know him that way. However, on the occasions when my spouse and I have interacted with him directly, I've found him a bit chilly, and even a little dickish. And, the last time we ate at Bisato, when we asked our server why the lamb chops (those wonderful, wonderful famous lamb chops) weren't on the menu, he very tersely responded with "chef doesn't discuss these decisions with the staff." Seriously? A standing menu item your restaurant is known for, something regulars ask for and reviewers tell people they MUST eat, is taken off the menu and you don't explain it at all to your staff? You don't give them something to tell customers? Never mind that the server seemed moderately annoyed that he didn't have an answer for us, why didn't the chef think that the customers would want to know? Would deserve to know?
Posted by stirwise on September 24, 2012 at 10:20 PM · Report this
9
@8 That sounds like a pretty legitimate gripe. The server should have found out. If you asked Carsberg I'm sure he would have answered you. But I guess a restaurant is only ever as good as its weakest link. Things go out of season. Or sometimes the chef just likes to change up the menu. Whenever I'm in there I see the chef going around chatting up people and asking them how they're enjoying their meals. I had actually forgotten about those lamb chops as they've been off the menu for a while. But they were damn good. I hope he brings them back in the final weeks.
Posted by cjboffoli on September 25, 2012 at 2:22 PM · Report this
10
Fuck Bisato.

Here's a repost of my review earlier this summer:
________________________________________________________________

Worst Culinary Ripoff Of My Life.

Wow. Seventeen bucks for ONE PIECE OF PASTA? Really? That's some seriously pretentious shit.

My Dad got the Braised Short Ribs for $15, except it was singular... one freaking 'rib' the size of your thumb. Gone in two bites. Poof.

Granted everything was absolutely delicious and Scott Carsberg is a freaking genius, but this is not Manhattan and I'm not a hedge fund manager.

A hundred bucks later, my Father and I were still starving and headed to Dick's to get something after our 'dinner.'

Five stars for taste and 1/4 star for value. I'll give 'em two stars.

http://www.thestranger.com/seattle/bisat…
Posted by CPN on September 25, 2012 at 5:38 PM · Report this
11
I always considered Bisato to be a really great value for the money. I guess it is a matter of taste and understanding what you're there for. Dick's serves cheap fast food. But despite the proliferation of dollar menus, the prices of which are predicated on sourcing dirt cheap industrialized food, I don't think the value proposition of food has to be the largest portions at the cheapest prices. Going everywhere and expecting that is ridiculous, as it complaining about portion sizes for a place that is designed to be SMALL PLATES! It is the Venetian version of tapas. What you are getting at Bisato is everything made by scratch by the hands of a top chef who has spent 30 years behind a stove honing his craft. You're supposed to go in and order a lot of little plates. That's what we've always done and it has been great. And it is nowhere near the most expensive place in town. A lot of people will just never get it this. They're used to places like the Cheesecake Factory or the Claim Jumper where the portion size is as big as your head and the menu (of processed frozen restaurant food) is 50 pages long. If that is your idea of value then stay away from places like Bisato because you clearly don't belong there.
Posted by cjboffoli on September 28, 2012 at 8:56 AM · Report this
12
#10: too lazy to write original material.

You have to regurgitate an old diatribe that starts off with profanity (a sure sign that you are afraid your actual words can't grab attention)?

Comparing Bisato to Dick's: another sign of your literary laziness. Why lead swines to pearls....even worse, why did culinary swines (like you and your father) show up at Bisato without being forced to do so?
Posted by TBilly on December 4, 2012 at 6:49 AM · Report this

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