Longtime Tulio chef Walter Pisano is expanding his repertoire. He’s staying on at Tulio in the Hotel Vintage, but also will head the kitchen at the new seafood-focused Shaker+Spear restaurant planned for another Kimpton property, the Palladian Hotel opening in Belltown in January.
The Brooklyn-born chef said he’s planning a “very simple and very clean” menu for the 65-seat restaurant, with opening dishes like Penn Cove mussel chowder, a house-made salt cod soubise, and a lightly grilled ahi paillard with chili butter. The building will also have a 35-seat corner bar, Pennyroyal, serving craft cocktails and tapas-like “bar bites.”
Pisano helped open The Hunt Club at The Sorrento Hotel and at Gerard’s Relais de Lyon in Bothell, then worked for legendary chef Jean-Louis Palladin in Washington, D.C. before returning to open Tulio, named for his dad and focusing on Italian food. Except for a brief stint at Troiani, he’s been there since. After the new restaurant is established, he expects to divide his time about equally between both, working at Shaker with chef de cuisine Chris Lobkovich, formerly of the Bookstore Bar. The restaurants are close enough to make the commute a walk. The building will retain some rustic and historic touches, including original steel columns, but have “a lighter feel” with a white oak floor.
“I’ve always loved seafood. This is something I’ve been wanting to do for many years, and this opportunity came and it’s perfect for me,” Pisano said.
“I ate my first oyster here in Seattle,” a Hama Hama that he bought and shucked himself. He’s still got a passion for Italian food, but wants to branch out.
“I hope to create a neighborhood place like Tulio’s became over the years.”