Food We Love: Hand-cut Pasta at Tilikum Place Cafe

The humble noodle turns sublime at Tilikum Place Cafe

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It’s easy to skip over this unassuming item at Tilikum Place Café (Belltown, 407 Cedar St.; 206.282.4830), announced on the menu simply as: hand-cut pasta in sage butter with toasted hazelnuts and Parmesan ($11). What arrives—essentially, a humble plate of pasta in a buttery sauce—proves to be so much more. The pasta, made daily in the kitchen, has a yielding, supple texture that points to the many yolks sacrificed for the dough, which is rolled out thin and hand-cut into wide ribbons. So gossamer is this pasta, it falls apart on your tongue, leaving a lingering taste of the sauce: a dusty, woodsy scent of sage, a middle note of sweet, toasted hazelnuts, the nutty/salty tang of Parmesan, and trailing all, the full, round taste of good, sweet butter. An element of soft acidity is hard to place—and chef Ba Culbert confirms she’s keeping two ingredients her trade secret. She’ll never tell, so you’ll have to amble down to Tilikum to taste it for yourself.

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