By Cassandra VanKeuren Special to the Herald
Old World decor, fine dining and an intimate atmosphere all coalesce at Brasato on the river’s edge in historic downtown Snohomish.
The first thing you notice when you enter this eatery is the huge painted brick wall dominating the dining room. It’s a vintage advertisement for Bellingham Coal from the early 1900s.
The brick painting and the low lighting are inviting and encourage you to slow down and enjoy your dining experience.
Brasato calls itself a Euro-American bistro and I really did get that feeling when I walked in with my family.
My husband, my 9-year-old son, his 10-year-old friend and I had reservations for 6:30 p.m. and we arrived a little late. But it didn’t matter; the friendly hostess sat us promptly with our menus.
She quickly made some suggestions for what we could order for the kids: chicken sliders, mac and cheese and pasta Bolognese. Instantly, both kids ordered mac and cheese ($8). No surprise!
While my husband and I looked over the menu, we were brought tasting spoons of butternut squash puree with basil oil for all four of us.
The squash was flavored with cinnamon and clove and was just the thing to whet our appetites. My husband and I enjoyed the puree.
For our appetizer we ordered duck confit sliders ($10.50) with pickled vegetables. My husband had to take a work call at the last minute so I ordered for both of us.
For him, I ordered seafood paella ($24.50) with a pint of Bridgeport IPA ($4) to drink. For me, I ordered the special pork belly risotto ($18.50) with the house Citra Merlot ($5), which I thought would go well with the duck.
Our duck confit sliders and the mac and cheese were the first to arrive. I noticed there was a lack of anything green on the plate and just like any fussy mom who wants to make sure the kids eat their veggies, I asked the server to bring out something for the kids. She promptly responded to my request, with cooked carrots and green beans. Perfect.
The kids’ mac and cheese seemed to be made with white cheddar and it was studded with smoky bacon bits. Both kids scarfed their food down — and ate their veggies to boot.
The duck confit sliders were such a treat. Duck confit is a leg of duck poached in its own fat. Served on top of a mini roll accompanied with caramelized shallots and orange aioli, the dish really was dreamy. The pickled vegetables served alongside were a nice hit of acid that cut through the richness of the duck.
My husband and I agreed that we could have eaten six sliders apiece. There were two on the plate.
Slices of baguette and olive oil were also brought to the table for us to enjoy while we waited for our meals.
My husband’s paella was impressive. There were steamed mussels with large shrimp, chicken and house-made chorizo. The rice was cooked in a tomatoey broth. I was impressed with the freshness of the seafood and how perfectly everything was cooked.
I only wished the chef would have left a crusty bit of rice on the bottom of the pan like there is in traditional paella. Nonetheless, it was a very enjoyable meal for my husband.
My risotto was cooked with little bits of mushroom, peas and pork belly. The rice was cooked well and the meal made me feel cozy and warm inside. Very tasty, but at $18.50 I expected to see larger chunks of pork belly. Also I was not offered any extra Parmesan or fresh black pepper, which traditionally are served with risotto.
The risotto tasted good but I did not see that it was worth the cost. Also, I should have ordered a salad because I wished there was some sort of vegetable served with the entree.
With all that being said, I really did enjoy my meal at Brasato and was impressed that the chef came out to see how we enjoyed our meals. I also liked the fact that we were not charged for the extra veggies the kids had.
Brasato has a seasonal menu and I’m eager to go back to see the next delicious thing the chef has planned.
1011 First St., Snohomish; 360-563-5013; www.brasatobistro.com.
Specialty: Modern Euro-American cuisine.
Hours: 4 to 8 p.m. Sunday; 5 to 9 p.m. Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday; 4 to 9 p.m. Friday and Saturday.
Vegetarian options: Some.