Italian eatery a smashing success

  • By Anna Poole / Herald Restaurant Critic
  • Thursday, July 14, 2005 9:00pm
  • LifeGo-See-Do

STANWOOD – Smashed Tomatoes in Stanwood is the second restaurant in Snohomish County with that name. The original is in Everett’s Monte Cristo Hotel. Both restaurants have the same menu featuring southern Italian favorites and extensive wine list with many from Italy, the same Dean Martin songs playing in the background.

What the new restaurant has is a freshly built location in Stanwood’s new shopping center behind the Haggen Foods. On entering, customers walk past the enclosed kitchen to a dining room decorated much the same as the Everett location: French theater posters and mustard-colored walls for a happy, sunny feel.

The main dining room features a white-tablecloth setting, but the Stanwood location also has a more casual setting in the atrium near the movie theatres. At first, it looked like this would be “alternative seating” for families, but toward the end of my meal a young customer needing a booster chair opted for a seat in the main dining room.

Smashed Tomatoes serves authentic Italian fare. The house’s signature dishes are indicated by a red heart on the menu and include some of my favorites such as the butternut squash and roasted garlic ravioli ($14). Because I had visited the Everett restaurant and was familiar with the standing menu, I selected the seafood risotto with parsley pesto ($18) and chose the Caesar salad. I added a glass of Luna 2001 Pinot Grigio ($5.75), which was also the weekly special. The regular wine list features selections from California, Washington, Oregon and three areas of Italy. The bottles range from $19 to $75 with most close to $30.

My server described the dish as “awesome.” The couple next to me ordered the spaghetti ($9.50) and added meatballs ($3). The aroma of their dish increased my appetite and made me doubt my selection. That is, until it arrived.

Halibut, scallops and prawns were sauteed in Italian spices then added to a hearty portion of pesto-laced creamy risotto. The seafood was perfectly cooked, the risotto just as creamy as expected. The Caesar salad, with its freshly made dressing, kicked this already delicious Saturday dinner up a notch.

Throughout my meal, the wait staff was attentive to everyone in the main dining room, and when it was time to box up what I didn’t finish, everything was whisked from my table and replaced with a dessert menu. My server apologized for being out of chocolate mousse, so I selected the tartufo ($6.50). If you haven’t tried it, I recommend it. Tartufo is an ice cream truffle and chocolate gelato with a zabaglione cream center. This is dusted with cocoa. It’s a refreshing summer dessert that’s much more than ice cream. It’s a good metaphor for my dinner at Smashed Tomatoes.

Herald restaurant reviewers accept no invitations to review, but readers’ suggestions are always welcome. Reviewers arrive unannounced, and The Herald pays their tabs.

Contact Anna Poole at

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