Cache is a private dining club. To sign up you go to their web site, email them and then wait for them to write you back. It's supposed to be all cloak & dagger but it's really quite simple. The hardest part is booking a reservation because they're usually sold out for 2 months. I wish I was that fucking popular.
The theme for our dinner was “The Food of Emilia- Romagna.” Emilia- Romagna is the region of Italy famous for Parmigianno Reggianno cheese and Prosciutto di Parma. Prosciutto is made from pigs that have been fed the rinds of Reggianno cheese. They like to feed pigs weird shit in Emilia Romagna: pigs fed only apples; pigs fed only acorns; pigs fed only bacon. Note: I made the last one up. But bacon made from such a pig would some kind of obscene DOUBLE BACON and would be EXQUISITELY RAD!
We went to Cache's Belltown location, which is actually some dude's architecture firm during the day. His girlfriend is the chef. Our hosts sat us down in a tiny foyer in front of an ENORMOUS plate of various varieties of Salumi brand charcuterie. The architect handed me some kind of gin cocktail and told us to dig in, which of course I did instantly, stuffing my face with handfuls of cured meats like they were going to outlaw nitrates tomorrow.
Anyway, after copious cocktails our hosts seated us around the table and started to serve appetizers. The first course was a platter of antipasti: zucchini and radicchio, olives, prosciutto, and sliced reggiano. Everything was damn tasty except the radicchio: it was sliced into huge wedges and grilled. It's just too bitter to chow down on a giant slice of it. Radicchio is better served in a mixed salad with its robust flavor tempered by arugula and red leaf lettuce. And the zucchini was limp. Otherwise the antipasto was tasty.
Next came fettuccine bolognese, known in New Orleans as “noodles with red gravy.” No, “red gravy” does not refer to anything menstrual. It's bolognese sauce, a mixture of ground beef, veal, and pork in tomato sauce. Cache's bolognese sauce featured pancetta in place of the usual ground pork, but nonetheless was rather dry, crumbly, and bland, with the meat particles barely clinging to the pasta and the noodles dyed a light pink from the meager amount of tomato sauce. Our hosts repeatedly assured us that this is how they do it in Italy: very little sauce is used so you can really taste the pasta, and the sauce is not seasoned with any herbs or spices so you can taste the meat and tomatoes. I'll have to take her word for it because I've never been to Italy, but it's plausible enough. After all, ever since the Renaissance ended the Italians are full of bad ideas: Fascism. Andrea Bocelli. Sending troops (all two of them) to Iraq. Though I must give them credit for the Lamborghini Diablo and that porn star they elected to Parliament. What the pasta lacked in flavor, it made up for in volume. That bowl of pasta was as massive as one of the EEE knockers on the old lady next to me. Luckily the pasta wasn't as flabby.
But they made up for the blandness of the fettuccine with the next course: cotechino con lenticche. Cotechino is a really fatty, flavorful sausage. It was simmered then served sliced over lentils. The sausage was very tender and bursting with spices and oozing juices onto the lentils, which were creamy and fresh tasting. This dish was pitch perfect and utterly satisfying.
When I didn't think I could eat anymore, they made us have dessert. It was a chocolate fruitcake called castagnaccio. Apparently the original Roman version of this dessert was made with chestnut flour and was almost inedible it was so heavy. The modern version isn't that much of an upgrade since it was still pretty dense. The chocolate flavor was very rich, and the cake itself was satiny and flecked with chestnuts and candied cherries. It wasn't cloyingly sweet, though.
After dinner the hosts sat down with us for a chat. I discussed architecture with the guy who owned the place and told him that the following architects are ALL DOUCHEBAGS: Le Corbusier. Mies van der Roh. Frank Gehry. He disagreed.
But enough talk about the world of architecture and the douche bags who populate it. What about Cache? On the bright side, Cache is CHEAP. We got a four-course meal, several cocktails, and wine with each course for $50. Plus the portions are gargantuan, the service is generous, and what they did well they did REALLY well, like the cotechino con lenticche. Plus I have to give them points for the DIY aesthetic. However, it wasn't very polished, and half the dishes were lackluster even though you could tell they put a lot of work into the preparation. On the other hand, the fact that they've got a two-month waiting list indicates that the marketplace disagrees with my assessment.
So here's my advice: decide in advance which architects you hate, email Cache, wait two months, and experience it for yourself. In the meantime, I'll be busy feeding a pig only bacon in the hopes of creating DOUBLE BACON. Patent pending, bitches.
Rating: 6 architects out of 10.