TNT Diner

A new Italian restaurant is coming to Tacoma’s Proctor neighborhood. Here’s what it’s like

A new Italian restaurant is coming to Tacoma’s Proctor neighborhood at 2717 N. Proctor St.

Crudo & Cotto will open in the second-story space where Soul and Old House Cafe formerly operated. Expect a summer opening.

Its owners are Giampaolo Falchetti and Kathryn Philbrook, the husband-wife duo behind Olympia’s Basilico Ristorante.

The restaurant’s concept will be unlike any Italian eatery in Tacoma. This is not a spaghetti den or a pizza place.

Its owners plan for a highly stylized Italian dining experience.

Said Falchetti, with translation assistance from Philbrook, “The entire approach will be a little different, more based on fresh seafood, seasonal ingredients, and an oyster bar. There will be a lot of raw preparations, many of them based just on the real freshness of the seafood, just lemon juice and evoo (extra virgin olive oil).”

He added about the restaurant name, “It refers to a popular idiom that is — ‘somebody wants it raw, somebody wants it cooked.’ The meaning will be that even maintaining a sharp focus, we will have something for everybody.”

There won’t be much in the form of crossover from their Olympia restaurant. They’ll import their house-baked bread and some of their fresh egg pastas and handmade raviolis, but those will be secondary on the menu.

Still, if diners see pastas on the menu, do order them. The restaurant is known for its fresh, house-made pastas, which they previously sold at farmers markets in Olympia and Tacoma.

“Basilico is Italian from Italy to the extreme,” they said of the Olympia restaurant. “Crudo and Cotto will be more a vision of the Northwest and beyond from an Italian person’s perspective.”

He plans taverna-style dishes not commonly found on Tacoma menus. He described Roman-style tripe, fagioli con le cotiche (pork skin and beans), lamb entrails frittarello and more.

Expect the menu to be seasonally focused and ever-evolving.

Said Falchetti, “The Italian cuisine has so many recipes to dig out from that we could go for a full century without eating the same thing. I will probably bring some of them, but personally even more in Tacoma, I do not want to fall into having the ‘staple’ dish. Our staple is and will be original Italian flavors.”

Added Philbrook, “About half the menu will be uncooked dishes, like salads, a cheese plate, freshly sliced prosciutto, seafood carpaccio, freshly shucked oysters, etc. And the other half of the menu will be cooked dishes. There will be, probably, a couple of pasta dishes, a roasted or braised meat dish, and my mother specifically requested that Giampaolo include the Fritto Misto, which is an assortment of vegetables, shrimp, calamari, etc. that are fried in a gluten-free batter.”

The Olympia restaurant comes with a significant wine list. In Tacoma, he won’t have as large a storage space, which means an abbreviated list here.

“The focus will be 50 percent Northwest and the rest Italian and Spanish,” he said.

Added Philbrook, “Since we will be featuring a happy hour, we will absolutely bring aperitifs and digestives to this new restaurant. I think a Venetian Spritz on the deck in the summertime will be delightful. Italian pre-dinner drinks tend to be lighter in alcohol than many American cocktails and are meant to stimulate the digestion, rather than run away with it. So, I think some of the things we have on our beverage menu will be new and refreshing for people.”

Falchetti and Philbrook bought Basilico Ristorante in 2014 from owners who Falchetti called some of his best customers when he was a wine rep (he’s also certified as a sommelier in Italy).

He was 15 when he began his cooking career.

“I started working at 15 years old in a Pizzeria-Ristorante in the little village of San Terenziano, where I am from. I worked through my high school in different restaurants in Umbria and during college in Venice and Treviso,” he said. “During my study abroad for six months in Japan, I worked both as a server and chef at Italian restaurants in Tokyo and Naga.”

He also worked at family-owned restaurants, which is where he got the bulk of his restaurant experience. He landed in Tacoma more than a decade ago and worked as a runner and bused tables at Pacific Grill and as a server at Europa Bistro.

As a Tacoman, he thought he would open a restaurant in Pierce County first, but Olympia’s Basilico Ristorante beckoned. Nothing will change at that Olympia restaurant as the family opens their sister restaurant in Tacoma.

In Tacoma, Crudo & Cotto will operate from 4 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. Tuesdays through Thursdays and 4 to 10 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays. They have plans for weekend brunch, too.