Ethan Stowell is one of Seattle’s favorite restaurateurs. His newest restaurant Rione XII opened in August, and while Let’s Eat host Providence Cicero says everyone assumes an Ethan Stowell restaurant will be an automatic slam dunk, she found a few glitches in the restaurant’s early days.
“The first time I went, about five, six weeks after they opened, the artichokes were burnt, the antipasti kind of was unseasoned. There was a person on the door who had no clue how to manage the crowd,” says Providence.
On subsequent visits however, Providence says she was pleased to see things had improved dramatically.
“I’m happy to report that when I went back more recently a couple of times, things were as polished as you would expect from an Ethan Stowell restaurant.”
Rione XIII serves classic Roman dishes. The name was inspired by Trastevere, a busy district of Rome. Providence says perhaps the name was chosen partially because of the restaurant’s location in a bustling area of Seattle.
“It’s a very culturally rich and diverse community, not unlike I’m thinking Capitol Hill, which is where this is.”
After sampling many things on the menu, there were a number that Providence calls “fabulous.”
For suggestions on what to order, she recommends the fried artichokes to start.
“The artichokes everyone raves about, and I thought they were very good.”
The oxtail and tomato dish was another that struck her fancy. Oxtails alla Vaccinara features creamy polenta, tomato and oregano, according to the menu listing.
For lunch, the meatball sandwich is what Providence would pick.
“This one’s made with prosciutto meatballs. Imagine it.”
On all of her visits, Providence says Rione XIII was very busy. She says it’s probably best, even on a weeknight, to make a reservation, but they do also reserve some tables for walk-ins.