It's no great sadness that the Painted Table no longer exists—all those awful glittery plates recently tossed into that great ceramic kiln that is hell, where they belong. And all those stiff hairdos are gone, too, now that the Alexis Hotel's ground-floor restaurant has been replaced with the Library Bistro, which strives to be—in keeping with the times—a little less striving. A little more laid-back, inviting, and clothbound: On the south wall, above the semicircular booths, the shelves that once displayed glassy Northwest knickknackery now display handsomely disheveled hardback books. Books! (Don't inspect too closely—they're not terribly good books, but no matter.) Chef Matt Costello has constructed a menu of American fare (with some Northwest flair—it cannot be avoided), including a decidedly high-brow mac and cheese ($8), a roasted turkey sandwich ($8), even barbecue ribs and a bucket of beers to share ($16). Costello, for his part, is quite the hipster in geeky glasses (and with a recent professional pedigree that includes stints in Tom Douglas-ville). He's almost the anti-chef—whereas most chefs are domineering and tempestuous egomaniacs, Costello's relaxed attitude seems to set the mood. If you weren't at the bistro's grand opening gala last week, be sorry: you missed out on Costello's hors d'oeuvres (like mini mac and cheese—a single pasta shell stuffed with oozy Gruy貥) and three signature cocktails, including bookish twists on the sidecar and the Manhattan. We only have one remaining gripe about the makeover at 92 Madison St. (206-624-3646): Can't something be done about the Chihuly "art" in the hotel lobby?
Seattleites can be mighty finicky about what you call the neighborhood they live in, but reader Angie Kantola of Columbia City has a legitimate gripe when she writes that in our restaurant guide, "Fasica [at 3808 S. Edmunds] is listed as 'Central District,' which is . . . like describing Luisa's Caf頛on Eastlake] as being in Ravenna." Point taken, and listing corrected. Like Angie, you too can get a modest premium for catching us with our accuracies round our ankles: Just e-mail the bad news to firstname.lastname@example.org
Kantola also mourns the closure of Salumeria on Hudson, a Rainier Valley favorite for hearty breakfasts, Italian deli all day, and pizza. Maybe it's not forever, though; when you call the restaurant, the recorded Qwest lady says "the number has been temporarily disconnected."
LET 'EM DRINK CAB
All right, peasants, press your noses to the plate glass and prepare to salivate: Just 15 people are invited to pony up 50 bucks apiece for the privilege of tasting just three wines: viz., the '97, '98, and '99 Quilceda Creek cabernet sauvignon. Host Grand Central Wine Merchants (121 First in PIONEER SQUARE) also promises attendees a "catered hors d'oeuvre," but that's got to be a misprint: Surely at that price, each guest will get an hors d'oeuvre of their very own? Be that as it may, if you've got the ready (and are willing and able), call 206-340-5999 to book your place for the evening of Feb. 22.
A COOKBOOK YOU CAN'T REFUSE
Have a friend who got the Sopranos Family Cookbook for Christmas? They'll be green with envy when you tell them the spaghetti sauce they're eating comes from a real live gangster's recipe. Well, ex-gangster: Henry Hill, whose checkered life provided the main plotline for Martin Scorcese's Goodfellas, has been persuaded to emerge from the Federal Witness Protection Program long enough to make the rounds of the talk shows promoting his Wiseguy Cookbook (New American Library, $17).
Food and/or beverage news? E-mail Hot Dish at email@example.com.