Inspired by a recent trip to Lake Como in Northern Italy’s Lombardia region, restaurateurs Trevor and Leigh Greenwood have fashioned a new lakeside culinary destination at Carillon Point. COMO joins the Cantinetta restaurant family, opening June 9, replacing bin on the lake at Woodmark Hotel.
This is no mere facelift. The Greenwoods reimagined the space from the floor up, lifting the ceiling and adding swelling curves of pristine white Venetian plaster. Lakeside windows, which were sealed shut at bin, have been thrown open so guests can feel the lilting breeze and hear the lapping of the lake. Overhead, gorgeous vintage lamps sway gently.
Though Seattle residents, the Greenwoods love spending time on the water in Lake Washington in their vintage sailboat. They were mystified at the lack of great restaurant options for boaters — like maybe a prime waterfront location gives those restaurants the excuse to not try very hard in the kitchen. “We want to change the game down here,” says Trevor, by bringing the Lake Como vibe, the intersection of mountains, water, boats and people, to Kirkland.
This ain’t your mama’s rinky dink Italian restaurant with red vinyl checkerboard tablecloths. But neither is it a stuffy white tablecloth establishment. There’s an ease to the place — where culture goes to relax.
To the left of the entrance is a lounge slung with mid-century leather chairs and a sofa. A white freestanding fireplace invites long, lingering conversations with a glass of wine in hand. The dinner menu is available in both the lounge and out on the patio, the latter set with white wicker chairs.
Unlike most bars, packed to the gills with more spirits than they’ll ever use, the COMO bar reflects the minimalist theme of the restaurant. Less is more. And, it’s not hard to picture James Bond hopping out of his lacquered wooden speedboat to order a martini at the bar — though he should definitely try the Negroni while at COMO.
Northern Italian cuisine, with its proximity to the Alps, is rich in cheeses, meats, stuffed pasta, and relies more on risotto and polenta than the southern part of Italy. The menu at COMO will also reflect a seaside influence and feature freshwater fish. At the entrance, a window into the pasta-making kitchen allows guests to see how much love goes into each strand of pasta, each pillow of ravioli. Small as it may seem, the pasta kitchen will serve all of the Cantinetta restaurants, too.
The dining space runs along the west-facing waterfront for optimal sunset views and then bends right wrapping around the north end of the building. Private parties can rent out the back space, closing it off with glass doors in two section for a large event space or an intimate space at the very back.
“We want this to be a welcoming atmosphere. A place where people want to come back a lot — have a pizza with their kids on the patio; a cocktail in the lounge in winter,” says Leigh.
But that’s not all. There’s a boat. Based in South Lake Union, the mahogany speedboat can be reserved to whisk downtown guests across the lakes, sparkly libation in hand, for their dinner reservations. The boat is also available for private rentals — captain and beverages included — perfect for an Eastside summer evening jaunt.