There is something about How to Cook a Wolf. It could be that the minute you step inside you’re feet away from the open kitchen, or it could be the sense of accomplishment you feel when you arrive at just the right moment and don’t have to wait for one of the precious few seats available. For me, it’s that I always feel enveloped by the warm wood, foot-level ring of rock that anchors the room and the wide band of coppery metal that reflects the candlelight and gives the whole space a certain kind of glow.
On the most recent visit we shared a couple of plates, one of which was the Radiatori, perfectly done pasta with a lamb ragu, marjoram and ricotta salata. The other standout was that evening’s bruschetta offering, chicken liver mousse with sultana and saba. Interestingly, that last element wasn’t the fish I’m familiar with from years of sushi eating, but rather a very intensely-flavored grape reduction. The bruschetta was a perfect combination of creamy mousse and crunchy toast, with the right accent of sweet. It was so good, in fact, that we wouldn’t let our server take the plate until all of the saba had been swiped away.
The only difficulty with describing all of the great food we had is that you can’t necessarily expect to show up and be able to order the same things. Not even the next night, as they rotate their menu on a daily basis. Though a couple of other favorites that seem to recur and for which I suggest you be on the lookout: Beef Carpaccio (parmesan, Taggiasca olive, white anchovy), Beet Salad (pistachio, mandarin oranges, fennel) and Escolar Crudo (the most buttery brined preparation of this white fish you will ever have).
The other part of the alchemy of a dining experience that makes How to Cook a Wolf so good, is their service. They remember names and faces, servers always seem to be available without hovering and the bartender mixes a perfect martini all while being chatty if you want and not if you don’t. Even if you think you’ve seen everything Ethan Stowell has to offer by trying his three other restaurants -- Union, Tavolata and Anchovies & Olives -- this little gem is well worth the trip to the top of Queen Anne.