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Friday, December 9, 2005 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

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Dining Deals

Supreme sausage and more in a spot with deep traditions

Special to The Seattle Times

You've been around awhile if you remember when Settebello reigned supreme on the western flank of Capitol Hill. You've been around a long while if you remember when the Rainier Valley was known as "Garlic Gulch," for all the Italians who settled there a century ago.

At Da Pino, the twain meet ... sort of.

Calabria native Pino Rogano has had a long and hard-working history in these parts. He was a chef at the aforementioned Settebello; had his own Italian restaurant on Roosevelt, Verdi's Caffe del'Opera; his own pizzeria in Des Moines, Pino; then became sausage-maker to the stars (Lampreia, Brad's Swingside Café and Matt's in the Market, among them). Now he has his own, albeit teensy, sausage joint smack in the middle of, you guessed it, Garlic Gulch, where he cures his own meats and makes his own sausage. And, if you're lucky, makes you lunch or dinner.

Da Pino


4225 Rainier Ave. S., Seattle; 206-356-8502

Italian

$

Hours: 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Mondays-Saturdays.

No alcohol / credit cards: MC, V / no obstacles to access.

Rating: recommended.

It's a short list — hot and cold sandwiches, a few pasta and/or meat specials, some homemade desserts — and it's a solid one, particularly if you have the good sense to order something with Rogano's sausage in it. It's divine. And as long as you're there, might as well take some to go: Among the fresh varieties, Rogano offers mild Italian, lamb, wild boar and cotechino — the last a lentil sausage that many Italians traditionally eat on New Year's Eve.

The place itself is a destination in name only: a nothing exterior, six tables, no wine or beer (it's promised soon), a location just steps from the roar of Rainier Avenue. Still, there's something sort of Old World about the place that renders it warmly appealing — Rogano's thick accent, his sons behind the counter and that historically meaningful choice of neighborhoods.

With La Medusa and Tutta Bella just up the street ... looks like Garlic Gulch isn't just history after all.

Check please:

Hot sandwich con salsiccia: Pino Rogano's glorious sausage dominates this terrific sandwich, built on a fat roll drenched with red sauce and mozzarella. Big, fat fun.

Cheesecake: If this homemade confection were any creamier, they'd have to serve it in a bowl. If it were any richer, they'd make you sign a pre-nup.

Lamb stew: A masterful pasta dish starring a ragoutlike braised lamb, ultra moist and savory as you please, lending all its majestic flavor to a leggy sauce that will get orange spots all over your shirt. Divine!

Itemized bill, meal for two

Hot sandwich con salsiccia $7.95

Lamb stew $12.95

Cheesecake $4.95

Tax $2.27

Total $28.12

Kathryn Robinson: kathrynrobinson@speakeasy.net

Copyright © 2005 The Seattle Times Company

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