The owners of The Table, Tacoma’s seasonal fine-dining restaurant on Sixth Avenue, are now serving handmade pastas, Roman-inspired pizzas, sandwiches and salads from their new Italian taverna inside the Museum of Glass.
Chef Derek Bray and sommelier Trevor Hamilton opened Incalmo last weekend after several months of recipe development and renovations. The name references the glassmaking technique of fusing two or more blown glass elements, typically in construction of a vessel.
The space, previously operated by the now-shuttered Pacific Grill, had been quiet since March 2020 when pandemic restrictions forced the museum to close.
“They’ve changed the space quite a bit,” said April Matson, marketing and communications director for the museum, and “really made it feel kind of special.”
The restaurant doubles as a coffee shop, with Bluebeard beans and a combination of Macrina Bakery goods and housemade pastries — seasonal coffee cakes and scones, a lemon-lavender pound cake — plus gluten-free options. Other desserts include crème brulée and pot de crème.
Focused on lunch to start, with hours mirroring those of the museum, Incalmo will launch dinner next year along with beer and wine curated by Hamilton, whose selections for The Table have garnered recognition from Wine Spectator three years in a row.
The goal, agreed Matson and Bray, is to become more than a pit-stop for museum-goers. Just as The Table has nurtured its reputation as one of the city’s best restaurants since opening in 2015, they hope Incalmo becomes a downtown destination.
INCALMO BY THE TABLE
The kitchen team here is led by Stephen Gangl, who joined Bray in late 2019. Together they have created a menu of rustic Italian dishes featuring Northwest ingredients.
Salads include a spin on a Caesar with fennel and housemade croutons, charred radicchio with fig vinaigrette and candied hazelnuts, and farro with lacinato kale, pistachios and chickpeas. On Macrina breads, roasted vegetables reside with an arugula pesto, porchetta meets fontina, and fried chicken gets a boost from prosciutto and pomodoro.
“I’m really just excited for pizza and pasta,” joked Bray, who cooked in many-an-Italian kitchen as a young chef. The concept fit this location, he said, which is similar in size (about 40 seats) and scope (modest kitchen) to his first restaurant.
A quad of housemade pastas offers a cheesy orecchiette, pork ragu over pappardelle, rigatoni with wild mushrooms and spicy peppers, plus a customizable bucatini.
Ten-inch oval pizzas are modeled after the Roman style, which traditionally incorporates olive oil in the dough and is cooked at a much lower temperature than Neapolitan pies. Bray and co. ferment theirs for three to four days.
“It’s got a better chew and fluff and texture,” he said, compared to the thin, firm crusts of a wood-fired pizza. “Our top is bubbly and has a crunch, but a good amount of dough and chew and substance to it. I think it’s wonderfully unique.”
For Bray and Hamilton, the second restaurant feels very right place, right time.
“Even through the pandemic,” the chef told The News Tribune as he prepped for the Dec. 17 debut, “you have this little flicker of a dream if the right space became available.”
The museum, which will celebrate its 20th anniversary next July, formally began searching for the right partner over the summer.
“We’re excited to have such a strong partnership with a Tacoma organization,” said Matson. “It’s really going to provide both the downtown community and our visitors with a really unique Tacoma experience.”
Eventually, they anticipate building special event dinners that tie into current exhibitions.
“It just felt right as far as the creativity aspect,” said Bray. In addition to more foot traffic around the Museum District, especially in the summer on Thea Foss Waterway, “It’s something that’s very Tacoma.”
INCALMO TACOMA AT THE MUSEUM OF GLASS
▪ 1801 Dock St., Tacoma, 253-284-4750, thetabletacoma.com/incalmo
▪ Wednesday-Sunday 10 a.m.-5 p.m.
▪ Details: locally sourced Italian at the Museum of Glass, walk-ins only; Friday-Saturday dinner starting in 2022; follow instagram.com/incalmotacoma for updates