Thursday, October 29, 2015
Coating My Insides with Delicious Grassa
Since being back at work, I'm happy to resume my Downtown Portland restaurant excursions - and it's always fun to do that with my enthusiastic, wonderful co-workers. About to describe my recent experience at Grassa, Portland's homemade pasta destination, and Lardo's sibling, my friend Laura accompanied me and we had a great time.
Essentially attached to Lardo, Grassa is an extension of this casual, stylish eatery. Just like Lardo, you order first, sit at a communal table and wait for your food to arrive. I like that there's service at the communal seats in the main dining room, and the waitstaff refills your waters, brings your food to the table and ensures you're having a good experience.
The dining area is simple but warm and filled with lots of patrons - especially during lunch. Although it's busy, I like that it's possible to score a table without an issue - making Grassa an accessible and friendly destination.
There's about 10 different types of pasta dishes that grace the menu each day, and they somewhat differ daily. It's nice to see they vary up their menu items to keep things fresh and interesting, enticing patrons to come back for more. I went for the gold so to speak in choosing the carbonara, a signature Italian pasta dish, and I wasn't sorry.
Carbonara - The i-ching of pasta dishes is of course the carbonara with lots of parmesan and pecorino cheese, pork belly and a beautifully fried egg on top. The latter was nice and runny and made the dish feel deconstructed, as egg is usually already cooked into this pasta. Needless to say, the pork belly raised the indulgence quotient to the nth level and it was perfectly crispy on the outside and soft, fatty and juicy on the inside. Overall, it made for a perfect end to a busy work week.
Marinated Eggplant - To start things off, Laura and I ordered this nice looking appetizer or contorni, as they refer to it at Grassa. Everything about it was delicious - from the tender eggplant circles to the soft mozzarella cheese, fresh pasta sauce, crunchy bread crumbs and some fragrant herbs on top. It was a vegetarian's dream, and Laura can attest to that.
Service and Cost:
As I already mentioned, the service was casual but lovely. We felt well taken care of and although the restaurant was busy, we didn't feel the least bit rushed to leave. In fact, we could've lingered and hung around for as long as we liked.
Costs are on the expensive side for pasta but well worth the high quality and generous portions. I also happened to have a Chinook Book coupon for the eggplant dish, which ended up being free, and this made things extra awesome.
Grassa - 1205 SW Washington Street, Portland OR 97205