Sunday, May 15, 2011

Portland Restaurant: Il Piatto

What: Il Piatto
Where: 2348 SE Ankeny St, Portland
When: Lunch Tues - Fri 11:30 - 2 pm, Dinner Nightly 5:30 pm
Honeys Heart: Goat cheese fritters!

I know I've said it before, but I'll say it again. Living in NW makes me SO bad about going to eastside restaurants. Which is extremely unfortunate because there are incredible restaurants in NE and SE. Something I have done to remedy this is buy any and all Groupon, Living Social, and Tozmoz deals (those happen to be the ones I get emails from) that feature at least 50% off any eastside restaurant that I've wanted to try. My rationale: I can't afford not to and since I've already paid, I should at least go try it! 

One recent example of this is my dinner at Il Piatto, an intimate and popular italian restaurant in SE. Adam and I decided we needed a date night last Friday and made reservations for two. I've heard that sometimes reservations are needed, but we could have easily just walked in, even with eleven Vancouver high school students (yes, an odd number) sitting in the middle of the room enjoying a pre-prom dinner. They were great entertainment while we checked out the menu. 

I was tempted to order a lemon drop with lavender simple syrup, but $11 seemed a little steep, so we stuck with water for the evening. Our waitress brought us bread, which interestingly, is served with humus and we ordered hazelnut crusted goat cheese, caramelized onion, and date fritters on greens ($10) and the cornmeal crusted calamari with spicy red pepper aioli ($11.)  

The fritters were amazing. I absolutely love goat cheese and the warm combination of caramelized onions and dates was incredible. Also, one fritter was the perfect amount since it is so rich and creamy. 

As a calamari lover I was excited to try their cornmeal crusted version, but was really disappointed by the bland flavor and unenjoyable texture. We didn't eat that much of it and I almost never leave a dish unfinished! 

Il Piatto's menu offers salads, pastas, and entrees. We thought about sharing a pasta and an entree, but really, we both just wanted pasta so we went that route instead. I ordered the Gnocchi ($14) housemade potato gnocchi, lightly browned, with house cured pancetta and parsley pesto. This gnocchi was denser than other versions I've had, but I liked it. I'm not sure that it would cover a serious pasta craving, but it was filling and the parsley pesto was a nice change. Though I don't think I would order this dish again, I was glad I tried it (the pancetta may have influenced me...)

Per a recommendation, Adam went with the Bolognese ($15) with ground beef "bolognese" simmered in red wine, vegetables, tomatoes, and spices on spaghetti. This dish was really great, definitely a rich, hearty pasta dish with a good amount of sauce. Enough for Adam to pile on a couple slices of bread after the noodles were gone! If I went back I might go for a pasta dish more like this than the gnocchi. 

Overall our dinner there was nice. The wait staff was friendly and the food was good, but it wasn't a rave worthy experience and in other reviews I've found that people have really had "hit or miss" experiences at Il Piatto, typically having good food, but poor service and long wait times. You can read other reviews on Yelp or City Search

I'm not dying to return, but they do have a happy hour menu which I might try to check out this summer. There is also an accompanying Asian inspired lounge, Jade Lounge, that I hope to check out soon.
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