In anticipation of many future trips to Portland, I became worried that I wouldn’t find any good food. People told me over and over how the food is AMAZING. How amazing could it really be? I mean, I hail from LA. While haters from NYC or SF may turn their noses at the food scene here, I’m pretty happy with the LA’s depth and breadth of prices, qualities, flavors, cuisines, and scenes. So I looked to Portland with a lot of foodie hesistation. And now, while I have not been amazed, I have been pleasantly surprised by all my outings so far.
Dumpling Man, Big Spoon, Zhu Zhu Hamster and her friend, and I came upon Serrato in hopes of a nice Italian meal. The restaurant itself is quite spacious and wasn’t terribly crowded for a Saturday night. It has a pretty standard menu for Italian. I wasn’t expecting any tricks here.
Beet Salad bosc pear, chevre, baby organic greens, dijon-tarragon vinaigrette, fried garlic
I don’t know if beets are just native to Portland and therefore taste fresher and better, but these were again very delicious. The beets were sweet and juicy and were well complimented by the crunchy sweetness from the pears, and the creamy sharpness of the chevre, or goat cheese, and the tanginess of the vinaigrette. I thought the fried garlic was an interesting touch, which I really liked. More beets please!!
Rigatoni spicy Italian sausage, garlic, onion, tomato, fresh mozarella, basil
Zhu Zhu Hamster and her friend split this as an appetizer. There was nothing particularly intereseting about this dish, but it was well seasoned, well prepared, and certainly infused with hearty flavors from the tomatoes and mozarella cheese. I only got to taste this dish, but I wanted to eat all of it! What’s better than sausage and tomatoes?
Tagliatelle wild boar ragu, red wine, tomato, herbs, orange gremolata
I ordered this as my entree. It was very hearty, with the rich flavors from wild boar. The tagliatelle was al dente. I will say that there was some strange lingering taste in my mouth that was slightly off putting. I can’t tell if it was the red wine element or some added spice or herb. As a result I could not finish the whole dish. Next time, I’ll order the rigatoni.
Grilled New York Strip grilled corn polenta, pancetta wrapped endive, arugula, red peppers
I totally imagined a different dish. I somehow imagined the meat to be a small loin or strip, but it was in fact a whole steak. I’m not a fan of large hunks of meat unless theres plenty of marbling involved, otherwise the meat tends to be dry and chewy, especially at lesser quality restaurants. Not to say Serrato is of lesser quality, but it certainly is not a steak house. In short, the meat was nothing special. The pancetta wrapped endive was interesting, but appeared quite phallic on the plate. The endive was mushy and oversteamed. What I really liked about the dish was the grilled corn polenta, which had kernels of sweet corn, and a delicious rich polenta.
Zabaglione italian custard with oregon berries
This dessert was so simple, but it hit the spot. The custard was smooth, creamy, and just slightly sweet. The blackberries were tart and perfectly complimenting. We all dug in very happily, to get a great balance of the flavors.
Milk Chocolate Cobbler vanilla bean gelato
I love cobblers. Peach cobbler, berry cobbler, etc. Chocolate cobbler? I never heard of it. It was probably the least favorite dessert. First of all, milk chocolate should be something left for kids to eat. I just find it too sweet these days. I prefer the slight bittersweet taste of a rich dark chocolate. The sweet chocolate in combination with the sweet cobbler crust and sweet ice cream was too much sugar. It needed some tart fruits or something to balance it all out.
So I guess Serrato was 3 for 6. Still good enough in my book considering the dishes I liked, I really liked, and the dishes I didn’t like were just not that good as opposed to horrible failures. Plus the menu has other things to try, so I will definitely make a trip back here one day.
2112 NW Kearney St
Portland, OR 97210