Genoa is a venerable outpost of fine dining in Portland. Their usual tasting menu serves up five courses for $70. I hadn’t yet had the chance to dine there since Jake Martin took up the chef’s apron, following in the footsteps of chefs such as Cathy Whims and David Anderson. The Portland Dining Month deal was the perfect opportunity.
To keep the options simple, you designate with your reservation if you will be taking the dining month deal. Then you have a choice between a 3-course Traditional Menu and a 3-Course Vegetarian Menu. Our table of four had two of each. Bread and house-made butter are a $3 add-on (they brought enough for the whole table for that price). The optional wine pairing is $18 for three generous half-glasses, one paired to each course.
Antipasti course traditional: thinly sliced steak, arugula, parmesan antipasti. The vegetarian composition was of beets, avocado espuma and pistachio, which our tasters thought was even better.
Primi course traditional: Cappellini pasta made with smoked eggs and smoked flour, with smoked clams and shaved cod “chorizo” on top and espelette jus. It was simply delicious. It was also artfully arranged to look like a crustacean. I would have gladly eaten a giant bowl of this. The vegetarian dish was a risotto with green garlic and meyer lemon.
Secondi course traditional: roasted duck breast with pancetta and apple. Although the duck breast was deep red within, it was perfectly roasted. I loved every bite. The vegetarian dish was caramelized caulifower, truffle, brown butter and duck egg.
Desserts were optional and they asked you to order it with your other courses. One of our number had the poached pear.
I enjoyed the wine pairing.
It was a delightful meal and showed that Genoa remains a great choice for an “occasion” dinner. We four ladies enjoyed the chance to dress up and be served with the whole white-tablecloth-and-crumber ambiance. While Genoa is dress-up worthy, I would say the service is still friendly and un-stuffy, while being very knowledgeable. It was a much more relaxed ambiance than I experienced at Ruth’s Chris Steak House last week, which was simply too crowded and the servers seemed a little harried.
Genoa Restaurant, 2832 SE Belmont St, Portland, Oregon 97214.