Grassa offers another option in the now super delicious West End area of Southwest 12th and Washington, right next to Lardo (both by Rick Gencarelli, and who I’ve been visiting monthly for their chefwich collaboration for charity) and Racion, and also just across the street from Ruby Jewel and Cheryl’s on 12th, also a block from Jake’s Famous Crawfish, Tasty n Alder and Gruner and if you just walk a block more, Petunia’s Pies & Pastries and Saint Cupcake Galore. You can go to Ringler’s Annex for a whiskey, rum, or bourbon flight besides the usual McMenamins beers, but I’m keeping my eye out also on the in progress Multnomah Whiskey Library. This 3 block radius is kicking!
When I heard Rick was opening up a place devoted to pasta, it was at the top of my must try list, and I was happy I was finally able to go this past weekend. As soon as you walk in the glass door etched with their signature eagle, you are at an ordering counter. A chalkboard that extends up to the high modern workshop loft ceilings with the menu. We decided to go with food only this time, since I had dragged F over here (well, I did give him 3 multiple choice options I had filtered down, so he did get to pick at the end) after an Oakshire Barrel Aged Beer seminar at the Upper Lip (you can read great coverage of that event from a post by fellow blogger Kris at Beer Musings from Portland).
After ordering, you are given a number and seat yourself in the airy space that makes it seem like you are sitting in an extension of their kitchen prep area, or in a cooking class, a combination of industrial modernity and functionality. Look at those extension cords from the ceiling over those prime seats looking into the kitchen and right in front of the pasta machines! I don’t know how I could resist the temptation of not picking a bite out of those trays of pasta to the right either. Recipes were jotted on a chalkboard – I will try to ignore the amount of butter in the garlic bread I am about to eat.
I started out with the garlic bread.
I went with the pasta dish of Radiatore with tomato braised chicken, crisp skin, ricotta, basil. I loved the play on textures with the shapes of the radiatore and savory braised chicken and saved my last bite to be one of those bits of crisp skin.
Vegetarian F had the Bucatini wtih hazelnut pesto, zucchini, mozzarella crema and I was jealous. I love pesto. The pasta was toothy and the hazelnuts gave it some crunch while the mozzarella was the embrace of liquid love on top.
And yes, in case you were wondering, Grassa translated means “fat” in Italian, so he’s still celebrating it, and I’m right there with him!