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PDX: Genoa (long)

Nettie | Jan 23, 2005 11:22 PM

Genoa used to be the restaurant in Portland to which we always went for special occasion dinners. In the past several years, it seems like more high-end restaurants have opened and with Cathy Whims leaving, I didn't feel like I always had to go to Genoa. Last night I went back for the first time in a couple of years. I was a little unsure whether it would live up to my memories, but it easily surpassed my expectations.

OK, now I'm going to describe each course, and since there are seven of them it will probably take a little while--sorry in advance! The first course was a crostini topped with Dungeness crab and slightly wilted arugula with hard-boiled egg. The combination of the sweetness of the crab with the bitterness of the arugula somehow worked really well. Next was a mushroom soup made with chicken broth, and just the right amount of cream to make it rich but not overwhelming, and the flavor of the mushrooms came through really well. The pasta course was fettucine al cavolo nero. Even though I'm not a big fan of cream-based pasta sauces, this was done lightly enough that the cream didn't overwhelm the other flavors.

The salad was oak leaf lettuce, endive, and grapefruit topped with smoked trout. The dressing was made of grapefruit as well, and cut through the smokiness of the trout really nicely. For the main course, my husband had a poussin brined with rosemary and garlic, then roasted and served with kabocha squash with an onion relish. I had venison osso buco which had been braised in a Chianti sauce finished with orange, served with polenta and brussels sprouts. For dessert--and I'm totally guessing at the spelling--my husband had dacqoise. I had something that sounded to me like cimebue--Italian meringue with chocolate and hazelnuts, the layers separated by mountains of whipped cream.

The final course was fresh fruit, which we were somehow able to eat. Three and a half hours after we arrived we finished eating and rolled ourselves home.

My husband had wines by the glass and I think at first he was disappointed that they didn't have more selection by the glass, but he found out that some of those they had were chosen to match the courses (oddly, they didn't mention this up front). The wines by the bottle were fairly expensive, and there weren't many half bottles. The service was excellent, but a few times one of the waiters was a little too efficient at clearing dishes from our table--our waitress left an empty glass on our table when she went to get a bottle of wine, and the waiter whisked it away before we could protest. But that was more funny than annoying. I'm quite pleased with the meal, and I would go back more freqently if I could eat that much food more often!

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