Grassa's strozzapeti — Photo courtesy of Meagan Shamy
Lardo’s owner Rick Gencarelli has done it again. But this time, instead of launching another Lardo (his wildly popular sandwich shop) location, he has opened Grassa, a casual Italian eatery where you order at the counter and seat yourself. But don't let the casual atmosphere or the fact that it's almost fast food hold you back from trying. Grassa is quickly being declared the go-to place in Portland for handcrafted and original pasta. It's becoming one of the most popular restaurants in the West End district.
Each day from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., Grassa serves fresh, handcrafted pastas, appetizers, salads and cocktails. Grassa features a rotating menu with eight to nine pasta dishes, based on seasonal availability and their desire to provide nothing but the freshest ingredients possible.
You will find a variety of pasta here, including their own versions of traditional dishes like spaghetti with olive oil and garlic; carbonara with pork belly and an egg on top; Bucatini with hazel nut pesto; and squid ink pasta with lemon, octopus and chorizo. They have traditional salads like Caesar, as well as some wonderful seasonal salads, too.
Besides food, they offer a small list of wines and cocktails ranging from $7 to $9 each, as well as some lovely dessert options like panna cotta.
Inside Grassa restaurant — Photo courtesy of Pechluck's Food Adventures
Grassa restaurant is truly comfort food at its best, and their low prices ($7 to $12 for a meal) will most certainly not be found at any other Italian restaurants in downtown Portland. You can get an entire loaf of garlic bread for $3!
Service is fast, making this a great place to grab a quick lunch if you are limited on time or dining with kids. If you are doing so, then they will likely love watching the workers' preparation of the fresh pasta.
Keep in mind that if you are craving a certain type of pasta not go too late in the day, because they sometimes run out of their most popular items.