99% Food, 1% Skin

Grassa

WP_20150731_19_33_27_Pro Brought to us by Lardo folks, Grassa is a casual pasta place in bustling downtown Portland.

Once entered, the eyes were drawn to this ginormous chalk board with Grassa’s delicious offering: pork belly mac n cheese, squid ink campanelle etc.

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One single cashier by the door to take orders and payments, and we were off to look for a table to sit: seats were “grab as you see them”, there was no line to open table.

It was a good sign that the place was packed, a sure sign that food should be decent; but there was no table available for our party of four.

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I started stressing out about what happened if our food were ready and we still did not have a table.

Luckily, a large party left — but that was when the not so great experience started.

We had to sit down once the table was opened because there were lots of people continue to flow in after us.

For the next 10 minutes, we were sitting by other people’s dirty dishes.

Multiple attempts of asking a wait staff to help us clean the table was to no prevail, it honestly started to get a little gross.

One of our dishes was out from the kitchen, and the wait staff could no longer delay cleaning our table.

Dirty dishes were collected, but the table had not been wiped down.

Another wait staff came with the rag, but she only cleaned the empty table area that was next to us, but not ours; we had to chase her back to clean our area.

I am just not sure how the staff could keep track of the tables: it dawned on me that our party could look like someone who had finished their dishes but had not left!

Finally, after all the snafu, a clean table with more of our food in front of us.

All pastas are hand-made in-house, and all of decent portion.

I was most excited to try the carbonara.

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Noodles were soft with thick cuts of great flavored pork belly, very crispy.

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back: squid campanelle — front: pork belly mac n cheese

I loved the aggressive usage of black pepper, boldly cut through the eggy creaminess and the hard-to-avoid grease from the pork belly.

Pork belly mac and cheese was delicious as well!

The pork belly had Chinese barbeque pork flavor, slightly honey sweet and soy saucy, along with strong black pepper flavor and a nice light cheese, a fantastic sweet and salty treat.

To our surprise, the squid campanelle was very spicy!

Awesome taste of the sea, spicy with lots of chillies, accompanied by basil and lean tuna, quite tasty.

Ravioli were light and pillowy with cheesy filling that was creamy, with a sweet tomato sauce and shredded pork on top.

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We did get a summer peach appetizer but it was quite disappointing: just some melty cheese and cooked peaches, something I could make at home easily.

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summer peach

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frito misto @ Grassa

Another appetizer was the Frito Misto: fried calamari with fennel, lemon and chilli; a little under seasoned, however, it had an interesting twist: the lemon slices were fried as well, rind and flesh.

They were not bitter and made a creative element for the dish.

Lastly, our 2 dessert cannoli were chocolate orange and chocolate hazelnut; the shells were nicely crumbly with cheesy, grainy, real ricotta cheese filling.

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Chocolate hazelnut was the star with nice, strong flavor, while the orange flavor was muted in the other.

I will go back to Grassa for pastas for sure!

Grassa Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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