Tuesday, April 5, 2011

"Festaggiare la primavera"

The daffodils are bobbing their heads and the fruit trees are a bursting in bloom. Yes, spring has arrived, albeit in classic Portland style. The promise of May’s flowers, make these April showers seem almost bearable.

Chef David and crew are celebrating the return of the Farmers Market. Our region’s growers, foragers, and ranchers have remained busy throughout this rainy, cold winter and the fruits of their labors are just beginning to show up in the markets and restaurant kitchens around Portland. This month’s menu celebrates springtime with the precious, fleeting produce that marks the season.

We begin this issue of the newsletter, introducing a new way to enjoy Genoa on the weekdays, when you don’t necessarily have the time, or appetite, for the full 5-course experience, but still want to dine in Portland’s premier dining room.

Michael Garofola shares some of the fascinating inner dialogue that goes on when he assembles the wine pairing for our new menu. Specifically, he describes a very unusual Slovenian Sauvignon he has chosen to pair with one of our dishes.

And finally, we “tip our hats” to the season’s most glorious products, the school graduate. Yes, the spring provides many reasons to celebrate!

Genoa transforms with Prix Fixe Evolution
This month we are beginning a new a tradition at Genoa. On weekdays, we will be offering an abbreviated 3-course option of our regular menu. You can still opt for the full 5-course experience, but for people with less time, or lighter appetites during the week, there is now a new option.

The Mid-Week Three-Course Prix-Fixe
(including a few mouth-watering photos to enjoy!)

First course

Antipasti di salume locale- “gnocco fritto” a savory fried bread from Emilia Romagna topped with Olympic provisions lardo, house made rabbit liver terrine and pearl onions agrodolce


Erbazzone con scarola- savory tartlet filled with grilled escarole, capers, olives, pecorino and eggs with Ayers Creek white bean salad and pickled vegetables


Insalata di asparagi bianchi- a composed salad of grilled white asparagus, hazelnuts and arugula topped with a soft poached farm egg and Oregon black truffles

Pasta Course

Garganelli fatto a mano- hand made pasta quills tossed with prosciutto di parma, peas and

San Marzano tomato cream sauce


Tortellini di ortica in brodo- house made pasta stuffed with fresh ricotta, nettles and lemon zest served in a green garlic broth

Main Course- choice of one of the following

Rombo in porcini al salto- sautéed Alaskan halibut dusted with porcini powder served over a fennel-sunchoke puree with fiddlehead ferns, roasted sunchokes and finished with a lemon crème fraiche


Petto d’anatra – crispy pan roasted breast of Sonoma Magret duck breast with a risotto verde, rhubarb gastrique and pea tendrils


Costata di vitello- grilled boneless ribeye of veal with caramelized fennel, baby carrots, heirloom potatoes, carrot-anise puree, wild mushrooms and veal jus

Three courses for forty dollars

Three course wine pairing for twenty five dollars

From the Cellar Desk of Michael Garofola:
An April Wine Pairing

Wine: Movia Sauvignon, Brda, Slovenia 2006
Menu Item: Erbazzone con Scarola -- Savory Tarlet filled with grilled escarole, capers, olives, pecorino and eggs toppedwith a boquerone. Served on top of Ayres Creek purgatorio bean salad and pickled fruit and vegetables.
Winery Info: Movia has been in the Kristancic family since 1820, even though the estate has been in existence since the early eighteenth century. From the Brda appellation in Slovenia, just over the border from Italy's famed Collio Goriziano DOC (Brda means Collio in Slovene, which in turn translates to "hills" in English). Eighth generation owner Ales Kristancic has been kicking around the cellar since he was a boy, and possesses such an innate wisdom when it comes to his land, soils, and cellar that it's not clear where one begins and the other ends. He is Movia, in other words. Working biodynamically and in a very hands-off, natural fashion in the cellar with no sulphur and no foreign yeasts, Movia is the gold standard for Slovenian wines.
The Pairing: Upon thinking about this pairing initially, I was struck with how many components were on the plate. Herb/Pickle/Fat/Fish/Acid... it has it all. Oh, and don't forget bergamot. Pairings like this are the most enjoyable because they often require wines that are as equally dynamic as the dish, and the possibilities can be really fun.
The nose on the wine suggests menthol and mint, maybe fennel somewhere in there, which for me is atypical for Sauvignon; but this is not just Sauvignon, it is Movia Sauvignon. The mint flavors marry well with the overall first impression of the dish, but it’s the bergamot that creates a really intense sensation. The bergamot is the reason I thought about this wine initially, and I’m happy it works as well as it does. As for the fish element, the fact is there is relatively low acid in this wine for Sauvignon. The fat in the dish balances out the fish taste on its own, so the wine actually acts as a neutral as far as the fish is concerned. The finish of the wine reacts interestingly with the assortment of pickles, especially the apple. Finally, the candied apricot tone that hides rather subtly in the wine on its own becomes highlighted and pleasant as a closing note.

Parting Thoughts: Caps Off to this Year’s Grads

As we close out another newsletter, we would like to tip our hats to the future leaders of our community, emerging from their institutions of higher learning, with fresh ideas and unbridled energy. As you set forth down uncertain paths, celebrate each new experience with the same spirit of discovery that has led you to this great milestone.

Mom and Dad, how do you plan on celebrating this great achievement? Did you know that, in addition to evening gatherings in our Private Dining Room, Genoa is happy to host special lunch/brunch celebrations in the Main Dining Room?

For more ideas and details on graduation celebrations,
Contact our Private Dining Coordinator, Tim Parsons via email:

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