5:30-9:30 pm Tuesday-Sunday. $$$ Expensive.
[ITALIAN EXTRAVAGANCE] Before closing in 2008 after almost 40 years as a cornerstone of Portland’s food revival, Genoa’s stately prix fixe menu suffered from what might be called an embarrassment of riches. Seven courses? Who eats that nowadays? While the old menu might have held a certain Mad Men-esque indulgent charm, it could be argued that it had drifted from Don Draper decadence into stuffy old-lady land. Reopened in December 2009 under new head chef David Anderson (formerly of Vindalho), Genoa has dropped the number of courses to five, a less intimidating number that still allows for special-occasion extravagance. The menu rotates seasonally, and each rotation follows the cuisine of a specific region of Italy. Inspired by the Campania area, the late-summer menu artfully straddles the line between the incoming fall and August’s dusky haze, sprinkling rich fare with plenty of light delicacies. The no-nonsense, housemade pasta is a toothsome prelude to the intriguing salad course, an insalta de mare that features meaty Alaskan prawns, Puget Sound mussels and clams, Oregon octopus and pretty much every other creature that could be speared on Poseidon’s trident. The main course offers three options, the most mind-blowing of which is the whole roasted dourade prepared in the goofily named “crazy water.” We suggest you partake in the other crazy water as well—the wine pairing, featuring vino from the same region as the food, may not be a steal at 38 bucks a person, but it flows plentifully. You’ll leave buzzed, happy and full—just not too full. JONANNA WIDNER.
Ideal meal: Whatever’s on the menu.
Best deal: The whole thing—five excellent courses for $55.
Chef’s choice: Caponata salad with carpaccio tuna. “It’s a super-interesting dish. I love eggplant. It’s a testament to the late-summer produce, and it has an interesting presentation.”(David Anderson)