The Dining Report – Carpaccio Trattoria

I’ll Take A Large Order Of Our Waiter, To Go.


The last time Restaurant Roulette visited a Venetian Inspired Portland restaurant (Fratelli) I talked a bit about my one trip to Italy, and how in Venice we had some pretty lousy food, mainly because in Venice, to get good food in a nice restaurant, you need to shell out those big bucks. Our big bucks were spent on halfway “decent lodgings” (good location, on the Grand Canal by the Rialto Bridge, very small hotel room with rather too busy blue and white floral wallpaper, but nice and clean.) When you are in Venice in the late summer, who needs a gorgeous hotel room, you should be spending all your waking hours walking around, getting lost,  and looking at everything you can possibly see in your limited timeline.

So far, since the mixed use brick building on the intersection of MLK and Fremont was built, the corner space has not had too much luck (I can’t say how the Subway next door has done.) IMG_3072The first place that opened, Terrior, was by someone who was big on the local food scene about 6 years ago. This was before our “food explosion” here, and now I can’t remember his name, but when Terrior opened it was initially well regarded for its high end small plate menu. It soon fell into financial difficulty, however, and I seem to remember the owner skulking off in the middle of the night without paying lots of people, especially employees. After the space sat vacant for a bit, Belly opened, run by a really sweet couple, whom I’m sure, everyone who met them wanted to succeed. We had a dinner there, the staff was nice, the menu was accessible (sort of NW/American/Italian) the prices were reasonable, the portions were large, and the food was good. Perhaps Belly lacked distinction, or focus, or whatever it takes to draw patrons to this rather desolate corner, so after three years, they also had to throw in the towel.

Once again, the space was empty for quite a few months. Then, without much fanfare, a chef from Venice, Francesco Solda, decided he would give this rather long and angular space with the big bar area a whirl, naming it Carpaccio Trattoria.IMG_3056 Until this week, I don’t think I’ve read anything about this restaurant anywhere, but according to the Willamette Week from August 8th, CT has been a big neighborhood hit with their generous and late going happy hour, and WW are predicting that this might be the restaurant to break the curse at this address. Let’s just hope the generous happy hour and the expansive coupon someone brought to this dinner don’t spell a financial demise somewhere down the road. The profit margin in restaurants is exceedingly small, so unless you are incredibly popular (Toro Bravo, Screen Door, T N’ S, or Ox popular) you can’t be giving too many of your goods and services away and not be taking a major hit.)

Let’s not start predicting bad things ahead though, after all, CT (sadly, I’m already tired of typing Carpaccio Trattoria, especially since it’s not easy to spell to begin with) just opened, and the place seems once again filled with nice people. Let’s predict good things ahead, once they get their word around town and distinguish themselves from some of the other new Italian joints we’ve seen open in Portland in the last year (the trend the year before in Portland was French Bistro, this year we’re seeing Italian restaurants everywhere, especially those based around wood fired ovens. Interestingly, the CT space has a wood fired oven left over from previous tenants, but no pizza. This might be a good thing, the pizza I had in Venice was ghastly, hard crust and nothing especially tasty on top. It appears like good pizza comes from now South.) (more…)