il Piatto (or Il Piatto, or il piatto … I’m never sure about the whether or not I should capitalize with this restaurant…) is one of my favorite restaurants in Portland. The food is delicious, but what inspires me most about this place is the surroundings – it is very free in spirit. From the blue-green European plaster walls and the bold-colored curtains that lend a sense of privacy to each booth, to the antique collectables that line the high shelves throughout the restaurant and the crystal chandeliers that hang from the ceilings: every decorative touch gives this restaurant a sense of artistic ambiance. This place really appeals to the artist in me. It is the kind of place that – if I lived close enough – I’d want to visit daily just to sip on some tea and possibly sketch a while in an attempt to capture some of its charm.
Location: 2348 SE Ankeny in Portland, OR
Order: Grilled Bruschetta ($9), Rabbit with Polenta ($25)
What I Think:
My husband and I went for lunch, but they allowed me to order from the dinner menu. It had been years since I’ve had rabbit, and I was really looking forward to trying the rabbit dish at il Piatto.
We ordered the Bruschetta as an appetizer. Two of the slices were topped with hummus while one was topped more traditionally (or at least, what I would consider to be traditional), with fresh tomatoes, onions and capers. The fourth piece of grilled toast was topped with a bright green pesto. My favorite of these was the toast topped with the fresh tomatoes, onions and capers. The tomatoes tasted as if they were fresh from the garden: sweet and juicy.
My husband ordered the chicken panini ($9). The chicken was grilled, and it was juicy and tender. The portabello mushroom was delicious and meaty. A tasty sandwich.
But the rabbit! It was amazing! My father raised rabbits when I was a teen, and so rabbit was something that we ate pretty often. Since moving out and on … I think I’ve only had rabbit once. And I’ve missed it.
The rabbit was perfectly cooked; it had been braised until it was so tender it fell right off the bone! Based on my experience with eating rabbit in my youth, I would guess that this rabbit was a farm-raised rabbit. Game rabbits tend to be much tougher and have a strong, wild taste to them. This meat was sweet and succulent, although because it was cooked on the bone, it did still have a slightly wild taste.
The sauce that was served with the rabbit was a flavorful, savory sauce. It had a tart flavor with just a hint of sweetness. This was an excellent contrast to the sweetness of the meat, as well as the sweet, starchy taste of the polenta. The polenta was grilled, giving it a crisp exterior with a creamy, soft interior. A mound of steamed spinach rounded out the plate. A nice texture to the spinach, not mushy or over-cooked.
My Final Thoughts:
il Piatto is one of my favorite restaurants in the Portland area. I love the atmosphere and I love the food. If you’re in the Portland area, I recommend visiting. Watch Living Social for deals!