Sometimes restaurants that try to please everyone wind up pleasing no one at all. Castagna doesn’t have that problem. Between the elegant main restaurant and low-key but still high-minded Cafe Castagna, there really is something for just about everyone. Castagna proper specializes in luxuriant preparations of the finest cuts of meat and fish, with hefty price tags to match. Alaskan king salmon, Harris Ranch steaks, Cattail Creek lamb, all perfectly spiced, sauced and paired with sides, then laid on starched white tablecloths in Castagna’s sleek and minimalist dining room. Just on the other side of the wall, Cafe Castagna sizzles along, dim and romantic and decidedly more casual, not to mention affordable. Small plates, salads and cracker-thin pizzas start the menu, most in the $6 to $12 range. The arancini are Italy’s sophisticated answer to mozzarella sticks: deep-fried risotto balls oozing fontina cheese and aromatic saffron. Entrees range from the excellent hamburger to lamb skewers and housemade sausage. Both restaurants do what they do very well. Let your mood (and maybe your pocketbook) choose the right one for you.
IDEAL MEAL: Salad of Sauvie Island egg, frisée, lardons and toast; arancini; anything with lamb.