As many of you may already know, Miss Dish comes from the gutter. Sure, it may seem as though she lives a charmed life and is to the manor born, but nothing could be further from the truth. Like many others blessed with a thirst for the finer things, Miss Dish has often resorted to rifling through garbage, perhaps to unearth a magical treat. Before she was assigned to the Dish desk, she would pant at the window of this city's finer restaurants, nary a penny in her pocket, with the hope that some nice person would throw her a crust.
This is why even though Miss Dish is now very fat and well-nourished she likes to champion good food at good prices. It is with this in mind that she says a very big HOORAY for the growing trend of reasonably priced menus making their way into some of our city's finer restaurants. Some places have added a special line for the less than endowed. Oritalia now serves tapas that are delish and won't swallow a whole paycheck. You can go to the bar at both Wildwood and Higgins and eat well for under $15 a person. Now Castagna, a restaurant where you can easily drop $50 a head,
has opened Cafe Castagna next door (1758 SE Hawthorne Blvd., 231-7373) for dinner, with a saliva-inducing menu that doesn't top $15 an item. Co-owner Monique Siu told Miss Dish that the idea was to make a neighborhood place where people can regularly pop in for dinner. So let Castagna be the place you save up for and go on your birthday, and let the cafe be the place you meet with your buddies every Friday. There's a full bar (some great wines by the glass go for under $6), and the cafe, which took over the spot of Coast to Coast Hardware, has the same stark lines that the restaurant next door is known for. So what's on the agenda? The menu, which will rotate seasonally, now features a wedge of iceberg lettuce with green goddess dressing ($5), baked penne with cheese ($9), roast chicken with fingerling potatoes and brussels sprouts ($13) and desserts for $5 that include a root beer float and pear crostata with anise ice cream. Here's to living large on a small budget.
Now, speaking of budgets, there's whispering about that Terra may have overstepped its own. Closed since Dec. 26, this sushi house with the big ol' Buddha now bears a sign that says it plans to reopen after a few weeks of renovation and remodeling. A recent call garnered a real, live person who stated that the restaurant is tentatively (and he did sound extremely tentative) slated to reopen at the end of this month. We'll see. It's been a hard salmon roe to hoe for this prime Pearl District space that was formerly the home of Bima.