Accanto: Restaurant Guide 2014

2838 SE Belmont St., 235-4900, accantopdx.com.

[SEASONS CHANGE] Accanto means "next door" in Italian, and since birth that's been both the address and identity of this low-key cafe adjoining the now-shuttered Genoa. Genoa closed in May at age 42, remembered fondly by those who knew it as a dashing young adventurer, and by the rest as a cranky institution marred by stuffy service and plodding, overpriced prix-fixe meals. But with its older sister out of the house, Accanto seems to be coming out of its shell. Suddenly, it's blaring Future Islands records and getting chatty at the dinner table. Everything from the logo, to the chalkboard of seasonal salads, to the Moscow Mule (cocktails are all $10) seems brighter and crisper today. Pasta technique from next door has been retained, including a soul-warming orecchiette, doughy little ears done perfectly al dente, with herbed crumbles of fennel sausage and slivers of broccoli raab below a snowdrift of salty shaved pecorino ($15). Get that and any fish dish that looks as promising as our grilled king salmon with a rough-cut peach and basil salsa over nutty mascarpone polenta.

Pro tip: Monday is spaghetti and meatball night. Depending on how your Monday went, you can pair it with a bottle of sangiovese for $15.

5:30-9:30 pm Monday-Tuesday, 11 am-9:30 pm Wednesday-Thursday, 11 am-10:30 pm Friday, 5:30 pm-10:30 pm Saturday, 5:30-9:30 pm Sunday, brunch 10 am-2 pm weekends. $$$.


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