Portobello Vegan Trattoria: Restaurant Guide 2014

1125 SE Division St., 754-5993, portobellopdx.com.

[PERMANENT LENT] It's impressive how accurately Portobello channels the traditional trattoria experience. There's only one other place in town that comes close to matching this vegan restaurant's handle on the eastern time zone's dark dens of pasta and big gold wristwatches, and that's Gino's. Fat bistro burgers ($11, made of beets), delicate beef tartare ($9, also made of beets) and big portobello steaks ($16) set the tone here, which self-consciously strives for decadence. Pizzas ($11-14) mostly get a thin coat of cashew cream on puffy, underbaked Neapolitanish crusts. Our gnocchi ($10 small, $15 large) topped were gummy inside and charred crispy in the pan, served in a very light walnut pesto with a few crunchy pole beans mixed in. The cavatelli ($13 small, $18 large) had a nice, warming flavor thanks to roasted leeks, pan-fried mushrooms and a drizzle of glistening truffle butter. On our visit, they were offering a mushroom upgrade to chanterelles for an upcharge ($4 small, $8 large), which would have been very decadent indeed. MARTIN CIZMAR.

Pro tip:

You'll notice that every table has a cone of fries with curry ketchup ($6) while very few have the cashew-based cheese plate ($12-19). These people have made smart decisions all around.

5:30-9 pm Tuesday-Thursday, 5:30-10 pm Friday-Saturday, 5:30-9 pm Sunday. $$.