Food brings people together, and in the case of this #pdxbrunchgirls group that I’m a part of, it’s brunch that brings us together. Just before the holidays, our brunch crew visited Accanto over on Belmont St. In typical Portland fashion, it was a gray and gloomy day, but the restaurant’s atmosphere was inviting, the food was colorful, and the company was perfect.
Accanto is your cozy neighborhood Italian joint with an upscale, yet casual vibe. A quick peek at the menu reveals that it’s great for omnivores and vegetarians, but what about vegans?
I didn’t pick the restaurant for our brunch, but I contacted Accanto on Facebook to inquire about vegan options before our visit. They saw my message almost immediately, but didn’t respond, which I’ve learned from experience, usually means that they don’t have any or won’t accommodate. If you’re a regular reader, you probably know by now that I’m 99% vegan, 1% vegetarian; this brunch was part of the latter. (FYI, they finally responded in early January and noted which dinner dishes can be made vegan. Good to know!)
You know how the saying goes: brunch without cocktails is just a sad, late breakfast. Haha! I’ve heard good things about the Belmont Bloody ($8), and it did not disappoint. Comes topped with ricotta, peppers, a pickle, and an olive. It also comes with pork rind draped across the top, but someone at our table quickly whisked that away.
The ricotta donuts ($6) with lemon curd are supposed to be a must order item. Our waiter mentioned that they switched to grapefruit at one point, but customers wanted the lemon back. Don’t get distracted by this very intimate closeup of my hand, one order of these tasty donut balls is good for sharing with friends.
Since this seemed like the type of place that would do pasta well, I opted for the parsnip ravioli ($14) and asked them not to include the poached egg. (Still contains dairy though.) I was right: the ravioli was great! This dish had some intriguing accompaniments to the ravioli: treviso radicchio, pine nuts, brussels sprouts, and salsa verde. Tasty enough, but it seemed like there was a lot going on in one plate.
At our table, the overall consensus was that the food was enjoyable and very rich. Perhaps even too rich as everyone left some food on their plate. Here are some other dishes at our table:
Roasted veggies and polenta ($13) featuring roasted brussels sprouts, carrots, and cauliflower. Topped heavily with ricotta and finished with a poached egg. Good for folks who want to get a yolk porn shot for Instagram.
Accanto’s breakfast sandwich ($11) is basically a more upscale take on a classic breakfast sandwich. Comes with a generous leafy green salad.
Instead of your standard benedict ingredients, they mix it up a little with this chard-tomato benedict ($14) that comes with a smoked hollandaise. Back in my poached egg loving days, I would have been all over this dish.