Home > Restaurants > Portalis – 7/10/11

Portalis – 7/10/11


Location: 5295 Ballard Ave NW


Tues-Thurs: 4pm – 11pm

Friday: 4pm-12am

Saturday: 12pm-12am

Sunday: 12am – 10pm

Monday: Closed

J and I wanted to go somewhere quiet for dinner on Sunday while Ballard Seafood Fest was happening. When we walked by Portalis earlier in the day, J asked if it was on the list, suggesting dinner there after I had answered, “Yes”.

Portalis is a small, intimate wine bar located within a wine shop about halfway down Ballard Ave. One side of the rather rustic interior is given over to racks of wine bottles. The wine shop gives regular wine tastings throughout the week. In fact, I’ve visited their Sunday market tastings after shopping the Ballard Farmer’s Market. The people who run the tastings are always knowledgeable and friendly.

Along the other side of the shop runs a long bar as well as a handful of tables nearer to the front which can be open up during nice weather. The weather on Sunday was quite nice so J and I sat near the front and people watched.

Portalis’ small menu consists of a few appetizers, entrees, and desserts, all made from local ingredients. Many items on the menu change according to what’s in season so check out the menu online before going. Also, on Saturdays, they offer a price fixe menu of three courses.

The Service:

Our server was prompt, polite, and friendly.

I suppose this might be the best place to mention that Portalis has suggested wine pairings to go with each entrée on the menu. Their suggestions for what we eventually ordered were absolutely spot on and, at least with J’s entrée, unexpected.

The Drinks:

The suggested wine for J’s entrée was an Italian Sangiovese, Poggio Salvi 2008 Morellino Di Scansano. He found it to be a surprisingly light and mellow wine. Great for a summer day.

My wine was a French Grenache, Chateau des Roques 2007 Vacqueyras. This was was much stronger, as befit my choice of entrée. To me it had a bitey, peppery flavor. Although J described it as “Tawny” when he took a sip. Quite good.

The Food:

J chose the Fettuccine, homemade noodles with peas, prosciutto, crimini mushrooms and shaved grana. He was pleasantly surprised by its lightness. He had expected something far creamier. Like his wine, it was perfect for a warm summer day.

My entrée was the Chuck Eye Steak with peperonata and potato gratin. The steak came to the table nicely charred, covered in onions, red and yellow peppers. The meat was tender with a fresh, beefy flavor, which the sweetness of the peperonata enhanced quite well. Very nice.

The potato gratin turned out to be the winner of my entrée. Basically it was a more sophisticated scalloped potatoes made with goat cheese. The potatoes were not overcooked so they still retained a bit of a crunch. The tangy goat cheese complimented the potatoes and the steak. I am tempted to find a similar recipe to try at home.

The Price:

Poggio Salvi 2008 Morellino Di Scansano: 8.50

Chateau des Roques 2007 Vacqueyras: 9.50

Fettucine: 15.00

Chuck Eye Steak: 17.00

The Verdict:

We both really enjoyed Portalis. The intimacy of the restaurant part was comfortable and nice. Great, creative food made with fresh ingredients. Perfect wine pairings. The price is not at all bad for the quality. In fact, considering how tasty everything was, it might be considered a bit low compared to comparable places in Ballard.

Once the project is over, I’m sure we will go back to Portalis. I’m curious to see what new entrees they come up with over the seasons.

Categories: Restaurants Tags: , , ,
  1. Randy Brinker
    July 20, 2011 at 12:22 pm

    Thanks for doing your blog. I’m looking forward to going to Portalis and trying their food. I never would have thought about eating here, but your pictures and words are sending me that way!

  1. January 24, 2012 at 12:22 pm

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