At the corner of carbs and gluten-free, sits one of the cozier Room establishments: The Corner Room Italian Kitchen & Bar. Approaching its 10th anniversary, it was high time for The Corner Room to be crossed off the Page One Friday Lunch list. We graciously thank our resident comedian, Mike, for securing our 15 person reservation. Please note that given the smaller size of the restaurant, if your entourage is as large as ours, you’ll be seated at adjacent tables. As we’re seasoned professionals at bar and restaurant takeovers, this was no problem for our team.
Anyone at Page One could tell you, I love eating out. I can only think of a few restaurants I haven’t tried yet, but mostly because they’re recent additions to the Portland food scene. While I’ve had the pleasure of enjoying food at the Grill Room, Front Room, and Boones, but The Corner Room had eluded me thus far. I have to say, I now have a top choice for Italian in Portland.
While the inside temperature was a little on the warm side, I believe the restaurant was surprised by the temporary influx of summer weather. The warm temperatures certainly added to the enjoyment of our cool beverages. We’ve all been guilty of giving up on air conditioning too early! This would be our only complaint for the day.
Page One’s appetizer ordering is always a top priority. For this round, we deemed the arancini (deep fried mushroom risotto balls with fontina cheese) and the calamari to be the winners. I also ordered a cheese plate for the table, but we were at odds with whether one cheese was brie or camembert. We suggest ordering it and letting us know your cheesy opinion.
Our entrees were nothing short of magnificent. Handmade pasta was so good, you’d swear you were in Venice. My simple fettuccine bolognese was incredible. Some of us were worried about the pasta naps that might follow a heavy Italian lunch, but the portions were sensible. As mentioned earlier, there are gluten-free options available for a nominal fee. That was great for our gluten-free staff (well, half of them. Becky, next time!). Mike managed to deal with the heat and warm beverages because it meant a decadent gluten-free experience. Jeremy is usually one to seek out calamari when possible, which he enjoyed. The Corner Room calamari featured some thinly sliced lemon which set this dish apart from many other Portland establishments.
Several of us noted the attentive staff; this is not always the case with our large lunch parties. Both of our servers were at the ready with drinks, refills (refills are VERY important for Page One), and bread. Our newest team member, Darrel, noted a need for additional silverware. He seconded the deliciousness of the calamari and appreciated the overall service level. The staff might have been a little too attentive, as Chrystine’s pasta was prematurely taken away. Luckily the waiter did not lose an arm in the attempted pasta theft.
Perhaps the best review came from our resident bard and Renaissance man, Chris, whose review is best summed up in his chosen artform: stock art.
We’ll be back, Corner Room!