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Fearless Critic restaurant review
Portland
Food
Feel
Price
7.2
8.0
$50
Italian, Modern, Pizza
Upmarket restaurant

Hours
Wed–Thu 4:30pm–10:00pm
Fri–Sat 4:30pm–11:00pm
Sun 10:00am–2:00pm
Sun 5:00pm–9:00pm

Features Kid-friendly, outdoor dining, Wi-Fi
Bar Beer, wine, liquor
Credit cards Visa, MC, AmEx
Reservations Accepted

www.decarlirestaurant.com

Beaverton
4545 SW Watson Ave.
Beaverton, OR
(503) 641-3223
Decarli
Good Italian-influenced Northwest food and some killer polenta fries for the Beaver set

Decarli comes on strong with lower-case fonts and Pacific-Northwest-fusion recipes, looking appropriately Beaver-trendy. There’s the ever-popular big, open kitchen where you can watch everything being made. There’s a hopping yuppie solo-and-couples scene at the bar. But it’s also kind of that Place for Ladies Who Drink Wine By The Glass. The vibe works when it’s crowded, but when it’s empty, it’s a little forceful and depressing. It can come across as a bit jarring in the otherwise humble downtown Beaverton.

Despite not having a serious pizza oven, Decarli executes well on pizzette, which have a thin crust and a nice sear. The sauce has the sweet depth that suggests high-end Italian tomatoes. A potato-and-rosemary version is also quite nice, with strong, nutty-stinky taleggio that gives it a distinctly grown-up flavor. People buzz, too, about polenta fries with Gorgonzola butter, and rightfully so. The melted butter is not overwhelmed by pungent cheese, and the fries are fried beautifully, with a nice creamy texture within. Meats like a Carlton Farm pork chop are sometimes overcooked but sauces are usually interesting and paired well. Homemade pastas are competent, sometimes good, sometimes very good.

Happy hour specials are a great deal—two can share a pizzetta for $7. Things don’t fill up until after happy hour ends, though, and like we said, this space feels odd when empty. Service is irregular: at its best, it’s intrusive and comically efficient; at its worst, you might go half an hour without seeing your server or your drinks, whether the restaurant is busy or not.

The wine list isn’t bad, but it’s heavy on the New World wines, though there’s a decent representation of some of the more prosaic Italians. There are a few decent local craft beers, as well. Cocktails are well made by a serious bartender, and there are more than enough sweet creations, if that’s your thing. If you like a lot of spice, try the “Hot and Dirty,” a worthy chili-infused vodka martini. Really chili-infused.

For upscale, fusiony food, this is Beaverton’s best option; but for the price, we’d rather drive into Portland. Or stay right here and grab some great Korean for much less.

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