OK. Friday Oct. 30, 2009 turned out to be a sad day for me. Castagna Restaurant has been my personal favorite Portland restaurant for years. I've eaten there easily 20 times. On Friday, I experienced the new menu for the first time, and it was not a good experience. I never would have imagined myself saying this, but it is possible I have eaten my last meal there. I ordered off the menu, rather than the chef's tasting menu, and it is possible that I ordered poorly (crab salad, agnolotti, lamb) but the food just was not that good. I enjoyed the simplicity and great flavors of the old menu. They still use great ingredients, but not to the same effect. The concept is to order several smaller plates (generally priced between $14-20). The crab salad was pretty, but literally 3-4 bites and the lemon flavor was overwhelming. You could always count on the agnalotti on the old menu, but the new version is miniaturized and missing everything that made the old version so great. The lamb was an interesting dish, and the dessert was the best part of the meal and saved this from a 1-star review. I fear the Oregonian review will be the death of the restaurant.
Pros: Same great service, same great minimal decor
Cons: The food