Vinland chef’s “casual and affordable” wine bar opens in August



David Levi in RossoBianco last week

What’s red and white, and Northern Italian all over? RossoBianco, the new restaurant by locavore lad David Levi. Opening in August on Bramhall Square, a short walk from his hyper-local Vinland, the Portland chef focuses on primi and secondi offerings from Venice and beyond for his second act.

“I seek to feature the best possible ingredients, both local and Italian,” said Levi, who opened Vinland in 2013 with a manifesto of 19 principles that food should nourish, delight and taste good.

Whereas his Congress Square temple of health got a reputation as a special occasion spot (a perception Levi tries to shake) RossoBianco intends to be a neighborhood hang. “It’s closely related, but slightly less stringent than Vinland,” said Levi. “This will be an easy place to pop in for wine and a meal, or whatever, whenever. It’s a casual place with a lower price point.”

Located next to co-work space Peloton Labs and a bean’s toss from Tandem Coffee and Bakery, RossoBianco adds pizzazz to this gentrifying section of Congress Street. A short-lived coffee shop and ethnic market were housed here last and years before the space was home to Mr. Sandwich and Mrs. Muffin.

FullSizeRender (5)

RossoBianco opens here soon

A sample menu shared with Urban Eye includes starters such as fried risotto balls with porcini ($5), asparagus, egg, reggiano antipasto ($8) and saffron risotto with marrow ($16). More substantial meals like beef liver and caramelized onions on polenta ($22) and buckwheat pasta, chicken bone broth and chanterelles ($16) will pair with natural wines from Northern Italy.

The snug 45 seater with a rustic interior made of reclaimed wood, will be open for lunch, dinner and brunch. Colleen Callahan, wine buyer at Aurora Provisions is the general manager. A chef de cuisine has yet to be named.

Levi, who will still cook at Vinland, said his new chef will produce Northern Italian cuisine, which calls for less olive oil, pasta and tomato sauce and more butter, risotto, polenta and cheese. 

“Our emphasis will be on fresh vegetables, things like radicchio, beets and artichokes,” said Levi, a New Yorker whose father’s family hails from Venice. “This is wonderful, delicious food that we are introducing to Portland,” said Levi, as work crews milled about. “The heat is on to open.”

RossoBianco, 3 Deering Ave, Portland.

Kathleen Pierce

About Kathleen Pierce

A lifelong journalist with a deep curiosity for what's next. Interested in food, culture, trends and the thrill of a good scoop. BDN features reporter based in Portland since 2013.