Saturday, August 6, 2011

Built to Grill

(UPDATE 12/3/13: Built to Grill has MOVED into the Star Theater at 13 NW 6th Avenue in PDX!)

Built to Grill is a food cart located in SW Portland, near SW 3rd Ave. and SW Washington. The name is deceiving...they don't grill items. Instead, they serve various pastas and sandwiches.

Pasta menu (July 2011)
I hadn't had pasta in a while, so I thought I'd give this place a try, seeing all the extremely positive reviews on Yelp. After a bit of deliberation, I went for the Linguine and Clams ($7.50). Chopped sea clams, shallots, garlic, fresh parsley, fresh basil, chili flakes are combined with white wine and tossed with cooked linguine, then placed in a Go Box container. I also had my pasta topped with some freshly shaved Parmesan cheese.

Linguine and Clams w/Parmesan cheese
I must say, Built to Grill made an absolutely delicious dish here. The shaved Parmesan cheese melted in the hot pasta, creating that stringy awesomeness. The cheese also gave a bit more saltiness to the dish -- and I feel it was needed here to add more flavor depth. The people at Built to Grill showed their marvelous touch with the heat, as the chili flakes brought the ideal little kick to the party. The parsley, basil, garlic, and shallots all brought lovely aromatics to the dish. The garlic was not overpowering, no post-meal bad breath! Everything worked here to make a pleasing, mouth-watering sauce for the linguine.

However, there are a few criticisms. Basically, I would have preferred more bold flavors overall. I'm certain canned clams were used here, as a note (it's all about saving food costs in a food cart), so it's really not going to be the best linguine and clam dish ever. Maybe just a tad more basil and parsley would have been nice. Also, the pasta was just a tad overcooked. I do like my pasta with just a bit of bite (al dente). It might have been perfect coming out of the water, but when combined with the clams and other ingredients, it continues to cook that linguine.

Yes, the food could have been better, but I must reiterate that the meal was very enjoyable. For $7.50, it was a nice, filling portion. Good flavors and nice service all around. Big thumbs up from me! 8/10

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