Monday, April 29, 2013

The Italian Market

The Italian Market is located adjacent to Belmont Station, just off SE 45th and Stark in Portland, Oregon.

Co-owners Andrew and Erin moved to Portland from Philadelphia and originally planned to open a cart up in Fall 2012. Unfortunately, the individual who was supposed to build their cart took the money without completing the project. Thanks to a successful Kickstarter, Andrew and Erin were able to raise the money and get their dream going. They started doing soft opens around March 2013 near Belmont Station.

Cheesesteaks are noticeably (and intentionally) absent from on this Philly-inspired menu. The love here centers around braised pork, Italian brisket, meatballs, homemade pasta, handcrafted cheese, tomatoes, and eggplant. Oh, and a few Philly soft pretzels always helps.

All sandwiches here are served with Alessio Baking Company's Italian bread, a local baking company off SE 11th Ave. in Portland.

I started with the "Federal" ($8): Italian pork with sharp provolone and broccoli rabe. Each sandwich is constructed to order and placed in the toaster oven to warm up.

"Federal" (Italian pork sandwich)
The bread has that amazing firm outside and soft inside. The trip to the toaster oven made the bread crunchy and added to the comforting experience.

The pork was just outstanding. Wonderfully seasoned, with a good kick on the back end. Guessing red pepper flakes or some type of pepper powder. The broccoli rabe had a slight crunch while staying a vibrant green color.

I also saved room for a Philly Soft Pretzel ($2.25) with mustard on the side. A deceivingly filling snack, generously salted. I'm no expert on Philly soft pretzels, but I personally would like them a bit lighter and airier, with a crunchier outside. It's still a great pretzel overall.

Philly Soft Pretzel

I'd love to return for a few more sandwiches. The "Ellsworth" ($8.50) has Italian beef brisket, roasted tomatoes, sharp provolone, and horseradish mayo. The "Passyunk" ($8) includes baked eggplant, roasted peppers and fennel, homemade mozzarella, and pesto. Don't forget the "Uncle Mike's Meatball Sub" ($8) with homemade meatballs (beef-pork blend), topped with red gravy and sharp provolone.

The Tasker ($5.50) is a Panzanella salad with crusty bread, tomato, homemade mozzarella, fresh basil, onion, and cucumber. It's dressed with olive oil and balsamic.

The "Two Street" is Andrew and Erin's fresh handmade pasta with vegetarian red gravy. (usually available weekends). Add a couple of meatballs for $3.

Add pepperoncinis to your sandwich for 50 cents more.

Head down to The Italian Market and try their food! 8.25/10

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