Updated: Bresca is no longer serving in Portland. You can now find chef Krista Desjarlais and her amazing fare at Bresca and The Honey Bee at Outlet Beach on Sabbathday Lake.
There’s something so Portland about eating a meal prepared by a James Beard finalist for lunch, but ever since owner and chef Krista Kern Desjarlais announced that Bresca would cut back on its dinner service in favor of providing lunches on Wednesdays-Saturdays, Meredith and I had heard too many great things about the new lunch menu to ignore. So this week when we found a short break between working and caring for the foster pup, we decided to give it a try for ourselves. We definitely weren’t disappointed.
True to Map & Menu form, Meredith and I arrived early and were excited to see that we were the only ones in the cozy dining room at that point, giving Meredith plenty of freedom to grab some pictures of the space. We settled into a seat by the window and began the difficult task of narrowing down a selection from a menu where every last item sounded like a winner. After quite a bit of deliberation, Meredith ordered the butternut squash soup with maple popcorn, and off of a recipe we’ve been making from our A New Turn in the South cookbook, we shared the shaved brussel sprouts with toasted walnuts, parm pecorino, and olive oil. I ordered the 6-minute egg with carrot, cauliflower, braised greens, charred onion, agrodolce, and white anchovies. Meredith raved about the texture and contrasting flavor that the popcorn added to her soup and managed to eat all of it before I had the chance to try it out for myself. The shaved brussel sprouts were pleasantly sweet, but my meal was simply the best. It’s a culinary fact that adding a runny egg to any dish will make it taste 100% better, and crushing the 6-minute egg, allowing the yolk to mix with the agrodolce and then having it all get soaked up by the vegetables and crostini only reinforces this fact.
For dessert we ordered what any intelligent Bresca fan would – the buttermilk panna cotta with tropical fruit, passion fruit broth, orange blossom, and white pepper sorbet. This is a staple from Bresca’s dinner menu and is quite possibly the best panna cotta in all of Portland. Meredith and I split the deliciously flavorful dessert and fought over every last bite – maybe next time we’ll just order our own.
Considering that each item was between $9-12, the lunch at Bresca has to be one of the better deals in town. If you’re looking for a fantastic meal, without the breathtaking bill, we highly recommend Bresca’s lunch and can’t wait to return.