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Bend a distinctive way to dine, and Bend embraced it. Very much the auteur, Juri’s cooking philosophy is to focus on

making things that he wants to eat. And fortunately for us, Juri eats well. Inspired by family meals around the table in his child- hood home of Florence and, particularly, his grandmother’s hearty Tuscan cooking, we get simple, bold fl avors and fresh, hand-crafted plates that demand to be savored rather than analyzed. “Making the food is like sharing my own memories,” Juri says. “When you eat a meatball, I see a different layer—re- membering my family—and I love giving people the oppor- tunity to feel that.” While there is now an a la

carte dinner menu Tuesday through Friday, prix-fi xe is still the fare on Saturdays and for special wine dinners. The menu changes week to week, but a meal might begin with an antipasto like Fiori di Zuc- ca Fritta, lightly battered fl ash- fried zucchini fl owers stuffed with fresh ricotta, or Insalata al Petto d’Anatra, orange peel and cherrywood smoked duck breast over maché greens drizzled with 20-year-aged balsam- ic. For the primo, or fi rst course, handmade ravioli stuffed with purple heirloom potatoes may be in the lineup or fl uffy gnoc- chi with fresh porcini mushrooms, aged pecorino and white truffl e oil. Secondi are often robust meat dishes that defy even the biggest appetites. A recent offering, beef ossobuco on a pool of creamy polenta dripping with savory marrow at the center, resulted in a palpable sadness among many diners at the prospect of leaving even a scrap of the massive portion behind. Well-chosen Italian wines are paired with each course, and desserts are simple, traditional and delicious. The tiramisu, Juri’s grandmother’s recipe, is an understated triumph. If you’re the type of diner (and you know who you are) who

might request gluten-free bruschetta or vegan pork chops, this may not be the outing for you. But I highly recommend taking

a leap of faith and giving over control if you can stand to. It’s worth it. If not, the a la carte menu is equally impressive and a bit

“Making the food is like sharing my own memories,” Juri says. “When you eat a meatball, I see a different layer—remembering my family—and I love giving people the opportunity

to feel that.”

more fl exible with many daily specials. Pastas are all freshly made in-house and antipasti, salads, soups and sauces are conceived around top quality local meats and produce and the very best imported Italian cheeses, olive oil and cold cuts. Entrees also impress. A recent rib special, subtly seasoned so you could really taste the fl avor of the meat and slow-roasted for fi ve hours, was done to perfection, although I felt like I was cheating on my beloved Polpette, a signature dish of meatballs smothered in red sauce and melted mozzarella served with sautéed spinach. Juri’s personal favorite is the porchetta, a giant slab of roast- ed pork midsection that he describes lovingly as “kind of ugly and a little fat, but it tastes

good and feels like home.” Even on a la carte nights, meals feel leisurely and decadent.

“We don’t try to turn over tables,” says Kinley. “We want diners to feel like the table is theirs for the night.” While the kitchen and a measure of showmanship is very much Juri’s charge, a staff of consummate professionals, some of whom have been there since the doors opened, handle the front of the house. Or, Kinley herself may greet you, often with baby Ugo in hand, making everyone feel like an honored guest or, for the many regulars, a member of the family. I suppose if you think about it, with Tuscan food of unrivaled

caliber and authenticity in our area, a combination of respect for traditional fl avors and a dedication to experimentation and Juri’s singular culinary point-of-view, along with the Sbandatis genuine joy in sharing the experience with us, maybe it’s not so unlikely that Trattoria Sbandati ever happened, and more, that it was meant to be.

Trattoria Sbandati 1444 NW College Way 541-306-6825

Tuesday–Friday, dinner; Saturday, prix fi xe only

Lars Johnson South Bend Bistro Kanpai’s Tsunami Roll

When my wife and I moved to the Sun- river area in 2004 from Chicago, I was surprised to fi nd a great sushi place in the Sunriver Mall called Sushimotos. Unfortunately, Sushimotos closed in 2005. However, shortly thereaſt er we were pleased to discover Kanpai on Bend’s westside. My favorite dish at Kanpai would have to be the Tsunami Roll. I like the warm crunch of the tem- pura shrimp on the inside, and the cool delicious kick of the spicy tuna on top. T e crispiness of the cucumber with the soſt avocado is an added treat. T e whole roll comes together nicely and each ingredient compliments the other.

Chef’s Pick


Fine regional and international wines at discount prices. Free tastings daily.

Conveniently located between the Old Mill District and Downtown Bend at: 550 W Industrial Way, #102 541-388-5332 the Source Weekly Dining guiDe 2011 5




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