Oregon is home to a lot of restaurants, bars, wineries, and breweries, but there are tons of hidden gems that the majority of Portlanders aren't unearthing. To help guide us to these potential discoveries, we've enlisted some of our city's many food players to share their recommendations for a weekly feature dubbed Dining Confidential.
Sean McMenamin started working in the family business as a teenager taking care of odd jobs — weeding blackberry vines and cleaning kegs at Edgefield. Eventually, he started bartending, serving, and managing kitchens, and while traveling abroad, and it was his time as a bartender in New Zealand at a casual Italian fine dining (and local favorite) restaurant Scopa that he developed a taste for wine. Back in Oregon, he started managing the Black Rabbit Restaurant and writing the wine list, and now works closely with chef Kenny Giambalvo as the food and beverage manager at Edgefield — that is, when he isn't throwing back a glass of vino at one of his favorite Sellwood haunts.
As one of the great neighborhood spots, Gino's in Sellwood is totally nondescript from the outside with the old Leipzig Tavern sign, and inside has a gorgeous back bar with an old world feel. The Caesar Salad is powerful enough to wake you in the middle of the night. The Vongole dish with Puttanesca sauce added is perfect for their grilled bread. The tiramisu is classic. With all that being said, the true beauty of Gino's is the wine list. It has pages and pages of old Barolo and Brunello di Montalcino with unbeatable pricing. If you like Chateauneuf du Pape, you should order a bottle of 2001 Clos des Papes. There are not many left in the world. Cheers!
Photo of Gino's courtesy Marisol J. via Foursquare