“The Killingsworth Renaissance may not yet have covered the five blocks from its Northeast 33rd epicenter, but Grolla forges ahead with an inviting, easygoing take on Bistro Baroque. Owners Chris and Angela Lachmann have turned an underachieving wine bar into a cozy, not-so-secret hideaway for lovers of its Mediterranean-accented Northwest cuisine (and for just plain lovers). Rich flavors pervade the menu, from the red pepper-Gorgonzola polenta supporting the seared-scallop appetizer to the deliciously inky cabernet risotto undergirding the balsamic-marinated beef. The neighborhood is still catching up, but this place can hold its own.
Signature: Most prix fixe offerings are only as flexible as the chef’s whim, but Grolla’s “tasting menu” begins with a tableside interview with the chef, who creates a five-course feast ($50 per person, $70 with wine flight) based on your preferences and the day’s harvest in the restaurant’s gardens.
Standout: When Chris Lachmann’s in the groove, the hospitality instinct of his Lebanese side shows through with a hearty welcome that fills the room. If you’re lucky, he’ll offer you a rosewater-marinated walnut, a secret specialty of the house.