Portobello’s on George O’Neal Road sets the stage with a well-lit and landscaped exterior, and it only gets better once inside.
Our server was very knowledgeable about the menu. We found her suggestions to be spot on. When we couldn’t decide between two wines, she offered tastings of both. She also pushed a local craft beer, the Kingfish Ale from Chafunkta Brewing Company, saying if we didn’t like it she’d pay for it, but that wasn’t necessary — it was great.
We started our meal with the overstuffed mushrooms ($9.49). Stuffed with a fresh spinach and artichoke dressing then battered and fried, the mushrooms have a crunchy outside, yet the other ingredients’ flavors come through so that you’re not left with a bite that’s all batter.
The four mushrooms sat in bacon infused cream sauce that was so good we were tempted to take up our server’s offer of bread to sop up the remaining sauce.
We refrained and regretted it later.
For our entrées, we tried three dishes and enjoyed them all.
The eggplant stack ($15.99) had more of that scrumptious bacon cream Alfredo sauce with sauteed crawfish and spinach over spaghetti. The dish was topped with a stack of thinly cut parmigiana-coated eggplant, that wasn’t greasy but was crispy.
The stuffed redfish ($19.99) was filled with a mild crabmeat dressing then topped with a wonderful light lemon cream sauce. While this was delicious, we wished only that it had been served piping hot as the other entrées were.
The redfish came with two sides, a yummy pasta oglio olio (spaghetti tossed with olive oil, garlic and basil) and the vegetable of the day which was sautéed chopped yellow squash and zucchini.
We also tried and loved the marinated beef tips ($18.99). The tender steak tasted like red wine was its main marinade, and the bites were served with caramelized onions.
This came with two sides. The creamy, cheesy spinach was delicious, but we had split opinions on the roasted corn grit cakes. One of us felt the two large slices of fried grits were too greasy and felt the texture was too mushy inside.
For dessert, we shared the brownie sundae ($6.99) and Tiramisu ($6.99). The latter was our favorite.
The brownie sundae was topped with vanilla ice cream and whipped cream with caramel and chocolate sauce swirled on top. We appreciated that the brownie was served warm, but thought it was a little too dry. The light coffee-flavored tiramisu with its dusting of cocoa really satisfied that after-dinner craving for something sweet.
Even though we sat in the bar area to watch the game while we ate, the ambiance was subdued with the smooth sounds of Sinatra and the like playing. All the details — from the brick walls to the dark furniture — gave off a sophisticated yet casual feel.