Location: 6238 SW Capitol Highway, Hillsdale Food Park
You know how when you plan something, you have all intentions of sticking with a schedule and finishing on time and all that jazz? Then someone or something throws a monkey wrench at ya. Well, that is what has been happening with the new Violetta restaurant at Director Park. Over the last year, they have had their share of stumbling blocks including a kitchen explosion and fire that has delayed their opening until spring. So, what does one do? Turn lemons into lemonade. The owners of Violetta decided to take the restaurant to the streets and open the Rollin’ Etta, a food truck serving gourmet hamburgers, franks, fries and salads. The truck made its debut this week. Shiny.
When I first heard of the Rollin’ Etta a few weeks ago from a press release, I got a little excited. Gourmet hamburgers in a food truck? I’m a huge hamburger fan and have had the pleasure of tasting some of the best in the city, both at carts and at restaurants. Some are inexpensive but perfect gems. Others are rather expensive and again…perfect gems. They run the gamut. Hamburgers are something that can easily be screwed up though, so just by stating you offer gourmet hamburgers doesn’t mean they actually are. For Violetta though, I have to say they hit a home run.
The Violetta Hamburger comes in two sizes- 1/3 or 1/2lb. Since I’m a glutton sometimes, I naturally order the bigger size in order to get the full meal deal. Made with grass-fed beef from Nicky Farms or pasture raised beef from Highland Oak farms, the burger comes with lettuce, onions, roasted tomatoes and super dills along with their secret Violetta burger sauce. After I ordered my burger, I realized I wasn’t asked how I wanted it prepared. I’m a medium rare leaning towards rare type of burger eater. Since it was a food truck, I didn’t let that concern me as I felt it may be a bit pretentious to make such requests. When I took that first bite, I realized they must have been reading my mind as it was the perfect medium rare that I simply love.
The Violetta Hamburger is a work of art. The patty appears hand made and, as stated, cooked to a perfect medium rare. That magical pink in the middle is where all the tasty juices are. I ordered my burger with white cheddar, which was ideal as it had a dryness to it that mixed perfectly with the juicy tomato, the bun and the burger. I can’t say this enough – a burger work of art. I had to force myself to eat slowly and enjoy every bite and chew and take it all in.
Violetta is the handywork of ex-Lucier chef Jeremy Niehuss and owned by Dwayne Beliakoff who most recently had ROUX in North Portland, but closed that in late 2009. Violetta, the restaurant, will be a great edition to downtown and that area specifically with the open park and outdoor seating. One thing of note – the Rollin’ Etta’s prices are higher than that of a traditional food cart or truck by about 25%. While I enjoyed a wonderful hamburger, it begs the question if a food truck, albeit one associated with a upper scale restaurant and serving a gourmet product, can succeed serving $7-$11 hamburgers in this economy. Time will tell. Hopefully, they can get beyond the hurdles they have faced with the construction and actually get the restaurant open. In the mean time, if you have a burger craving or maybe just need some Oregonzola fries, head on down to the truck and tell them Food Carts Portland sent ya.
[Violetta has moved to the Hillsdale Food Park in SW Portland as of 10/2012]
Burger options: 1/3 lb burgers come from grass fed beef from Nicky Farms; 1/2 lb burgers come from Highland Oaks farms; Natural Turkey burgers; Spicy Lentil vegetarian burgers
- Violetta Burger – Violetta burger sauce, lettuce, onions, roasted tomatoes, super dills – 1/3lb – $7.00; 1/2lb – $9
- Violetta Burger with white cheddar – 1/3lb – $7.50; 1/2lb – $9.50
- Violetta Burger with smoked bacon and white cheddar – 1/3lb – $8; 1/2lb $10
- Oregon Blue Burger – Rogue Creamery Oregonzola, bacon, caramelized onion on a hazelnut bun – 1/3lb – $9; 1/2lb – $11
All franks are 1/4lb Oregon Country natural beef franks
- Dress your own Frank – house kraut, harissa ketchup, super dill relish and sweet onions – $5
- Highland Oak farm beef chili Frank – white cheddar and caramelized onions – $6.50
- Hand dipped Corndog – $4
- Hand cut yukon gold fries – small $3; large $4.50
- Hand cut sweet potato fries – small $3.50; large $5
- Oregonzola fries – large order of yukon fries with sea salt, pepper and Rogue Creamery Oregonzola sauce – $6.50
- White Truffle fries – sea salt, pepper and Oregon white truffle oil – $7
- Salads and soups available as well