Let it B

By Sylvan Goldberg May 19, 2009 Published in the March 2006 issue of Portland Monthly

Kenny Giambalvo may have made his name at Bluehour, but the recent opening of Balvo gives him marquee billing. After helping restaurateur Bruce Carey kick-start the Pearl’s dining scene as executive chef at the Mediterranean-influenced Bluehour, he yearned for a venue where he could return to the flavors of his Italian family’s kitchen. Now he has it.

"Balvo’s a little more soulful than Bluehour," Giambalvo says. "It’s the food that I grew up with," which means rigatoni in Nana Giambalvo’s meat sauce, creamy salt cod with grilled polenta and pappardelle with duck ragù.

In other words, it’s a place where patrons can just be. Make that B: The centerpiece of an aggressive branding campaign, a signature "b" in the middle of an orange globe (kind of like Circle K) is ubiquitous at the restaurant. Though it’s only coincidence that Bluehour and Balvo have similar logos, Giambalvo sees the two destinations as a foretaste of feasts to come from Bruce Carey Restaurants.

With the Pearl conquered, NW 23rd Ave besieged and rumors flying of a new Carey outpost on SW Stark St, it seems only a matter of time before every neighborhood will have its own circle B.