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[PDX] Visiting Portland for NASCORE


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Hi Folks

I'm going to be in Portland for a long weekend. I'll be busy most of the time with coffee related stuff (NASCORE is one of the big national specialty coffee shows). But both I and my girlfriend are going to try and squeeze as much into the trip as possible.

Given this... I thought I would double check the restaurants we were planning on trying to hit and make sure there were no duds on the list, and we were not missing anything obvious. Please keep in mind that we don't intend to hit all of these!!

As general guidance... we both like pretty much all food, used to live in San Francisco, love wine, I used to be a chef and we now live somewhere without good food - so any trip is an opportunity to get some taste.

The list...

Wildwood

Tabla

Paley's Place

Park Kitchen

Caprial's

clarklewis

Hurley's

Bluehour

Cha Ba Thai

Sukhothai

Pho Van Bistro

Pambiche

Bewon

Noble Rot

Heathman

Thoughts?

Oh... if any of you see a short guy with a shaved head, small beard and some earrings looking over-caffinated at Stumptown - that's probably me.

-c

Edited by malachi (log)

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To help you along, let me take that list and break it down first by cost and second by quality tiers.

COST

------

It's difficult because some of these are small plate places. Figure about $20 for $$$, $15 for $$, and $10 at $ for entrees.

$$$

Wildwood

Paley's Place

Caprial's

Hurley's

Bluehour

$$

Tabla

Park Kitchen

clarklewis

Noble Rot

Heathman

$

Cha Ba Thai

Sukhothai

Pho Van Bistro

Pambiche

Bewon

QUALITY/CONSISTENCY

----------------------------

Trying to make some account of quality within a style/cuisine and my experiences with consistency to help you prioritize. Cross-referencing with the above may help show you what might be the best values, too. I've put the name of the cuisine next to them. btw, that's not to say any of these are bad. It looks like a list I would have made. But some are better/more consistent than others, imo. eg, I've had some great dishes at Sukhothai, but my meals at Cha Ba have been about as good and more consistent.

FIRST TIER IN CUISINE

Wildwood - PNW/New American

Paley's Place - PNW/New American/French

Hurley's - PNW/New American/French

Park Kitchen - PNW/New American

Tabla - PNW/New American

Cha Ba Thai - Thai

Pho Van Bistro - Vietnamese

Pambiche - Cuban

Bewon - Korean

SECOND TIER IN CUISINE

Caprial's - PNW/New American

Bluehour - PNW/New American

clarklewis - PNW/New American

Noble Rot - PNW/New American

Heathman - PNW/New American/French

Sukhothai - Thai

Edited by ExtraMSG (log)
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Hollis & I ate at Park Kitchen last night for dinner and it was GREAT. Just perfect really. We ordered 2 small plates and 1 large plate and two beers--- we shared everyting,our check was $50 and we were satiated and FULL. The service was excellent as was the ambience and food presentation. I highly reccomend this place if you are going with your wife---great dinner for two. Get there early to get on the wait list as we were there at 6PM (dinner begins at 5:30) and we waited for 45 minutes. Worth every minute, however.

Oh yeah--get the tempura battered green beans with tarragon aioli--delish! We also ordered the cold flank steak and bleu cheese salad which ruled...our entree was the grilled sablefish on potato risotto. I am still dreaming about it.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Thanks so much for the suggestions.

NASCORE was great, Portland is fantastic. We had a really good time.

Let's see... to report...

clarklewis - dinner, no reservation, two people, friday night. A very stylish room, excellent service. It has a really nice feel - very hip, but not pretentious. We had a bunch of different things, including Heirloom Tomatoes served simply with sea salt and Olive Oil, Mussels with Fennel and Chili, Tagliatelli with Pork Sugo, Potato Gnochi with Truffle and Suckling Pig. Each of the dishes was at the very least quite good - and some were truly excellent. Standouts were the mussels and the tagliatelli. The mussels were an excellent illustration of how one should treat topnotch ingredients. All aspects of the dish served to enhance and frame the flavours of the mussels. Wonderful. The tagliatelli was simply, homey and perfectly balanced. With the meal we had a wonderful (and affordable) Barbera. Service was professional and smooth. Overall - a great meal.

Paley's Place - dinner, reservation, two people, saturday night. A somewhat dated room, very good service. Again, we tried a bunch of things, but sadly this time I can only remember a few of them - and for the most part not for good reasons. There was a mussel dish that, were it not for the comparison with the clarklewis mussels, would have been very enjoyable. At an ingredient level, the mussels were equally excellent - but in this case, the prep served less to accent the quality of ingredient than to create something one would serve with less high quality mussels. There was a Beet Salad which featured one tiny quarter beet and a huge chunk of bacon on the side of the plate (odd and unbalanced), a risotto that had obviously been reheated, and steak that seemed like it had been cooked while still cold. Overall, this was not a good meal. Not only was the execution off on most of the dishes, there was a feeling of complacency... a feeling of self-satisfaction, like a restaurant resting on its laurels. And, of course, it didn't help that the meal actually cost more than the one at clarklewis.

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Also...

Mothers - breakfast once, lunch once. Really very good comfort food. Enjoyable. Nothing fancy, just tasty. Perfect for the situation. Sadly, incredibly busy - but probably worth the wait.

Stumptown, downtown - coffee three times, beers once. Awesome. One of the best coffee bars in the US. A gorgeous space, great coffee and a really good selection of niche beers (La Chouffe on tap!!!). If this were local to me, I'd think I'd died and gone to heaven.

Stumptown, Belmont - coffee once. A nice, cozy, bustling neighborhood coffee bar. Great coffee, fun place.

Portland is a really good place.

I liked it. A lot.

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Sounds awesome--we went to clarklewis last Saturday night and did the $30 prix fixe/chef's choice thing and all four of us got 4 separate 4 course meals!!! The desserts were on a couple of our friends who work there, which was fantastic as we told my parents we were getting married over desserts.

Everything was phenomenal. The service smooth and unobstrusive. I am spacing out right now on everything we had, but one of the dishes was the tagliatelli with pork sugo mentioned before. I know I had a delicious filet of halibut with a porcini mushroom sauce. I wish I could recall every detail, but my mind was blown at the whole experience. We had two servers and they would swoop in, describing each dish in detail as we had no idea what we was going to come next. I throughly reccommend the chef's choice option when you go to clarklewis...then you can pass your plates and get a taste of the entire menu...or maybe even a dish not on the menu!

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