Portland, OR (Part II: Fine(r) Dining)
Following up on Monday’s post on casual Portland eateries, below is a rundown of our two “fine dining” meals. Of course, in the Pacific Northwest where formal often means you wear your “good” North Face jacket and I’m told “at least one uncle will wear shorts to your wedding” this term has a slightly different meaning. But while Pac Northwesterners may not take what they wear to these restaurants as seriously as we do, their laid back attitude certainly does not carry over to the food.
Andina (1314 NW Gilsan St. Portland, OR)
Ask any Portlander where to eat while your in town and the name Andina is likely to come up. It’s a big, vibrant place with live music and colorful decor – the kind of place you’d associate with South America. While these are normally the tell-tale signs of a disappointing evening food-wise, such was not the case with Andina. The “novo-peruvian” cuisine was quite innovative and tasty and was complimented by an impressive artisanal cocktail list. The tapas menu is large (~20) and diverse (although heavy on seafood, as you might excpet from Peru), allowing you to easily make your entire meal off of it, as we did.
LePigeon was our splurge meal of Portland and we chose it based on Chef Gabriel Rucker’s winning the 2011 JBF award for “Rising Chef.” It’s a small, casual, old industrial space like you may expect to find dining in Williamsburg, complete ith a tiny open kitchen parked nearly dead center. Our waitress was friendly and helped walk us through the local-ingredient driven menu which changes weekly. The dishes included many playful takes on classics such as the “Summer Thanksgiving” (the chef’s version of a turducken) and our chicken came with a “pasta” made of leeks. The ingredients were generally approachable and nothing seemed too weird to offer up to my Dad, yet every dish (save perhaps the burger) held enough intrigue I would have been happy to try it. There are tasting menus available as well, but at $65 for five courses (chosen off the regular menu), we decided we could build our own for less.
Although the menu will likely be different when you go, the house special Foie Gras Profiteroles dessert seems like it sticks around and is a must order. And if you do happen across the Chicken w/ leek carbonara or Deviled Crab , you won’t be disappointed.