#ThursdayToursPDX {Specialty Dining Experiences}

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Though I have enjoyed many delicious and memorable meals in Portland I have not done a great job at exploring the specialty dining experiences. When I do treat myself to a multi-course meal it is usually because Olivia is involved. 

Coming from the Bay, and having worked in food PR, Olivia has phenomenal taste. She appreciates unique ingredients, is pro-carbs and always supports ordering more. Olivia and her fiance, Nick, have been to so many amazing dinners they have a framed collage of the menus from the most memorable experiences. I truly admire that this is such a fun and noteworthy element of their partnership.

We've never met a special event we didn't like.

And head over to Bakery Bingo to find out Pech's recommendations.

Brunch: It’s been 2 years, but they still start brunch with a Clafoutis (a French dessert with fruit) with maple-glazed bacon. You should go just for this dish alone. Everything else on their menu changes often with the season.

Dinner: To celebrate a momentous anniversary, Beast served up a delightful fall menu last October. Some favorites included celeriac veloute with black garlic and sunchokes, a choucroute garnie with pork coppa confit and weisswurst and a magical charcuterie board with foie gras bon-bons, veal loin carpaccio, and beef tongue pastrami.

Dining at Beast occurs at two communal tables so be prepared to get to know your neighbor. You could do beverage pairings for both brunch and dinner, but we always opted to just ordered what we felt like drinking from their great beer and wine list, and have no regrets.

This was the first pre-fixe dinner experience we had in Portland. At the time, it was the hottest ticket in town, so I set a reminder to reserve seats the minute reservations opened up, and I remember that moment distinctly because at that same time the dog REALLY needed to go outside, but I REALLY needed those reservations. Long story short, we got the reservation and the dog peed all over the carpet. Was it worth it? TOTALLY.

This was in early March, and spot prawns were in seasons and featured in several dishes as were peas, ramps and black garlic. The drink pairings were excellent, and included in the price (listed below) and each dinner still ends with a cornbread madeleine with lardo, devine!

Reservations are not quite as hard to come by now that they have their own brick and mortar. Dinner Thursday nights is a 6 course menu with 3 paired beverages for $65. Friday through Sunday dinner is a 9 course menu with 5 paired beverages for $90.

Saved for a special occasion, Castagna was a luxurious and indulgent dining experience. Justin Woodward’s ever-changing menu consists of snacks (aka some of the prettiest bites of food you’ll ever see) between 6-10 small plates, followed by three or more desserts. At $155, it’s the most expensive chef’s tasting menu in town (I think!), but worth every dime.

Some of the September menu items were: Dungeness crab, toasted crab emulsion, brioche and tomato. Duck, anise hyssop, duck liver, boudin. Potato, buttermilk, meringue.

Be prepared for at least a 2-hour affair when dining here, but spread out over so much time you aren’t going to leave feeling uncomfortably stuffed. I would go again for another special occasion, but first I need to save up a few more ducats.

On the eve of their move from ninja location on Hawthorne, we ate a wonderful meal at Nodoguro. It was December, the theme was The Nightmare Before Christmas, and Ryan Roadhouse helped end 2015 on many high notes, including oysters buried in horseradish, burdock nanban and the best sea bass I’ve ever had.

Ah, Tanuki. You are so unique,, but eaters should be aware of what they’re getting themselves into. Come here for a great omakase experience where you can choose a price (all very reasonable for the amount of food given) and a crazy selection of craft sake and Japanese whisky. Squid jerky, kimchi buns and caramel popcorn and are likely suspects on the menu of 10+ dishes served.

However, do not come here if you are a squeamish person. Tanuki is always playing cult Korean and Japanese films that are often graphic/violent/porn-ish in nature. I had the unfortunate experience of being there while a particularly grotesque movie was on (I’m talkin’ poop, people!) and I think that influenced my memory of the experience to be somewhat negative. This is probably one of the most unique restaurants in Portland, but make sure you have the stomach to eat here.

All food photos courtesy O. Flynn

#ThursdayToursPDX is a collaborative series between Portland, OR bloggers {Erin} Bakery Bingo + {Meredith} Martha Chartreuse. In a city filled with amazing restaurants, artisan experiences, and fantastic tastemakers the inside scoop is a must. We will be asking our friends and fellow bloggers for their recommendations and tips for all the City of Roses has to offer.

1 comment:

  1. Super cute pic of the two of you!! I've yet to go to Tanuki or Beast, thanks for putting them back on my radar!