Beast - PDX
Indeed, I ate at Beast for dinner in September. It was pretty damn great. I didn't have any complaints for any of the five courses. We did the wine pairings with our meals and they were fantastic, though dangerous: 5 glasses of 4 oz. pours made little-old-me quite tipsy (I think they claim they're 3 oz., but they hook you up). The concept of the restaurant makes it even more of a hit: the fact that they are able to switch up their recipes and ingredients weekly and still make solidly exquisite food is impressive.
I hope, though, that they never get rid of the foie gras bon bon, because that was phenomenal.
Hope you enjoy it/have enjoyed it...
We ate there in November on a business trip with two other couples and all of us agreed it was good but not great and yes it appears to be over-hyped. This is my review of it from Yelp (they use a 1-5 star scale).
I've been hesitant to write this review because of all the glowing accolades that surround Beast.
Other yelpers have opined:
"Beast ranks as one of the best meals I have ever had in my life"
"A perfect dining experience."
"One of the best places in the USA"
"Seriously . . . the best meal I've had in Portland hands down. Possibly the best meal I've ever had in my entire life."
So my question is did we go on a off night? Or was I expecting too much?
Beast was good but not superlative, it had several shortcomings, not only in my eyes but also in the eyes of my dining companions.
First of all the place is small and it gets loud, the creaky chairs are not very comfortable and the open kitchen is passé, however the service is very good, but there is not much service acumen that one needs to pour drinks and deliver prix fix plates.
We all decided to go for the 6 course meal with the wine pairings, the price is reasonable but the portions are small.
We started off with a broccoli soup with pork cracklings and that was paired with a
Grüner Veltliner, a grape that is grown Wachau district just west of Wein in Austria where I spent many summers during my youth. The soup was rich and good but the pork cracklings overpowered the flavor of the soup and did not pair well with the wine. (3 Stars)
We had the charcuterie plate, which enough people have raved about as was probably the highlight of the evening. (5 stars)
And then onto the entrée of hanger steak, it was good but nothing out of this world, it was paired with a potato and squash gratin with a French blue cheese, again the blue cheese seemed to overpower the gratin and the salsa verde they served with it didn't seem to belong at all on the plate. All of this was paired with a medoc that was good, but I would have gone with a bigger wine to compliment the flavors of the food and the steak. A little more tannin would have gone a long way to cut through the fat and enhance this dish. (3.5 stars)
The salad was good but when we asked if one could be made without the candied bacon we were told that the chef felt this would change the flavor component and refused. This was unacceptable in my mind. Also to pair wine with a salad is a notoriously hard task, they did a good job with a sherry style wine, but I think I would have forgone a wine pairing with this course. (4 stars for the salad - 1 for refusing to take off the bacon = 3 stars)
The cheeses were excellent, the goat Capretta Tenerina was exquisite, but the raisin wine, we all agreed did not go with the cheeses at all, you mouth unfortunately stayed coated with fat, a nice port or perhaps a zin would have been a better pair. (5 Stars)
Deserts were just okay, I liked the quince sorbet, the cat's tongues were a little dry and the rose cream was - meh (3 Stars)
So Beast averages about 3.75 stars for the 6 courses.
I'd say that your standards are a little higher than most yelp reviewers, who would probably give 3.75 stars to the average McMenamins.
It sounds like I've enjoyed my meals there more than you have, but I still wouldn't say that it's "perfect" or "one of the best meals I have ever had in my life".
I'm not surprised about the refusal to modify the salad, by the way, nor should you be--the menu does warn that "substitutions are politely declined". I hope that they were at least polite about it.
I try to vary my standards when I rate restaurants, therefore a casual neighborhood bistro I don’t hold up to the same standards as a high end restaurant, so I am not sure if I am being very fair to Beast.
I was under the impression, given all of the reviews, that this would be "A perfect dining experience." Or "One of the best places in the USA". It was not and would not rank in the top 50 places in my, does that make them bad – no.
It was good, but not superlative. Did we enjoy the meal – yes, probably would have ranked a solid 4 – 4.5 stars without the hype. I do think they need to work on their wine selection and pairing it with food that was by far a big disappointment. And just because their name is beast, do they really need to add a meat component to every dish?????? It didn’t belong in the soup and took away from that course.
Overall I think they offer a good value, I sure would have spent much more money dining in one of the best restaurants in the world, so perhaps I should downgrade the rating scale.
As far as the candied bacon, we did NOT ask for a substitution – we asked that it not be added to one of the salads. Since the bacon was just sprinkled on top, they could have easily omitted it. Was the server nice about – I guess, but imagine going into a restaurant anywhere and asking for an ingredient that is just sprinkled on top to be omitted.
What would you reaction be if they told you no??? There was no need for that.
Had brunch at Beast on April 3rd. Very good, definitely worth the time and drive.
Baguette bread pudding, candied bacon, soft whipped cream, maple sauce
Hash with milk-braised pork, baby artichokes, baby spring onions, poached egg, demi-glace
Cheese, champagne-poached apricots, chicory salad with aged balsamic
Banana-bourbon ice cream sundae with caramel sauce and candied hazelnuts
A great deal at $28 per person.
I ate there in late January, and yes, it was quite good. You might not like it so much if you're not into meat. We started with a french onion soup which had the most amazing broth--it will make it difficult for me to eat this anywhere else. Then we had a charcuterie plate which included steak tartare and a "foie gras bon bon". The main course was a duck confit, then we had a radicchio salad. We finished off with a cheese and a dessert course. I'd highly recommend it, and I'd like to go back.
I'd be interested if anyone has been for brunch--I haven't seen reports on it.