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Apr 4, 2008 09:13 PM

The Heathman (SW Portland)

I took my mother there for her birthday and had a terrible experience.

1) The escargot dish was served in a pile and was too hot to eat for 10 minutes.
2) My lamb shank was served ice cold. It seemed as if they didn't even bother to heat it up. (they comped the dish, of course)
3) My father ordered the bread pudding and they brought the creme brulee instead (it was very good despite the runny center)
4) The cookie plate wasn't good at all
5) The sommelier offered the following brilliant advice: "older wines are softer but I
I would drink the younger one first". wouldn't he be concerned with the stronger wine overpowering the softer one? wouldn't he think that lighter appetizers would go with a softer wine better?

All in all, a frustrating and confusing experience and I will not be returning.

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  1. My experiences also. My other places that I enjoy when I visit Portland are:

    1. Carlyle
    2. Sel Gris
    3. Wildwood

    1. I can't speak to the food (ouch! ice-cold? and subbing in the wrong dessert??) but I wouldn't diss your som for their recommendations. There's a fair amount of back and forth about whether to serve young to old or old to young but the industry will nearly always recommend drinking the young wine first and if your som was trained well s/he'd definitely try to steer you that way.

      Young wines should be simple and refreshing and as the first wine to pass your lips will generally come across as somewhat abrasive as your palate learns to accept the acidity and possibly tannins. This in effect prepares you for the complexity of an older wine which though softer isn't necessarily any less voluptuous. The suggestion of palate fatigue from drinking the younger first is actually useful here because you've trained your palate to appreciate the more complex flavors of the older wine.

      2 Replies
      1. re: cgoble

        I agree with cgoble about the wine. Young before old is the accepted practice. It's normal to deviate from it of course, but you're out of line for criticizing the sommelier in this case. Ice cold lamb shank? No exaggeration? If not, ouch indeed!

        1. re: AlbertaHound

          I appreciate the interesting discussion of the wine succession. I guess I was more thinking of how they would pair with the apps and less about drinking them back to back. So many data points to consider!

          The shank was indeed ice-cold. Shocking but true.