I am a Canadian Chowhound from Calgary and had the pleasure of being in Portland this week. After noting some good reviews on this Board for Sel Gris I had dinner there on Wednesday night and I had a superb experience.
I sat at the bar which overlooks the kitchen and doubles as a chef's table and it was fascinating to watch and fun for a solo diner such as myself.
The staff were charming and efficient and I had the pleasure of meeting Chef Daniel Mondok whom I found out during one of our conversations that he used to work at Chez Panisse and the French Laundry....quite the pedigree.
Anyway, onto the food. I was famished and so I decided to have two appies to start. My first appy was a half dozen Baylong(sp?) Oysters with a simple mignonette paired with a very nice Chablis. The Oysters were nicely briny and succulent...a great start. Being a sucker for Foie Gras my next course was Foie Gras Two Ways. Normaly, they do one au torchon and the other pan roasted but on this night they were out of the torchon and so I had two foie gras pan roasted using different themes. Both were amazing and to top it off they recommended it be paired with a Sauterne which put it off the charts.
After taking a bit of a breather I ordered the Lamb Three Ways which was paired with a very nice Oregon Pinot and again it was sublime.
By this point, I was getting quite full but after another breather I tried their Cheese Plate which consisted of a number of local cheeses paired with some nice Port which finished me and the night off...quite exceptional!
I headed back to my hotel delighted with my evening and jealous that such a fine restaurant is not in Calgary. Portland you have a real gem.
Unfortunately, I was only in Portland for about 24 hours on business. In addition to Sel Gris for dinner on the Wednesday I had a breakfast meeting at Bistro 921 and a lunch at The Heathman the following day.
Both were serviceable but not spectacular. Specifically, I had a omlette at Bistro 921 and a pesto encrusted fillet of salmon at the Heathman. They were pleasant enough but perhaps I was spoilt by my great expereince the night before.
As for coffee, the best cup of Joe I had was a french pressed cup at Sel Gris. I seem to vaguely recall that it was a Courier brand to which I am not familiar with but would recommend.