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Sep 17, 2008 01:57 PM

Brooklyn NYC Hound in Portland

Hey all,
The wife and I are visiting Portland for the first time in a few weeks. We're spending Friday, Saturday and Sunday there so that means three of each meal!!! We are really excited to taste the local food wine and especially beer.

I was hoping someone could help us find some of the currently tasty restaurants. We enjoy all cuisines but would really prefer restaurants that focuses on fresh, local and probably organic foods. We prefer places that are more casual and don't require a jacket (I'll leave my tshirts and shorts at home though). We get good seafood in NYC but I can never have enough and hear the Pac NW is the place. I'd love to try fresh sea urchin. We also love street food and diners. Soooo, I know there are some other posts on the Portland scene, but I was hoping someone could point out some Portland "must haves" for a quick trip. Also, any non-touristy sightseeing/hanging out ideas would be welcomed. Thanks!!!

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  1. well what portland does really really well is casual attire, upscale food! seriously, do not need to leave your tshirts at home, they are pretty much a uniform here! anyways....
    as far as places that you would like:
    first, Tanuki for your Uni fix. best in town, not even close. I for the longest time thought i wasnt into Uni. I had tried it a dozen or more times and some better then others but even the supposedly great stuff failed to fill my sail. Until i had it at Tanuki. now i get what its about.
    as far as cool, casual places I would have to through out my handful of places i tell everyone they have to get to in town to truly get a sense of what portland is all about, restaurant wise
    they would be:
    Clyde Common
    Sel Gris

    as far as carts go the scene here is pretty cool. a lot of eclectic places in pods scattered around town. everything from standard dogs, to kick ass mex. to poutine, to just about any ethnicity you can imagine. The place you need to check out is a very up to date and comprehensive guide!
    I am always interested to hear what a new yorker thinks of Kenny & Zukes deli. Its not super traditional, so dont expect Katz's west, but your opinion of the pastrami and other traditional items(Kugel, rugaleche, bagels, etc....) peaks my interest.

    please do report back once you get here, and enjoy!!! just hope it isnt raining by the time you get here

    1 Reply
    1. re: nkeane

      Sea urchin: Hiroshi. Fresh, artistic, and masterfully original sushi. Sit at the bar in front of Hiro-san and watch him work his magic.

      And yes, your requests, not being so unique, have been asked and answered many times over the past three months. Take ten minutes, scroll down a bit, and you'll see them.

      Many great carts: Give Pizza A Chance, Sugar Cube, and Samurai Bento to name three. Unfortunately, most are open only lunchtime weekdays. Best Saturday morning (8:30am-2pm) street food weekend alternative is Portland Farmers' Mkt (NOT Portland Saturday Mkt!) and eat at Pine State Biscuits, Tastebud Farm, Ken's Artisan Bakery etc.

      Touristy or not, not that I care: Japanese Garden is a must. Especially if it is raining!

    2. sorry, had a moment of dyslexia in my previous post. the cart site is called

      I wll also firmly endorse Hiroshi for a wonderful meal, including Uni. Considerably upscale, but stellar. It would be interesting to try the Uni at Hiroshi and go directly to the more downscale, Aka Chochin style Tanuki and see which is more to your liking. Since this is usually a dish that lives and dies by nothing but its freshness.....

      11 Replies
      1. re: nkeane

        You guys rock! THanks so much! I will try to remember to report back after the trip.

        1. re: Ralphus

          Reporting back after a fan-freakin-tastic weekend of eating and drinking around Portland. I'll paste my full notes below. We are huge beer geeks, so we kept a log of every beer we consumed. Highlights:
          Omekase at Tanuki - cool little spot, not crowded at all. Really dug the punk/Japanese vibe. Were treated very well by the staff. Uni was the highlight, soft and velvety. Boar meatballs were also wonderful. May have been our favorite meal.
          Clyde Common - food was exceptional, see list below. Only issue was a family with several kids at 10PM on a Sunday. Pretty loud/disruptive but they apologized and tamed the kids toward the end. Definitely marred our experience though. Fav dish was the tongue and beet hash. Lovely!
          Apizza Scholls - worth the walk and wait. Light, fluffy crust, quality toppings. Probably my third favpizza place with Pizzeria Bianco in Phoenix a clear first (surprising for a Brooklynite).
          Voodoo Doughnut - too sweet. tasty, but the sugar hurt my teeth.
          Thanks again for all of the recs. Hopefully this post helps other food travelers.
          Food –
          Thursday night - Rogue – Kobe Bleu Balls – meatballs with kobe beef and Rogue Bleu Cheese; Hazelnut Ale Hummus

          Friday – Breakfast – Voodoo Doughnut – Raspberry Chocolate Voodoo Doll, Maple Bacon Log, Maple Glaze Bavarian Crème

          Lunch – Pok Pok – Grilled pork skewers with peanut sauce and cilantro cucumber salad; roasted game hen salad with cilantro and parsley

          Dinner – Apizza Scholls – amore – margherita pizza with cured sliced pork shoulder

          Saturday – Breakfast – chorizo burrito, chorizo taco and spinach taco at food cart La Jarochita

          Lunch – Farmers Market – chanterelle/garlic organic goat cheese, washed rind sheep’s milk cheese, green olive loaf from Pearl, apples, nectarines, raspberries, strawberries, honey, fresh fire roasted peppers.

          Dinner – Tanuki – Omekase – fresh small oyster, uni with lemon, sashimi with diver scallop, sockeye salmon, fish mince, hamachi etc.; skewers with duck hearts, eel; boar meatballs with Korean BBQ sauce; roasted slightly hot peppers, seared steak with fried burdock, black bean sauce, scallion (burger and fries); rice scramble with squid, quail egg.

          Sunday – breakfast at Isabel – blackberry banana pancakes; artichoke scramble; rosemary potatoes with scallions.

          Dinner at Clyde Common – too many kids! Food was wonderful. Tongue Hash with potatoes and roasted beets, heirloom tomato salad; Chicken thighs with shaved beets and pistachios and Rabbit leg

          Thursday night – Rogue – Issaquah Quad Frog, Bullfrog Contraband, Imperial Red, Tracktown 200 Meter Superhop, 100 Meter India Red

          Deschutes – Hopicide

          Friday – Roots Organic Brewing – Gruit Kolsch, Calypso (scotch bonnet), Roots Pale, Woody’s IPA (dry hop), Island Red (red stout), Heather Ale, Exxxcalibur Imp Stout, Younger’s Nightmare – Russian Imperial aged in 30yr bourbon

          Lucky Labrador – Crystal Weiss (meh), Superdog (hoppy)

          Pok Pok – Singha

          Bridgeport – cask Hop Harvest and ESB

          McMenamins Trump – Hammerhead pale ale

          Apizza Scholls – 2 Paulaner Oktoberfest, Lagunitas Dogtown Pale Ale

          Space Bar – Sierra

          Rogue – Double Dead Guy, Mocha Porter, Hair of the Dog Fred, Hazelnut Rum, Dry Hop St Rogue Red, Quad Frog, Imperial Pils

          Life of Riley – Lagunitas Hop Stoopid, Ninkasi Total Domination IPA

          Saturday – Farmers market – Basketcase Syrah

          Rogue – Chocolate Stout/Hazelnut Nectar Black and Tan, Younger’s Special Bitter, Mom’s Hefeweizen

          Bridgeport – IPA, Black Sheep Stout, Hop Harvest

          Tanuki – Yuki no Bosha Cabin in Snow sake, Chi Kurin Karoyaka Lightness Sake

          Rogue – Imperial Porter, Quad Frog, Cask 100 Meter Tracktown, Rogue Spruce Gin & Tonic

          McMenamins Crystal Lounge – Hammerhead, Terminator Stout, world’s worst RBV

          Sunday – Beer in room – Rogue Independence Hop Ale, Imperial Younger’s Special Bitter and Jazz Guy

          Deschutes – Mt St Helen’s Keller, Hopicide, Black Butte Porter

          Clyde Common – Baron Oktoberfest

          1. re: Ralphus


            Glad to hear you had a great time. We might have even been in the same room at the same time at Clyde and Tanuki, two of my favorite spots (and the beef tongue hash is certainly among my favorites: when I visited Portland a year ago, that was the dish that first made me fall in love with Clyde Common).

            The niku dango (boar meatballs) at Tanuki are awesome right now, too. I still remember when I first had them: the owner had done ramen as a special for one night only, with the meatballs in them. Drooooool.

            My favorite pizza at Scholls right now is the bianco bacon. And no I don't think it's weird for a Brooklynite to think that Apizza Scholls is good: the owner and pizzaiolo is from NYC, and was determined to bring do good pizza here (and occasionally posts on CH as well).

            1. re: Ralphus

              glad to see you enjoyed yourself in the PDX!

              cant find one thing in your extensive list of things you ate/drank(wow, you really know how to do 3 days in a town huh?) that i could argue with!!
              Tanuki is, with 3 months left in the year, and nothing on the Horixon that even comes close, quickly becoming my "best of" restaurant opening of 2008! saying this little gem has been anything short of epiphinal for me is a shameful understatement!

              you also happened to have my favorite pie @Apizza. I am a marg. purest, so that is always my gold standard, but add some really great capicolla and i am all over that like a fat kid w/cake!

              hope you get a chance to return, you missed a fair number of memorable places(even though you did get to a ridiculous number of places in 72 hours!?)

              1. re: Ralphus

                Thanks for the report...we are visiting Portland in mid-November and are seeking a a good place to celebrate our we know to avoid Clyde Common! Thanks for all of your other comments for more casual meals...

                1. re: Tripper

                  oh but you would be missing one of the true gems of Portland. I wouldnt go for my anniversary dinner mind you, but dont dismiss it because of one report of a screaming kid.
                  I am the first one to say that kids in dining environs are my biggest pet peeve. I simply dislike children, that being said, Clyde Common is hardly a spot at which youre going to be annoyed by someones children(unless you sit at the communal tables and you, like me, would be annoyed at their sheer presence). It is a raucous, loud, buzzing place/. The food and cocktails are some of the cities best.

                  If a anniversary restaurant is needed, I wont hessitate to recommend: Alba Osteria and Enoteca, Carlyle, Ten01, Sel gris. all for very nice, intimate dining experiences.

                  1. re: Tripper

                    If you avoid Clyde Common... it'll be much much easier for me to get a seat when I go.

                    Clyde is one of my favorite restaurants ANYWHERE.

                    It's a cool combination of British gastropub, Mediterranean tapas, and industrialized Portland.

                    But if you're looking for something a bit more intimate, then perhaps the raucousness of Clyde isn't the right call. I second the recs of nkeane, and would also throw into the hat Le Pigeon, Lucier, Paley's or Alberta St Oyster Bar and Grill. It'll all depend on the budget and exactly what type of menu you're looking for.

                    1. re: SauceSupreme

                      Thanks for your comments...I will make a reservation at Paley's...I checked the website and it sounds like a better match.

                      1. re: Tripper

                        I didn't mean for my post to distract from Clyde Common's excellent food and vibe. I think what we experienced was sort of an anomaly. I wouldn't want to sway anyone away from a fine and adventurous meal.

                        1. re: Ralphus

                          Yeah, I think it was an anomaly. I've been to CC many, many times and I've never been annoyed by out-of-control kids there (in fact on a recent visit I was surprised to see the table next to us had a couple of well-behaved kids). I have a fairly low tolerance for annoying kids, too.

                          1. re: Ralphus

                            Understood...the meal sounded wonderful but we are seeking a quieter place for this one dinner. I know you can't eat the atmosphere but sometimes you are seeking a particular mood for a special meal. I'll try CC another time.