Irving Street Kitchen - 1st impressions
My wife and I went at 7:15 Friday (opening night). 1st off I've been to Town Hall, Salt House and Anchor & Hope in SF...all of which I think are great restaurants. This is the same restaurantuer and I believe the chef is from Anchor and Hope and Pastry Chef from Town Hall.
Nonetheless, I had high expectations. Luckily, the food was great. I had the Gumbo ($8)as a starter and Halibut ($22)for the main. Wife had the bibb lettuce salad and Steak entree. We thought the food was as good as anyplace in town (Higgins, Paley's etc). Very good flavors and definitely a Southern Feel. The Wines "on tap" were interesting as well. The restaurant is very pleasing aethstetically, albeit quite loud (like the SF restaurants).
We will be back. Service needed to be more crisp, but I'll chalk that up to opening night.
I went to a soft opening the night before and it was probably more chaotic than your visit. What we had was pretty decent although the timing and "doneness" of certain dishes was understandably off. All in all, very promising - I'll be back as well...
Lots of folks looking forward to this. Thanks for posting this info. I reposted on our thread at PFG, because people there actually are talking about this restaurant (and others and food in Portland and beyond) there.
Wines on tap - they have enomatics? Nice.
And yeah, got to give them a pass on service on opening night. (Though John Gorham (Toro Bravo, Tasty and Sons) is one of the few in town that seems to get it perfect right out of the gate.)
Absolutely. Courtney Wilson-Gorham, FOH mgr. for TB (and John's wife) is a big reason why...and she taught the SImpatica/Laurelhurst Market folks well too, when they were there, I'm thinkin'.
The Burmese red pork stew at Tasty and Sons is one of the best things I have eaten this year so far.
Getting back to Irving Kitchen...went there the other night and the food was good to very good. Definitely a Southern feel. That phrase in the OP didn't catch my attention, but it's true. Some good things, such as the shrimp and barbecue sauce and biscuit. The sauce was more bitter than most, which I really enjoyed.
On the downside, I ordered a couple of glasses of white wine, and they were just a couple of degrees below lukewarm. Better fix that before the Oregonian comes to visit!
The fried chicken was OK, but had a little too "bready" of a coating - nothing near as good as Screen Door, or quite frankly, even Popeye's.
The space is very pleasant, but the bill was a little higher than average, and I'm not fully sure if it was wortth the price of $50 per person, with only three glasses of wine between the two of us.
At the quality level I experienced the other night, it will be a close call whether they will succeed beyond a year or two.... IMHO....