A while back I picked up Portland Monthly Magazine, the Best Restaurant issue. I look forward to this issue every year so that I can see how many of Portland’s top restaurants I’ve eaten at and which ones I need to get to. At the top of last year’s list was a restaurant called St. Jack. I’d heard of it before, but hadn’t read about it until the magazine. I’d also noticed it because it’s right near Jonah’s office, so I would pass it whenever I dropped him off on my way to work. I was very excited when my Dad came to town and we decided (well, I decided really) to go there for dinner.
After reading the menu probably about 10 times, I made a reservation. We showed up and were seated at a table in the back. The interior of the restaurant was so lovely. Simple and clean, with little artistic and crafty touches, like the giant wax candle towers on the back bar. I was particularly excited to eat here because one of the things I’d heard about St. Jack is that they have really good original cocktails. My dad and I both got the Guillotine (rum, cointreau, lemon, housemade grenadine, and absinthe), which was wonderful! It was a really refreshing drink, and a little bit wintery, which I like this time of year (unlike Jonah’s very delicious French Pearl, which was mint, gin, lemon, and sugar).
As for appetizers, we got two of the Salad Lyonnaise, a salad of frisee, bacon lardons, bacon fat croutons, and a poached egg. I absolutely loved this salad (since we can’t make bacon in our apartment I’m super into bacon when we eat out). It was warm and delicious and a little tart. We also got the pommes frites and the Cervelle de Canut, which was like a mixture of cheeses and herbs served with bread. For dinner, I got the Coq a la Biere, a half a chicken braised in ale with veggies underneath. Jonah ordered some steak, Dad got the trout, and Darla got the onion tarte. All of these dishes were splendid, but a consensus was reached that my chicken was the best (Yes! I won!).
For dessert we ordered the madeleines, which are baked to order. I had never actually had madeleines before, and I thought these were delicious. Simple and light with a touch of lemon. A lovely end to the meal.
Overall, our experience was great. The waitstaff was very friendly and helpful. The atmosphere was perfect: enough noise so you don’t know the place is dead, but not a roar. It was a peaceful, relaxed meal of thoughtful, delicious food. I would highly recommend this restaurant if you’re on the search for a romantic evening or a slightly fancy dinner. I loved it!
Photos from St. Jack’s website.