Tag: St. Jack

Portland Dining Month 2016

Portland Dining Month 2016 | Serious Crust

Ned Ludd | Portland Dining Month | Serious Crust
Laurelhurst Market | Portland Dining Month | Serious Crust

The time has come. It’s March, which means I have combed through the dining month menus of 122 (!!!) restaurants in preparation for Portland Dining Month. This event is all about strategy – which places have you been itching to try, which places have multiple choices for each course, and which places give you the most bang for your buck. I’m here to help: below are my 14 picks for Portland Dining Month (in no particular order).

I also want to add that a donation to the Oregon Food Bank will be made for every reservation booked through the OpenTable links on the PDX Dining Month website! Sometimes we make our dining plans last minute, but I’m going to do my best to make reservations this year to make it count.

AviaryThis is one of my number one recommendations in Portland. I love the playfulness and creativity of the food here, plus the Asian influence doesn’t hurt. They’ve got two choices for every course, so you and your dinner partner can both get the dining month menu without ordering the same meal.

Clyde Common: I still haven’t made it into Clyde Common for dinner since chef Carlo Lasagna took over the kitchen, but I have heard fantastic things. Their dining month menu doesn’t look like anything crazy adventurous, but I bet it will be tasty.

Little Bird Bistro: Little Bird Bistro has a place in my heart – every meal I’ve had there has been pretty perfect, the space is romantic, and the service is great. They’ve got at least two options for each course on their dining month menu, and every single one looks like something I want to eat.

Paley’s Place: A Portland institution, Paley’s Place is reliably delicious. There’s only one option per course on their menu, but how can you go wrong with quail under a brick?!

Smallwares: Serving “inauthentic Asian cuisine,” I love the way Smallwares combines traditionally Asian ingredients in quasi-Asian dishes. For example, their dining month entree is Sichuan cauliflower or pork ragu, pine nuts, gochujang, tarragon and scallions. I mean come on.

Ned Ludd: Another memorable Portland dining month meal I had last year was at Ned Ludd. I love the food at this spot – all cooked in their wood oven, featuring great local ingredients, and with lots of creative flavor combinations. Again, only one option per course (except for a vegetarian option for the entree), but you can bet it will be good.

St. Jack: I’ll be honest, I’ll take any reason I can to make my way up to St. Jack. The space is beautiful, and the food and drink are lovely. For their dining month menu, they’re serving up a pork stew, with fried brussels sprouts to start and a chocolate pots-de-creme to finish.

Verdigris: I haven’t been to Verdigris yet, despite the fact that it’s only a few minutes walk from my house and that I’ve heard great things. Verdigris is offering up lots of options for dining month: 6 options for your started, 5 for your entree, and 2 for dessert, meaning lots of variation for you and your dining buddies.

Xico: Who can resist upscale Mexican food? Not me. While there’s only one option for each course on Xico’s dining month menu, each one looks GOOD.

Biwa: To be fair, it doesn’t look like you’ll necessarily be full after partaking in Biwa’s dining month menu. But their homestyle Japanese food is reliably delicious. So come with a buddy and share the dining month menu plus one or two other items, and I’m sure you’ll leave happy.

Ataula: Ataula remains one of the most fun nights out I’ve had in Portland. The food is something you don’t often find: traditional Spanish food, and the service and atmosphere are lively and fun. Plus, on their dining month menu you’ll find a mini version of one of their famous paellas.

Laurelhurst Market: Laurelhurst Market was my final dining month meal last year (and my last meal before getting my wisdom teeth out, which made it that much more special), and it was stellar. Start your meal with stuff mushrooms, then move to some braised beef shoulder (which is bound to be awesome), and then finish with a chocolate whiskey pudding. (Note: their cocktails are awesome, so I highly recommend getting one with your meal!)

Imperial: Located downtown and headed by two fantastic chefs (Vitaly Paley and Doug Adams), Imperial is my go to for brunch with guests staying downtown. Hit them up for dining month to get some grilled squash salad, braised pork, and a chocolate bouchon for dessert.

Ken’s Artisan Pizza: Is this the most exciting menu ever? No. Caesar salad, sausage pizza, and a brownie sundae for dessert. BUT IT WILL BE SO GOOD. This place has some of my favorite pizza in Portland, so take advantage of the price for the three courses and hit it up!

Where are you looking forward to going for Portland Dining month?

Restaurant Review: St. Jack

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.

St. Jack

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!).

St. Jack

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.