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#61 jennifer

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Posted 01 December 2010 - 03:11 PM

Menu changes at FIN. From Eater.com:

Four-month-old seafood restaurant Fin may be accumulating its share of raves (howyoudoin, Eater Awards' "So Hot Right Now" winner), but chef Trent Pierce is trying to shake the spot's fancypants reputation: "We're trying to get away from the Sel Gris-esque fine dining mentality," Pierce says. "We're not trying to reinvent the menu, we're just trying to make it more accessible for a broader range of people."

Broader range equates to meat and vegetarian options ("We're going to put a steak on and a couple venison dishes this week"), and the formerly raw-small plates-main menu format will give way to a "cold/raw" side (featuring experiments with pressed-box sushi), a noodle/dumpling section, and most notably, a "sides" menu to encourage veggie eating. "We're getting great reviews, but we want [the restaurant] to be a more fun, boisterous place," Pierce says. "Make it a little more fun, casual... gastropub kind of style." The new menu takes effect tomorrow.



#62 nervousxtian

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Posted 01 December 2010 - 07:04 PM

This doesn't sound like a really good thing to make such a large change so soon.. but doesn't surprise me that a seafood centric place isn't doing great in this town, since it's not deep fried,Lobster in Red or served on a conveyor belt.

#63 jennifer

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Posted 01 December 2010 - 07:35 PM

I was surprised to read this. They were getting great press and from what I'd heard, they were staying fairly busy. I was really looking forward to trying this place and was waiting for the next moment that I had a babysitter so we could get over there. But no luck I guess.

#64 ExtraMSG

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Posted 01 December 2010 - 10:53 PM

They should have said they were a sushi restaurant and deep-fried stuff.
The greatest service chemistry has rendered to alimentary science, is the discovery of osmazome, or rather the determination of what it was. ~Brillat-Savarin

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#65 FINPDX

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Posted 01 December 2010 - 11:05 PM

Hey guys,

Trent Pierce here, I am the chef at FIN. Just want to clear things up for you. The design and layout of the menu is different. We have added a section with vegetables. We also have made the portions easier to share in large groups. The style of our food is still the same. Our ingredients are still all sushi grade and we actually have brought in things such as 1++ Big eye tuna with toro.

Our website will be changing soon too. It will upload much faster and be easier to navigate.

Any questions give me a shout out on twitter @finpdx.com also facebook and you can follow our blog.

Thanks,

Trent

#66 JandJ

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Posted 02 December 2010 - 08:16 AM

Hey guys,

Trent Pierce here, I am the chef at FIN. Just want to clear things up for you. The design and layout of the menu is different. We have added a section with vegetables. We also have made the portions easier to share in large groups. The style of our food is still the same. Our ingredients are still all sushi grade and we actually have brought in things such as 1++ Big eye tuna with toro.

Our website will be changing soon too. It will upload much faster and be easier to navigate.

Any questions give me a shout out on twitter @finpdx.com also facebook and you can follow our blog.

Thanks,

Trent


Trent, thanks for jumping in and setting things straight. We've been to FIN three times now and loved it every time. Was concerned about the rumor that you were retooling the menu in a big way, since I think you're off to a terrific start with what you have and would hate to see major changes in direction this early in the game.

Looking forward to our next visit.

#67 JimProuty

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Posted 03 December 2010 - 11:04 PM

... the ceviche, to me, is just on the edge of being over-kill, but still succeeds.


We (my wife and I) just ate at Fin tonight, and the ceviche was really good, even though nearly over-kill (highly flavored).

The butter fish and kale were excellent, as was the dessert.

We're not as excited about the mixed drinks and sake selections; they need improvement, in our opinion.

Service was good, we liked the decor, thoroughly enjoyed the experience.

#68 ExtraMSG

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Posted 06 December 2010 - 02:26 AM

http://www.wweek.com...ial/3704/14826/

Outside the perfunctory nod fish is given in most of the finer restaurants in town, Portland diners of a piscatorial bent have been limited to visiting one of the sushi joints scattered around town or settling on an outpost of the McCormick & Schmick’s empire. Fin, helmed by chef Trent Pierce and opened over the summer in the space formerly occupied by Sel Gris, is determined to boldly elevate Portland’s seafood dining experience beyond boilerplate slabs of grilled salmon. Aside from a few missteps, it succeeds, wielding a small but focused menu of artfully assembled creations that challenge and delight.


The greatest service chemistry has rendered to alimentary science, is the discovery of osmazome, or rather the determination of what it was. ~Brillat-Savarin

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#69 nomnom

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Posted 20 December 2010 - 10:34 PM

I have long been disappointed with the seafood options in Portland. I have had to get my fill of quality, unique seafood either at sushi restaurants (Hiroshi is A#1) or our other A#1 standby, Tanuki (amazing hamachi and uni among an array of insanely delicious seafood and meat dishes). But sometimes I just want fish that is not solely of the Asian flavors variety. In town it seems even quality restaurants that serve seafood tend to be limited to the Portland/PNW(?) trinity of salmon, halibut, shellfish (mussels, clams). And, well, I can cook those just fine myself thanks.

Needless to say I was thrilled to learn of Fin's opening and we have been there several times. I had incredibly high expectations (hopes) for Fin and they did not disappoint.

The first visit (maybe 1.5 months ago?) was a frenzy of eating and being amazed and so I do not recall enough particulars of the dishes to write anything meaningful. I remember the ceviche was fabulous and although - as others have said - was borderline too much in terms of flavor, it was just .01% under overkill to make it unique and exciting. One of our entrees was a big eye 1+ tuna wrapped in duck skin/fat, I think. Again, details are hazy but it was fantastic. We also ordered carpacchio and another entree.

Our most recent visit was last weekend. We arrived late, around 9:15 pm. The restaurant was about 1/3 full. We ordered:
- < butterfish sashimi: kombu marinated, wasabi, nama shoyu >
really amazing, and I loved that they served it at room temperature instead of cold.

- < carpaccio: big eye tuna, white soy ponzu, sicilian olive oil >
same with the butterfish, I appreciated they served it at room temperature. Instead of a quality non-offensive COLD piece of fish, it was a FLAVORFUL quality piece(s) of fish.

- < tartare: scallop, venison, jalapeno, garlic, wasabi tobiko >
this was unreal. The venison really shined here. I could taste the scallop but it was the venison that provided such a complex and flavorful taste to this dish. Almost nutty or fatty, though I realize venison is lean. The tobiko totally worked with this too. It was a very unique dish.

- < ceviche: ono, thai flavors >
yes please. I wanted to order 5 of these. Complex and flavorful but also bright and clean tasting. Strong lemongrass in a good way.

- < baby turnip: yuzu/browned butter, paprika, poppy seed >
I was so focused on the fish that although this was good, it sorta became a side dish we ate between fish dishes.

- < (entree) big eye 1+ tuna, lardo, truffle ponzu >
Wow. This was fabulous. Such a clean-tasting quality piece of fish. It was seared on the outside, raw inside. The light crispness of the fish was offset with the rich truffle ponzu. Quality people. Quality.

We will be back again, and again.

Service was only good the first visit (multiple servers, took awhile to order drinks, wrong food brought to us - but friendly and casually-attentive after drinks were ordered) but great the second time. Israel Morales, the sommelier and manager served as our waiter the second time and he was great.

The only thing is that with all this light raw seafood the bread and butter that arrived at the beginning of the meal - which was fabulous btw - seemed too, well, bread-y and out of place. This is not a dig on them but just something we were brainstorming while we ate. Love the idea of a pre-meal snack but maybe there should/could be an alternative especially for people ordering mostly raw fish dishes. Maybe dehydrated veggies with salt and oil, or crispbreads with a tangy sauce? Grasping at straws here.

Again, no dig on the bread or them just the texture of the bread-y bread and butter did not fit with the rest of what we ordered. It could easily fit with the other entrees and dishes on their menu, just thinking of an alternative to complement the mostly raw seafood feast we had.

In short, FIN: so so good and I wanted a refill of every dish we had.

#70 Amanda

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Posted 21 December 2010 - 07:35 AM

Nice write-up, nomnom. Thanks!

Best regards,

Amanda

#71 reduxredux

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Posted 13 January 2011 - 09:28 PM

Ate here tonight. My sister and I wanted to go out to a nice fish-oriented dinner for Christmas and the back and forth about Hiroshi vs. Murata caused me to throw in the towel and suggest Fin.

The space is a little uncomfortable. We made a reservation but when we showed up at 6:00 (we tend to eat dinner early, like pensioners) there was just one other table occupied. Another party of three came into the restaurant before we left. We sat at a booth in the weird space behind the large curved table, which felt like we were sitting behind the bar. It was very dark inside, which I don't mind, being a Tanuki fan, but I would have liked a better view of the food that we got - again, are you people bringing in your own light rig? Don't answer that. The whole time they played a selection of the cheesiest hits from the 80s - Billy Joel, Journey, etc. Unlike another commenter, I didn't want whale songs, but it was a strange fit.

I could take or leave drinks with dinner, and we almost left it here. The beer/sake list had two choices, one of which was a 22oz Ninkasi for $9. Not a good pick for this kind of food, and I balked at an $8 Ninkasi at Spints not too long ago, so no thanks. We ended up getting a bottle of white, which was overall a better deal and a closer match to what we ate.

We were served some Little T focaccia with really good olive oil, beet salt, and regular salt (?). Our meal started with the spicy octopus, which was identical to the picture shown here, and the ceviche, which was a southern Italian variation with tiny currants and capers. I was a little worried here because the dishes were good, but the fish itself was sort of mushy and didn't hold up to the other flavors. We were told that the menu was designed for sharing - blah blah, we've been to Toro Bravo, we get it - but do you really need to serve two people a dish that comes in three spoons? Thankfully at this point in our lives we have learned how to share. We got the miso-creamed kale with mushrooms, which was superlative. I wouldn't have liked to eat this alongside the raw dishes, but it was a good bridge between them and the cooked fare.

Things picked up with the three dishes from the "Second" part of the menu. We got the oil-cured +1 tuna, which came in a little jar with the lid resting in a puddle of anchovy aoili, a frisee salad on the side. This was very good, and we were happy to have the extra focaccia to soak up the oil in the jar. Then we had the snapper bibimbap with pickled truffles and truffle broth and...? (we stopped for sour beer at Cascade Brewing and were halfway into our bottle of wine by this point, so forgive me for not picking up all the little details) The fish sausage dan dan noodles were the best part of the meal for me, loaded with rich spicy flavors, a good closer to the meal - I was glad we ate this last.

Despite being more full than expected, I hoped that the olive oil cake from much earlier in the thread was still on the menu. It was long gone, so we headed over to Pix for our usual after-dinner custom (not to get too far afield, but is there a better spot in SE for dessert? We've been going to Pix forever so it's kind of a ritual, but there must be a better place to get desserts).

The bill was just under $100. Over all, a decent meal, and though I am not dying to come back I would definitely consider eating here again. I was a little disappointed that we didn't get served the sort of food porn pictured earlier in the thread, but I assume that went away with their new menu. We wouldn't have been able to see it well enough anyways.

#72 sacman

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Posted 14 January 2011 - 11:12 PM

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The past 4.5 weeks have been very difficult for me, as I've been whacked with a winter cold worse than anything I've had in the past 10 years. But this week, I finally began to feel better, and today I felt positively positive. I wanted to treat my interior decorator to a nice dinner, so we went to Fin on our way home from work today. Glad I did, because we had a great meal.

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We had a couple drinks. I had a nonalcoholic mixed drink. It amounted to a house-made pineapple soda. Very good, very refreshing. She had an Okazaki, which is sake, vodka, a whiff of dessert wine, and orange - it's named after one of their best customers. Also good, and quite dry.

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We were served some very fresh focaccia, which came with some olive oil, regular salt, and beet salt. The salts were superfluous as the bread was already salted. Nevertheless, I tasted the beet salt. I couldn't really discern any beet, but again my palate is still recovering from this cold.

Posted Image
This is the spicy octopus, which is wrapped in thin slices of blue marlin and topped with tobiko. The octopus had a perfect texture. The fish was very fresh. The whole thing was a big flavor explosion - just great.

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Here's the ceviche, which is ono with "southern Italian flavors." What we got was an interesting and delicious raw fish preparation, that included carrots, radish, and firm, mild fish. It also had some small, peppercorn-looking things that might've been capers. But the flavors melded together so well that I couldn't really tell. Also, it was topped with a supreme of meyer lemon.

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The dish of the meal was this: a pile of carrots. No fish here at all. These are heirloom varieties cooked (possibly steamed or gently sauteed) with some toasted whole cumin seeds and simply served on yogurt flavored with saffron. Holy moly, talk about some great flavors. The carrots were sweet and perfectly cooked, the cumin - a flavor I normally dislike on its own - added a shot of sophistication, and the saffron yogurt was amazingly light. This dish was so good that my decorator asked for a second order of these instead of dessert.

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We ordered another vegetable dish, which is baby turnip. It's served with a yuzu/brown butter sauce, and coated with paprika and poppy seed. Another winner, but definitely richer than all the preceding dishes. The paprika was without doubt smoked, which reminded me that we are, in fact, in the middle of winter. It was also very simply served - a little bit of sauce and the turnips plonked down right on top.

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We split an entree. This is the butterfish saltimbocca. It's served with a single small cippolini, some black trumpets, and a killer parmesan cheese broth. This broth, believe it or not, is something that I've made in my own kitchen. I don't know if they follow the same recipe I did, but basically I freeze all my parmesan cheese rinds over the course of a few months, and then when I have enough of them, I just gently simmer them in some water with a few herbs. It always produces this awesome, cheesy broth. If Fin didn't follow my recipe, at the very least, they got the same result, which is this broth just packed with umami. And the fish itself? It was prepared thusly:

Posted Image
What they've done here is take the chunk of fish and cut it nearly all the way through, (nearly) dividing the morsel into thirds. Then into each cut, they've stuffed proscuitto and a sage leaf. The fish is then sauteed and finally finished in the oven. It was a near-perfect piece of fish, and what a good idea to put some pig in the mix. Sometimes whitefish can get a little dry, but the pig added some moisture to the mix. Another thing I should probably mention is that this dish - and the others - was assertively seasoned, which meant it tasted about perfect to me. Others might find it a bit too salty.

This was one of the best meals we've ever eaten in Portland. The restaurant manages to showcase stellar and pristine ingredients, but also conclusively amplified my preference for composed dishes over ultra-simple dishes. I'm really happy that we have a fish-focused restaurant operating at this level in Portland - finally! I suppose if I had a criticism, it would be that I'd like to see more unusual seafood items like sea urchin or various varieties of shrimp. Maybe they have that stuff during other seasons. But what we ate just rocked our world. Great stuff.

How about the service? It's very friendly, but we chose to sit at the bar, because it offers the two seats closest to the kitchen where we could watch the action. I think the service at the bar is a little less formal than elsewhere in the tiny restaurant. We immediately started chatting with the bartender and the manager about the history of the space, about the drinks, about the food. But there were no service missteps at all, and not a hint of snootiness.

This was an $84 meal before tip, including two house-made sodas for me, the cocktail for her, and a glass of cava for her. There is little doubt we'll be back - even though this was our first visit, we're putting it on our go-to list.

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#73 polloelastico

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Posted 14 January 2011 - 11:44 PM

That butterfish dish is a thing of beauty. Thx for the report Sacman and for the tip on the parmesan broth.
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#74 Jill-O

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Posted 15 January 2011 - 01:08 AM

Thanks sacman! SO glad you're feeling better!
Never give up! Never surrender!

#75 sacman

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Posted 15 January 2011 - 08:23 AM

I'm glad I'm feeling better, too. I'll give you the gory details the next time we're at an event (might be a while due to dieting - btw Fin is a superb place for a dieter to visit, especially if you're on a low-carb diet).

It occurs to me that I've done the pig-and-fish thing a couple times myself, and have photographic evidence of said combination:

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"Halibut with Serrano ham, creamed fennel, braised cippolinis, yuzu, honey." Hmm, that's suspiciously similar to what we at at Fin...

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#76 WAfoodie

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Posted 15 January 2011 - 08:53 AM

Thank you for your comprehensive pictorial, synonymous with all of your posts.
Haven't had butterfish in years and remember loving this delicate fish as a child.

#77 jennifer

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Posted 15 January 2011 - 11:29 AM

This looks amazing, thanks for the post! I've been wanting to get to FIN for so long now.

#78 Amanda

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Posted 15 January 2011 - 05:05 PM

Excellent write-up and photos, Sacman. It does seem to be the season of sickness. I'm glad you're over whatever you had. Those dishes at Fin are making me salivate in a major way!

Best regards,

Amanda

#79 Jill-O

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Posted 17 January 2011 - 02:10 PM

According to pdx.eater.com:

http://pdx.eater.com...entines-day.php

Fin is closing after Valentine's. Joan Dumas sold the restaurant and the new owner plans to open their own restaurant.
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#80 ExtraMSG

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Posted 17 January 2011 - 02:15 PM

Not really Eater, but Brooks at Portland Monthly:

http://www.portlandm...y-january-2011/

Come February, Fin will swim with the fishes.

According to chef Trent Pierce, who confirmed the rumor, Portland’s first small-scale artisan seafood restaurant has been sold. The gutsy new wave fish house at 1852 SE Hawthorne Blvd will serve its last dinner on Valentine’s Day.

The downhearted Pierce said owner Joan Dumas sold the restaurant and a new owner plans to open his own eatery. Pierce had hoped to buy the restaurant after two years, and he plans to seek funding to open his own place, possibly with some of his Fin comrades.

....

Pierce says Fin opened on a slim budget in Dumas’s former Sel Gris space, lost to a fire the previous year. “The sad thing is we’re making money now,” says Pierce. “That’s the bummer. It all boiled down to not enough dining capital.”


Fine dining in Portland continues to go down the suckhole.
The greatest service chemistry has rendered to alimentary science, is the discovery of osmazome, or rather the determination of what it was. ~Brillat-Savarin

Nick Zukin, Mi Mero Mole & Kenny & Zuke's