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What's your favorite new place (in the last 12 months)?


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#1 Flynn

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Posted 26 April 2016 - 11:09 PM

Not the 'best', but your favorite and why you like it. Here's a rough draft of notables (please add any that I've missed):

 

Marukin Ramen

Chesa

180

La Moule

Mae

Rose VL

Coquine

Matt's BBQ

Besaw's Part II

Pizza Jerk

Renata

Tastebud Multnomah Village

Olympia Oyster Bar

Chizu

Holdfast

Wei Wei

Loyal Legion

Milk Glass Mrkt

Burrasca

Taylor Railworks

PREAM

 

Mine is La Moule, and it's not close. I love pretty much everything about this place: The vibe, the mussels (the Thai style double as the best tom kha in town and the Normandy are my favorite calorie splurge here), the steak Diane, the underrated and excellent cocktail program, the curated beer and wine list (superlative beers like ultra-fresh Tripel Karmeliet and rarities like Jack Rose Silly Willett), a great burger, stupid good sides like the bourguignon poutine and an excellent beef tartare. On-point service.

 

I think it's cracked my Top 10 favorite Portland spots, and that's a hard list to get on given my cynical bent towards new places in Neo Frisco.

 

It's not cheap and I'm glad. I'd rather splurge at a place that's worth all the dollars I can give them vs. trying to score a happy hour deal.



#2 ExtraMSG

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Posted 27 April 2016 - 01:15 AM

All the Pine Street places can be put on the list:

 

Common Law

Ken's Annex

Shalom Y'all

Pollo Bravo

Wiz Bang

OP Wurst


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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#3 ExtraMSG

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Posted 27 April 2016 - 01:22 AM

Of the ones you list, I think Mae stands out for me.  It's always a little problematic comparing, essentially, a pop-up to a full-time restaurant, but the food is quite good.  I think Taylor Railworks is the one people whose taste I respect most like.  I only went once and I liked the food plenty, but it feels a bit too mish-mashy for me. I'd like a little more focus on the menu. Their self-description of "refined American comfort" is just ridiculous.  It's clearly New American restaurant food with lots of international, especially Asian, influences.


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

Co-Author, Artisan Jewish Deli at Home

Formerly, Kenny & Zuke's


#4 ExtraMSG

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Posted 27 April 2016 - 01:22 AM

It's not a restaurant, but neither is 180: Pinolo.  Pinolo is fantastic.


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

Co-Author, Artisan Jewish Deli at Home

Formerly, Kenny & Zuke's


#5 truth

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Posted 27 April 2016 - 11:59 AM

Haven't been to a lot of these but it's definitely La Moule for me so far. Love the music, atmosphere, and of course the Mussels. Given how my wife and I eat, it's actually very affordable too. Have been 5 times already. Excited to check out Rose VL.

 

Hoping someone says Whiz Bang so Nick's head catapults off and shoots into low earth orbit. 


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#6 Adam

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Posted 27 April 2016 - 12:12 PM

Predictably, I'll say P.R.E.A.M. I don't enjoy how loud they blast the music, but it's the best Neapolitan pizza in Portland right now.


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#7 nervousxtian

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Posted 27 April 2016 - 12:24 PM

I'm fully in on Pizza Jerk.

 

Also, I'm a believer in Pinolo like Nick... I wasn't super impressed my first visit.. but subsequent visits mark it as my favorite ice cream/gelato/whatever in town.



#8 StMaximo

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Posted 27 April 2016 - 02:06 PM

I've been to Burrasca a couple of times and really enjoyed it. Good food and the service was great.



#9 crepeguy

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Posted 27 April 2016 - 08:31 PM

We went to Wei Wei. It's a nice family run place that gets a lot of press/hype. It's kind of twee/hipster in approach/atmosphere. Food's good, though I think EC Kitchen may still be my favorite.

 

I went to Burrasca for lunch. Solid food with a decent wine list. The chef has wonderful passion and his wife is great at social media. It's a powerful combo. I also recommend Bellino Trattoria Siciliana. I prefer the Mediterranean influence over the northern.

 

La Moule is classy and a classic. If it were in my neighborhood, I would be there weekly. As it is, it's easier to drive over to St Jack than down to Clinton.

 

I've been to Pinolo a few times and tried their gelato/sorbetto once. As I recall, our Mr Taster was with us when I eventually got to try it. (The first time we went, the owner opened 45 minutes late, he truly is Italian.) I know ExtraMSG likes it. As I recall, I'm the one who told him about it and he thought it might be a chain, so he surmised it may not be good. I assured him it was owned by a private individual as told to me by one of his friends at a dinner at Langbaan.***   Whatever. I think Pinolo is good, especially their sorbetto, but I think Bassotto Gelateria on Dekum has just as good, if not better gelato. Their flavors in the nut department are more intense. 

 

I've been to Pizza Jerk a few times. I like it because I grew up with that style of pizza. As it goes, Tommy and I grew up in the same town, but he's 11 years younger, so our paths never crossed. It's a pretty small town. In that area of CT, his place would do well, but never enjoy the hype he enjoys here. As such, it's good, but not great. Now that he's opening a garden with seating for 100, the scene will be a cluster f*ck with Instagram scenesters, families and whatnot. I don't expect to go there much when the weather gets nicer. I attended P.R.E.A.M. when they were at Ned Lud. Never again. I'm too old for that, I'd take the wait at Apizza Scholls any day over that.

 

I haven't tried Chizu as I prefer my cheese at home, but I did try Coquine for a morning pastry and coffee. Another timeless space. I want to go back for dinner. The cute couple who own the place were busy playing with their cute baby dressed in a cute outfit. It was all so cute. Yes, I'd go back, it shows promise, but I may have to get my adequate dosage of THC before doing so. 

 

Milk glass mrkt, Maurice and Sweedeedee I lump all into the same category as cute/hipster/twee/portlandia whatever. I read recently via the Portland Food Dude that Beast is hosting a $150 pop-up dinner with eight dessert courses with wine. These "carefully curated" places, along with the food carts, bring the tourists. God bless these places for the foot traffic, but they're not my bag. Not in the least.

 

I've spent some time in Spain. I had my fill of Churros. A 1AM drunken stop at Chocolatería San Ginés in Madrid, and a morning coffee churros stop on some backstreet in Barcelona at what I think was Xurreria Trebol, also a place in Rhonda called Cafetería Churrería Alba. I look forward to trying 180 to see how they compare. Fried dough man, can't beat that. If Cafe Du Monde opened a branch here, they'd kill it = put Blue Star right out of business. Actually, with the right PR firm and the blessing of Karen Brooks, they'd put 1/2 the town out of business. 

 

Olympia Oyster Bar. Hey they're my next door neighbors. I think the two ladies running it have a lot of spirit. Their food can be good to excellent depending on the day you go and what they're offering. Menu changes often. Personally, I was hoping for a more casual situation, whereas this tends towards being somewhat pricy/precious. This is not a detriment, but when I get out of work I want a quick down some oysters and go, but Olympia is more formal than that. I think they're still finding their footing. Only time will tell.

 

Mississippi Ave is a tough street for restaurants. It's more known for its bar scene vs food. We went to Slate last week (formerly Equinox, same owners). food was good, though the portions are small. Service is still "off" though. Honestly, I expect people who liked Equinox may like Slate, but Radar is a notch above. Same goes for North Light, who changed chefs a few months back. With that change they now offer a menu that resonates more with the millennial set. Another tough spot to sustain a business. 

 

I look forward to trying Marukin Ramen when the hoopla dies down a bit. I have dined at the new Izakaya Kichinto a number of times. I wish them the best, but their having a rough start. Parking is nonexistent, and, at times, the service as well. We also just went to Akasaru Ramen on Alberta (same owners as Samurai Blue.) I enjoyed the chicken kara age, it comes pretty close to the boneless fried chicken bits I used to trade my Twinkies for with a classmate in 4th grade. To this day I have tried to replicate that recipe to no avail. Their ramen was good, though may not be good enough to compete with Boxer Ramen. Only time will tell.

 

***Thanks again pwillen1 for securing those seats. It truly meant a lot to us. I was upset you couldn't stay so we could enjoy our meals together, so I got a bit pissy about the SoCal Kardashian's at the table next to us. All that noise/cologne/perfume. Retched individuals. 



#10 Flynn

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Posted 28 April 2016 - 01:03 PM

Pretty awesome writeup, Crepeguy. Thanks for busting all that out. 

 

I still think Pizza Jerk will be a worthwhile visit when it gets more crowded, but I'll go off hours as per my usual strategy of all Portland hotspots. It's a great addition to that area.

 

I had some very mixed first experiences at PREAM but I think it's improved substantially in the last 6-9 months or so. The pizzas are uniformly good now, and the cocktails are very underrated. The crowds have died down a bit on weekend evenings as well. It's back in my regular rotation. I listen to old rap way too loud anyway so this just blends in with my normal level of tinnitus.

 

I really like Mae a lot. Some of the best fried chicken I've ever had. I think I should try out the meat and three Mondays, because Wednesday night is just a bit much to add more than once a quarter for me (and I haven't even been sticking to that). I think it's the best true southern food we've had in Portland thus far.



#11 crepeguy

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Posted 28 April 2016 - 02:34 PM

Pretty awesome writeup, Crepeguy. Thanks for busting all that out. 
 .


You're welcome, thank you Flynn.

#12 pwillen1

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Posted 04 May 2016 - 08:22 AM

Would be hard to pick between Mae and Chesa. Very different but both fantastic. You could do Chesa on a plate by plate basis and it's a Michelin quality food. Very excited about what's going on at Jolie Laide. That'll be the 2017 Restaurant of the Year, assuming all falls into place.

 

Maybe add Matt's BBQ (cart) to your list.


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#13 bwolff

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Posted 04 May 2016 - 08:37 AM

Is there a secret password to get into Mae? Every time I get an email from them saying we'll be serving dinner on X, 5 minutes later I get one saying "we're full."



#14 Flynn

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Posted 04 May 2016 - 11:03 AM

Depends on the week at Mae. Some weeks, Weds go in about five minutes and other weeks they're available for a few hours. It seems like Mondays are a little easier to get into for the meat and three.

 

She frequently posts cancellations so I'd follow her on Twitter/Instagram etc.



#15 Angelhair

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Posted 04 May 2016 - 02:55 PM

I love doing omakase at Chizu. Normally, I wouldn't order cheeses that I am very familiar with, for example, Red Hawk from Cowgirl Creamery. But Steve put this on a cheese board for us the other night, and it was in perfect condition. So fabulous. The service can be v-e-r-r-r-r-r-y slow, though FYI. I eat a ton of cheese at home, but usually not out, except at Chizu. Their accompniaments are fantastic and all house made and, like I said, they give you cheeses that are perfect ripeness.

 

Marukin -- Great Tokyo shoyu on our first visit, and the gyoza were good too. Kara age is fine, but not superior. Now open in Pine St. Market.

 

Pollo Bravo -- Now that is some tasty chicken! Small menu, but everything I've had on two visits is worth ordering again: papas bravas, salt cod fritters, asparagus w/romesco. Quite a few delicious gin & tonics on their cocktail menu. FYI, their space next door to Chizu looks like it's ready to open any day now. 

 

Pizza Jerk -- Yes. Great. Go. #slushieslut

 

Superbite -- just went in for drinks the other night, but got a look at the menu. Not at all what I was expecting. Very fish focused. The menu resembles American Local. Drinks are solid.

 

I personally think that both Mae Mondays and Taylor Railworks are over-rated. That being said, god DAMN that is some delicious mac & cheese, and the biscuit with cured ham is delicious too. The fried chicken is just ordinary, IMO. I'm also carving out a caveat for Taylor. I haven't had service that good in a very long time. 

 

Is Katchka still considered new? It's probably my favorite place in the city right now.

 

 

Under bars, I love, love, love Hamlet, both for meat and cocktails. You can always get a table there. Bit House is worth your time too.



#16 Angelhair

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Posted 24 May 2016 - 03:22 PM

Pollo Bravo is now open on Alder. Beer and wine (and sherry!) only. http://www.pollobravopdx.com/



#17 Laksa

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Posted 04 September 2016 - 12:15 PM

Pokemon--terrific poké bowls, reasonably priced. Lots going on in the various veggies and garnishes. Seaweed salad is also nice. Current fave is garlic salmon.

The taco bar which replaced sen-Yai. Honky Tonk Tacos? Anyway, great tacos, almost in the same league as MMM.

#18 nervousxtian

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Posted 05 September 2016 - 07:25 PM

Pokemon--terrific poké bowls, reasonably priced. Lots going on in the various veggies and garnishes. Seaweed salad is also nice. Current fave is garlic salmon.

The taco bar which replaced sen-Yai. Honky Tonk Tacos? Anyway, great tacos, almost in the same league as MMM.

 

The stuff I've heard about Honky Tonk was bad.. really bad.. did they improve recently?



#19 Kernel

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Posted 06 September 2016 - 08:23 AM

Pokemon--terrific poké bowls, reasonably priced. Lots going on in the various veggies and garnishes. Seaweed salad is also nice. Current fave is garlic salmon.

The taco bar which replaced sen-Yai. Honky Tonk Tacos? Anyway, great tacos, almost in the same league as MMM.

 

The stuff I've heard about Honky Tonk was bad.. really bad.. did they improve recently?

Went a couple of weeks and and thought it was pretty good, except the salsas. It's very "gringo" but overall the fillings and tortillas were tasty. The salsas - all of them - lack anything resembling flavor. 



#20 Flynn

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Posted 06 September 2016 - 10:23 AM

Been to Revelry a couple times now and it's definitely promising. Hope they stick to the late night hours (copyright 2004).