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23 Hoyt


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#1 truth

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Posted 24 October 2006 - 09:09 AM

Has anyone visited 23 Hoyt yet? I was thinking about going tonight.
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#2 FoodDude

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Posted 24 October 2006 - 09:34 AM

Has anyone visited 23 Hoyt yet? I was thinking about going tonight.


Aside from the bulls-eye artwork, for such a new restaurant the food is pretty darn good .

#3 ExtraMSG

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Posted 07 December 2006 - 11:44 PM

First visit to 23 Hoyt tonight. I left satisfied, but not exactly impressed. But I really have no complaints. I don't know if it's just today, or all the tacos I've eaten the last few days, but I felt like I should have enjoyed my meal more.

I stopped by Ken's Place after dinner to drop off an order of tacos for Ken and Chelsea and showed him the menu. I never ate at Zefiro, but he said it was like their menu had been resurrected. And maybe that's part of the problem. Zefiro has been such an influence locally -- as have the places where Israel trained -- that the menu seems too familiar. Some samplings:

* Tuscan white bean soupwith extra virgin olive oil and parmesan ($6)
* Deep fried ravioli croquettes filled with porcini and housemade mozzarella ($7)
* Steamed blue mussels with saffron, cream, leeks, and fennel ($9)
* Risotto with dungeness crab, scallions, lemon, and chervil ($14)
* Spatzle with braised rabbit, chanterelles, leeks, creme fraiche, dill, chives, and crispy shallots ($19)
* Moroccan lamb tagine with baby artichokes, preserved lemon, and kalamata olives on cous cous harissa. ($22)
* Grilled New York steak with mustard-shallot butter, french fries, and watercress ($29)

My wife and I started with the prosciutto di parma with pears and persimmon (and pomegranate -- that's a lot of "P" for $10) and the blood oranges with red onion, black olives, hot pepper oil, and mint ($8). It seemed like a generous portion of prosciutto topped with wedges of the fruit, sprinkled with the pomegranate seeds. The pomegranate added a nice tanginess missing in the other components. The fruit and ham went very nicely, of course, and both were nicely ripe.

The blood oranges had one ingredient too many, imo: the olives. Otherwise they were very simple and very good. Quite juicy and flavorful oranges cut into thick peeled slices were topped with raw onion rings, olives, and mint. The salty astringency of the olives just seemed to clash with the sourness of the oranges and bite of the onion. The pepper oil created a building heat in your mouth and even my wife liked how it rounded out the dish.

For our entrees, my wife got the roast duck breast and braised leg with spiced red cabbage, roasted apples, and yukon gold potato-parsnip puree ($23). I got the grilled swordfish with Spanish hazelnut-red pepper sauce, fried potatoes, and sauteed spinach with golden raisins ($27). My wife's duck was cooked perfectly. The breast was tender and juicy with most of the fat rendered off leaving a very crisp skin. She even ate the skin. Normally should would tear it off because of the fat. The leg was fork tender and succulent. Both were sitting in a pool of reduction. The cabbage was shredded and soft, more tangy from vinegar, I think, than spicy. Went good with the rich, sweet meat. The puree was very light and creamy and had a good balance of potato vs parsnip. The apples were a little undercooked, too hard to be cut with a fork, and a little bland, neading something to awaken the flavor.

My swordfish was also perfectly cooked. It had a big, nice cross-hatch of deep grill marks and was tender and juicy without being mushy. The sauce was very enjoyable, nutty and a little spicy, tasting almost Mexican. The potatoes were very crisp on the outside and heavily seasoned. They tasted like a gourmet version of BBQ potato chips. The greens were a little salty, but delicious. The raisins didn't come through much, though. I think they had lost their flavor in the cooking process.

We split a dessert, the persimmon pudding "a traditional holiday cake" with raisins, walnuts, and creme anglaise ($8). It was very moist and complex. The persimmon flavor didn't really come through. It was mostly about the spices -- ginger, cinnamon, and other sweet spices. The creme anglaise was a little too blah and thin. There were also these really nice pieces of dried persimmon, I believe. Those were the best part: crisp, sweet, tart, and flavorful.

I realize I've said little bad about the meal. The portions were very fair. Prices are expensive for Portland, but in line with, perhaps even cheaper than, places like Wildwood, Paley's, Carlyle, et al. Even those complaints I had were minor. But still, both me and my wife concluded that the meal was just lacking something, something neither of us could really pinpoint. Seasoning? Intensity? Creativity? Just a little more tanginess or sweetness here and there? I'm not sure. But while I enjoyed the meal and had no significant complaints, I feel no desire to rush back. Perhaps I'm just burned out on this style of food and that's why I've been so excited about places like Pok Pok and taco trucks lately. Not sure. Really, I feel like I should have liked the meal more and I feel a little guilty for having to say that I didn't.

Service was very attentive. We were there really early and the only table downstairs for a while. Our server was anxious to pick up our plates or fill our water.

Wish I would have known about the free valet parking when it was Balvo. Would have given it a try. Zipped right up tonight, dropped off the car, and even got to do a little Christmas shopping after dinner with my sweet parking spot. And all it cost me was a few bucks for a tip. Better than SmartPark.

Superficially, the interior is fittingly chic for such a prime spot in NW (although a Starbucks, Pizzicatto, Noah's, and McMenamins are the closest other eateries). But their are some incongruities, the bullseyes, which to my gutter-minded sensibilities seems more like a pyschadelic Hooter's graphic. The antlers chandalier is also a little odd. And I'm not sure I'll be giving my grammy a gift certificate so she can go sit below an ink drawing of a Jerry Garcia type with his shirt off and Pepe the twink hustler stradddling a sign announcing "I [HEART] BJ". There's a real clashing mix of art. It's beyond eclectic.

But that's all secondary to the food and not THAT big of a deal anyway. The place is comfortable with fabric tablecloths, soft bench seating, and even padded tables. It's softly lit, but not dark. And even the bathrooms have a bit of style.

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 Epicurious

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Posted 08 December 2006 - 11:34 AM

Interesting review. That you equate the menu/food with Zefiro, is in a way, unfortunate. Zefiro, for all it's trailblazing, is a restaurant from another time. Many of the city's current crop of diners may not even be aware of the connection. Sadder still is the fact that when Zefiro came onto the scene, (what, ten years ago?) there was little in the form of competition, which surely compounded its impact. To exploit Chris Israel's return, like a pheonix rising from the ashes, places him sqaurely in the middle of a far more competitive environment, and (one could argue) a more sophisticated dining public.

I think the menu sounds very good, but like yourself, I somehow don't feel drawn. It will be intersting to see how this one plays out.

#5 Calabrese

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Posted 08 December 2006 - 01:47 PM

MSG you are dead on about the menu being in line with a Zefiro menu

#6 ExtraMSG

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Posted 08 December 2006 - 03:26 PM

It's Ken's claim, not mine. I never went to Zefiro.

I think people should give it a try. I think that if you like Wildwood, Paley's, Carlyle, Castagna, etc, that it's probable you'll like 23 Hoyt (based on this meal). The food was certainly executed well. I've only had one other place cook the duck breast that perfectly this year: Carlyle. Even this morning, a couple leftover slices in the fridge were butter-tender and tasty. I'm perfectly willing to accept that it may be me as much as the restaurant here until I get a few more meals in and can better articulate what I do and don't like about their food. But it's possible the dishes could end up leaving me feeling like the dishes at Paley's and Castagna do, just like there should be a little more umph or soul or character or intensity or something that makes them rise -- at least on occasion -- above well-executed and tasty to lick-the-plate-clean transcendent.

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


#7 Flynn

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Posted 08 December 2006 - 04:21 PM

I really like the space and the food, but I've only had small plates, so I feel like I can't fully judge it. I will say that the orange and avocado salad is one of the better dishes in Portland I've had all year. Too much mint or fennel and it would've been wrecked, but there's a deft hand at work on that dish. Cocktails are a pretty good, but there's a million places now where you can get expensive drinks with 2845 infused liquors. Just a top-flight gin and tonic would be fine. $5 would be nice too.

I will comment on the excellent service. Orders are taken in just the right timeframe, without being hurried and paying close attention who needs more wine or drinks. Every now and then, places like Carlyle stumble on this and you can sit for too long waiting to order or get something to the table. 23 Hoyt seems to employ many people that work hard to get this right.

And I know I piss and moan about PDX service far too much, but I completely concede getting the above right night-in and night-out is a bitch. You have to be on top of things. So when I put down 20% on a larger bill, I feel right about it.

#8 mkmnw

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Posted 08 December 2006 - 05:03 PM

Does anyone know if 23 Hoyt has a happy hour?

I'm pleased to hear about the quality of service. The two times I went to Balvo, the servers found just the right level of attentiveness.

#9 Angelhair

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Posted 05 June 2007 - 10:32 AM

23 Hoyt will open for lunch during the summer.

#10 Angelhair

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Posted 12 June 2007 - 07:51 AM

I just got an e-mail from them saying that they are offering HH starting today. All this and free valet parking! Here's the menu:

23Hoyt Happy Hour Menu
served Tuesday-Saturday until 7 pm

Drink Specials from the bar
Cocktail of the day 4.00
Zefi ro Martini 5.00
Strawberry Margarita 5.00
Mirror Pond Pale Ale on draft 3.00
Red Wine 6.00
Chianti Colli Senesi, Francisc Bonfi o, IT ‘04
White Wine 6.00
Vinho Verde, Quinta do Feital, “Auratus”, POR ‘05
Rosé Wine 6.00
Minervois, Château d’Oupia, FR ‘06

ONE DOLLAR Snacks
Gaufrette potato chips
House cured olives with lemon and bay leaves
Roasted whole almonds with sea salt

TWO DOLLAR Snacks
Fried potatoes with smoky paprika and aioli
Fried chick peas with hot pepper fl akes
Bruschetta n’capriata — with white bean puree
and garlicky greens

THREE DOLLAR Snacks
Two oysters with mignonette
Salmon tartare with scallions and lemon
Pork and cabbage sausage
Suppli al telefono - wild mushroom rice croquettes
fi lled with fresh mozzarella
Tortilla español

FOUR DOLLAR Snacks
Grilled goat cheese wrapped in radicchio
with tapenade and grilled bread
Todays’s soup
Whole leaf Caesar salad
Housemade pâté with cornichons,
whole grain mustard
Hummus with pita bread and radishes
Grilled prawn skewer with roasted pepper aioli
Pitza — pita bread pizza with mozzarella,
za’atar and sesame seeds

FIVE DOLLAR Snacks
Anitpasti - Fra’Mani salame, cheese,
roasted peppers and oil cured olives
Grilled chicken skewer in an Algerian marinade
with cucumber yoghurt salad
23 Burger - fresh ground chuck, jack cheese,
avocado, brioche bun, pickles, ketchup,
french fries
Grilled panino with gruyere and prosciutto

#11 Kristi

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Posted 12 June 2007 - 07:58 AM

I saw that this morning, too! I love that HH goes until 7 pm, including Saturdays and it looks like a pretty good menu. I want to give it a try now!

#12 Jamesongrrl

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Posted 12 June 2007 - 08:08 AM

I got the email as well.
I have to admit I snickered when I read these two things together:
"HAPPY HOUR and OLD WORLD cuisine may not seem to fit together on a page, but when you see the new Happy Hour menu at 23Hoyt it will make sense."
Then on the menu:
"23 Burger - fresh ground chuck, jack cheese,
avocado, brioche bun, pickles, ketchup, french fries"

I know what they are trying to say but burger doesn't really scream 'old world' to me. :rolleyes:
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#13 Angelhair

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Posted 12 June 2007 - 08:12 AM

I saw that this morning, too! I love that HH goes until 7 pm, including Saturdays and it looks like a pretty good menu. I want to give it a try now!


I am pretty booked this week. How about next week? Tuesday or Thursday?

#14 Kristi

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Posted 12 June 2007 - 08:14 AM

I could do next Thursday.

#15 Jill-O

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Posted 12 June 2007 - 08:16 AM

It is, understandably, like a Mediterranean version of saucebox's HH menu...which is great. I'm interested too...but can only make it on a Fri. or Sat., so have a drink and some nibbles for me!
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#16 Angelhair

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Posted 12 June 2007 - 08:22 AM

I could do Friday too!

#17 Calabrese

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Posted 12 June 2007 - 01:00 PM

I could do Friday too!





Friday could be good for me too.

#18 kaetum

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Posted 12 June 2007 - 01:07 PM

I am in for Thursday or Friday. Can get there by 5:30.

#19 Jill-O

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Posted 14 June 2007 - 10:13 AM

Are we doing this tomorrow??

Calabrese? Angelhair? kaetum?
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#20 Angelhair

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Posted 14 June 2007 - 10:16 AM

Oh, I thought it was next week. I'm doing Jade w/Pez this week. Want to go next week?