Jump to content


Park Kitchen

  • Please log in to reply
73 replies to this topic

#1 Jill-O

  • Moderator
  • 7,144 posts
  • Gender:Female
  • Location:Eastside, on the cusp between N and S

Posted 26 July 2005 - 02:26 PM

OK, Jamesongrrl and I went to Park Kitchen for lunch and it was really frustrating. I have had a very good lunch here a little over a year ago, and I had a not so great brunch here mid-June. Still, I wanted to give it the benefit of the doubt and give it another go. Today was it, I'm not going back. The service is too awful and the food just hasn't been as good as it was the first time I went. I know I haven't been for dinner, but why should I pay these people more money for a meal when the last 2 I have had there I didn't enjoy??!

We got there and it wasn't totally full/crowded. It took a while for them to get our order and then we didn't see any waitstaff (there are 2 servers, I think, for the whole place) for over 20 minutes (they were either behind the bar or outside, I suppose). We flagged down a server and asked/begged for our salad and mentioned that we had to get back to work and that we had been sitting there for almost a half hour. We got a salad split onto two plates as we said we were going to share it...too bad it wasn't the salad we ordered. Too bad we sent it back because it looked better than the salad we did order (summer bean salad w/hazelnuts...too bad it was mostly lettuce, a few huge favas, some green beans, and some less than tasty hazelnuts...blah). Ten minutes later, we had the salad we did order.

About five minutes later we got our main courses. My cripsy salmon was excellent, but it was billed as being served on a "green bean fricasse" and came on a brothy bunch of lima beans and little white beans with approximately one string bean cut up in the broth with a bit of dressed mizuna between the beany broth and the fish...odd. The overall dish was OK, not great, even though the salmon on top was fabulous.

We sat again and even though we ordered a dessert when we ordered everything else (because we thought it would help speed things along), we sat and waited...and then just got fed up and asked for the check. When the server told us that, "hey, I can get you your check and I think your dessert is up" we politely told him that we didn't have time to eat it because it and we had been sitting there for a while and could we please have our check. In all this time, btw, we never got a refill on our water and I never got a refill on my iced tea, either. Seriously.lousy.service.

Well, after about 10 more minutes we decided to get up and pay the check as we asked for it at the bar...and behind us walks up a couple that had been there before us and was served before us and just had a couple of orders of the tuna empanada (that Jamesongrrrl had and was pretty decent) and was still waiting for their check... He shoved cash into the hand of the woman behind the bar and said, "for two orders of empanadas" and kept walking... And also, the older couple who finished dining next to us got about 3 apologies before they walked out - so sorry you had to wait so long, etc. I guess if you are over 65, they hold the attitude, because no one seemed the least bit sorry for our trouble...

Dear folks at Park Kitchen...you have serious service issues. Your food isn't so inventive or so tasty as to make up for it and at the prices you charge, you need to pay more attention to the experience one has in your establishment.
Never give up! Never surrender!

#2 Jamesongrrl

  • Members
  • 1,137 posts
  • Gender:Female
  • Location:SE 39th & SE Belmont
  • Interests:Tied for first: Travel & Food & Motorcycles (particularly my BMW 650 GS)

Posted 29 July 2005 - 08:05 AM

I couldn't have said it better.

#3 ExtraMSG

  • Admin
  • 18,350 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Felony Flats
  • Interests:Me like food.

Posted 29 July 2005 - 12:53 PM

That's disappointing. I've never been for lunch. I always go for early dinners assuming they get slammed in their small restaurant. Sounds like they need to watch some episodes of Gordon Ramsay's Kitchen Nightmares. I've never had any problems at the early dinner times.

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 keith

  • Members
  • 83 posts

Posted 04 August 2005 - 04:05 PM

I had the same lunch experience there this last month. I had the salmon too. it was tasty. The service is where it fell apart. They had two servers/no bartender for the entire place. I was stuck waiting for drinks and water. I know they get stuck with only being able to have a small number of servers, but if they do that they better get good ones.


  • Members
  • 13 posts

Posted 08 August 2005 - 09:29 PM


I've not yet eaten at Park Kitchen.

I love to dine solo, showing up right at the beginning of dinner service, making it clear that I'm there to eat, not schmooz.

Park has been on my "to test" list for a long time. Has it's time passed?

#6 Leopoldo

  • Members
  • 522 posts
  • Location:SE Portland
  • Interests:Movies, music, movies, food and more movies.

Posted 09 August 2005 - 08:43 PM

I was just there on Sunday for brunch. We got there just after opening so we only had to compete with two other tables for the attention of the waitstaff. My experience was quite different, I got asked too many times if I needed anything or could use more watter. I thought the food was fine but not great and marked the place down for 'will return but not recommend'/
Come over to the dark side. We have cookies!

#7 keith

  • Members
  • 83 posts

Posted 10 August 2005 - 03:37 PM

it's still on my good list. Foglifter you should still go. I think they just have a bad waitor on their lunch they need to get rid of. I have had some great meals there.

#8 syrahgirl

  • Banned
  • 626 posts

Posted 10 August 2005 - 09:25 PM

We had dinner there a couple of months ago and really enjoyed our experience there. Service was very attentive, great food and nice ambiance. I will definitely return when we're in the Pearl District again. Cheers! :)

#9 FoodDude

  • Members
  • 57 posts
  • Location:Portland

Posted 12 August 2005 - 01:14 PM

I had lunch there a few weeks ago as part of a review I'm working on. We had excellent service, but the food was hit and miss. Empanadas were interesting in a good way, salads were just fine, but the 'house-made hotdog on the house-made bun with house-made castup' was very disappointing. The bun was dry which made the dry meat seem even drier. The whole thing sucked every bit of moisture right out of my mouth.

My problem with Park kitchen is it seems very hit and miss. Some dishes are great, but with others I can't help but wonder if the chef ever tastes his own cooking. This is true will brunch/lunch/dinner.

#10 chefivy

  • Members
  • 36 posts

Posted 16 August 2005 - 10:25 AM

wow that really suprises me. There's even one waitress in particular that I've made a point of remember so I can nominate Park Kitchen for one of the best restaurants for service. They've probably already canned the guy that you had problems with at lunch. And the hot dog, hmm, maybe it was just that day cuz I have a friend who swears by it as her ultimate hangover cure...I'd guess she's usually pretty thirsty those days.
I always have a great meal there, and I usually don't have trouble getting a table.

#11 keith

  • Members
  • 83 posts

Posted 19 August 2005 - 10:57 AM

There is a waitress that is great there. she has short hair.

#12 FoodDude

  • Members
  • 57 posts
  • Location:Portland

Posted 26 August 2005 - 07:31 PM

They have lost a lot of their best staff over the past six months. There is still one wonderful server from their original crew, but I think that is it (she has very short hair).

#13 girl_cook

  • Members
  • 55 posts

Posted 01 September 2005 - 07:53 AM

Her name is Anna and she has been working there since Park Kitchen opened.

#14 ExtraMSG

  • Admin
  • 18,350 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Felony Flats
  • Interests:Me like food.

Posted 01 September 2005 - 07:56 AM

Welcome to the site, girl_cook.

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

#15 mczlaw

  • Members
  • 571 posts
  • Gender:Male

Posted 31 January 2006 - 10:33 PM

My big up and comer may be Alberta St. Oyster Bar & Grill. And there are a lot of places new and old that I really enjoy on a regular basis. But the peak of places that epitomize Portland remains Park Kitchen. I was reminded why tonight. Of course, the focus is fresh, local and seasonal. But the delivery is achieved with such creativity and panache, I am astonished.

To wit:

Course #1: Marinated razor clams. Had a like dish at Fife and thought it was good. This version was great. The clams are cut into thin strips, marinated in a vinaigrette to tenderize and mixed with a few julienned celery pieces. The clam is then served with blood orange segments scattered about, and rests on top of a couple thin blood orange slices preserved in a sweet-hot syrup. When I first bit into the orange slice, I started thinking it was too sweet, then right as that thought was occurrring to me, the flavor changed to tart and then I caught the hint of chili. Wow.

Course #2: Endive, beet and duck ham salad. Simple, wonderful. A few Belgian endive leaves, a handful of cooked, cubed beets, some paper thin kumquat slices, shards of duck ham (which has the dry texture of a prosciutto) all topped with handful of toasted pistachio meats.

Main: Lamb cassoulet. For this variation on a winter classic, forget the duck and pork. Along with the beans and crumbs (backed by an evanescent citrus note) comes lamb three ways: (1) shredded (presumably shoulder) meat intermixed with the base; (2) a segment of thin lamb sausage; and (3) a small chop on top.

Dessert: The new kid, Tara, is coming into her own. I went with a chocolate panna cotta with (surprise) blood orange segments and a tiny spoonful of blood orange granita on top. The panna cotta had just the right texture (jiggly) and taste (creamy with a mild chocolate flavor).

The constant presence of blood oranges in this series was more my doing than the kitchen's. I picked these dishes. Though not local (what fruit is right now?), blood oranges are at peak season--and it is a good one. Most of the fruit is deeply blush colored and bears that unique and exotic berry/citrus flavor. (I've been buying them at Food Front lately for a relatively good price of $1.49/lb.) So soon they will be gone (or crappy) again.

With Dave Padberg teaming with Scott Dolich, and plenty of other talent at hand, this is one strong kitchen. And the party keeps on. There were corona beans on the burner for some new dishes going on the menu Wednesday. Meanwhile, while Padberg was running the kitchen tonight, the head chef was doing some of his own demo work next door in the expansion space. They are shooting for a mid-spring opening.

(Disclosure: Scott's become a pretty good friend over the last couple years. So, if you don't believe me, try it for yourself.)


#16 pearlpear

  • Members
  • 33 posts
  • Interests:Food writing, cooking and baking, outdoor activities, eating out

Posted 11 April 2006 - 09:57 AM

It was such a lovely evening last Friday night in Portland Town. We found ourselves in the mood for a good meal and chose Park Kitchen. Living in the Pearl, we both were amazed that we had never made the short walk to this tiny restaurant.
Let me just say that the service was excellent. Our server was easy going and friendly. He was also quite knowledgeable. In fact, we ended up allowing him to choose our drinks for each course, and we were not disappointed. Rather, we were quite pleased with the results. We also chose the tasting menu as it was our first visit and everything looked good. (This happens when you are hungry.)
Our cold plates were the roasted beets, goat cheese and toasted almond tahini salad and slices of blue cheese between fresh oat wafers, served with a rhubarb sauce done two ways. They were both excellent plates; however, the blue cheese plate was one of those dishes that you never forget. It was exceptional. My only disappointment was knowing that it was not a menu item and that I may never be able to eat it again. (Tragic really.)
Our hot plates were also amazing. The chick pea fries with pumpkin ketchup were unique and tasty. We also had a bowl something perfect and aromatic. It was so good it required bread for sopping, though I am not sure what this was. I was so taken that I forgot to notice and just got lost in the moment. I know there was broth, mussels, beans, Meyer Lemon, good, good, good. (I needed to be home, curled up by the fire, with rain falling softly on the ground.)
Our two main dishes were also good. Rabbit, malt vinegar greens and peanut romesco and black cod hot pot. The rabbit was good, but not up to par with the rest of the food served. The black cod hot pot was superb. The Asian influence was excellent and a very satisfying dish.
Dessert was also wonderful. The coconut panna cotta with lime syrup was so good. A perfect end to a great meal. The chocolate truffle dessert was also good, though I preferred the panna cotta.
To the staff of PK: Thank you for a wonderful dinner and please think about adding the blue cheese plate to your menu.

Question: Do you think Park Kitchen is worthy of the best restaurant nod from The Oregonian? I personally do not place much stock in awards, because food, like many things in life, involves so many elements, and for it to be good is more than just the food and the restaruant. I have to be in the mood. Sometimes the best food is wings from FOTM. Other times it is BBQ. Still, Burgerville will be great in a pinch. Somedays it is a perfect cup of coffee or take out from Pok Pok. Then there are days like last Friday when I long for a good meal in a casual place. Park Kitchen had my vote that night, however, depending on my mood other places would as well. Anyway...thoughts....

#17 Jamesongrrl

  • Members
  • 1,137 posts
  • Gender:Female
  • Location:SE 39th & SE Belmont
  • Interests:Tied for first: Travel & Food & Motorcycles (particularly my BMW 650 GS)

Posted 12 April 2006 - 10:12 AM

Hi PearlPear!

I actually disagree with you about Park Kitchen. (that's OK- people can disagree on the board - doesn't mean I like you any less. Taste is subjective.) :(
I had recently post it under the worst restaurants thread. (Though I should really call it 'most overrated' rather than 'worst' as there definately are places with BAD food, BAD decore and BAD service.)

I've had lunch there several times in the last year (as I now work in the Pearl) (and I know another poster on this board who has been for lunch AND brunch and dislikes it as well. I'll let them post if they wish.)

I've gone on the spur of the moment and I have called ahead for reservations.
I have ordered my meal one course at a time, or all at once at the beginning of the meal.
I have told them I have a limit of roughly 1 hour for lunch, and not told them.

Everytime I've been the service has been REDICULOUSLY slow. So much so that almost every time I've been I sat for 10 minutes to get menu's and water and then another 15 to get my drink. Salads took another 15 and my entree's arrived over 50 minutes after I arrived.
Everytime I've had to cancel desert because I didn't have time to wait another 1/2 hour. I've tried ordering all at once right when I arrive, explaining that I have 1 hour to 1 hour 15 minutes for lunch and they expressed it wouldn't be a problem. It was.
I had to go hunt down my own check to finally get to leave.

On top of all that the food was OK, but uninspired and nothing WOWed me. Even though I'm not a huge fan of the cost at Everett st bistro I'd still go back to that place once in a blue moon for the French Onion Soup (some of the best in town.) But nothing on the Park kitchen menu is good enough to go back for, especially with the bad service.
(It wasn't an attitude problem just that the servers were either completely over worked or didn't have enough experience to handle the crowd - an honestly- the place isn't that big and it was full but not SLAMMED, there weren't people milling out on the sidewalk waiting for spots....)

If they can't get both the food/service right for lunch or brunch- I'm definately not going to return for dinner.

And although I agree that awards are to narrow minded- I definately would not put them in the running for 'Best Restaurant in PDX'.
In my experience I like Paley's. I've also heard good things about Olea too.
If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world.
-J.R.R. Tolkien

#18 j_schmeckl

  • Members
  • 103 posts
  • Location:NE Pdx

Posted 12 April 2006 - 06:02 PM

Park Kitchen has been a favorite of ours for brunch for as long as they've been open. We probably have ended up there once every three to six weeks and it has always been great -- food always interesting and well-executed and service OK to very good.

Then we went on a Sunday less than a month ago -- which may be the key because I think virtually every other time we went it was on a Saturday. The one waiter that was working there seemed to be stuck in first gear even with a pretty full house (rare for PK brunch-time) and must have felt he was making better use of his time adjusting the position of chairs around an empty table by less than an inch than asking us if we wanted any friggin' coffee. I'm not a service snob at all but this visit had bad mojo written all over it and we just left after about 10 minutes without the waiter so much as making eye contact with us.

It's a moot point now (since they're quitting brunch) but that "moist" omelette another poster mentioned in another thread was something that you could have gotten at PK once upon a time.

And by the way, why do the <wink> emoticons in all these BB engines look so stupid? I mean, what the heck is this: :bottomsup: ?

#19 Amanda

  • Moderator
  • 7,626 posts
  • Location:NE Portland
  • Interests:Eating, cooking, kayaking, canoeing, letterboxing

Posted 26 April 2006 - 01:59 PM

AH! I got taken to Park Kitchen for lunch today by a couple co-workers. What a sublime meal.

We started off with Ken's bread and some very fruity olive oil (I don't think people should have to pay extra for bread, but we did all the same and it was excellent). We all had mixed green salads that had a light, flavorful dressing. The salad also had radishes on it for those that like that sort of thing. Two of us had the Pork Belly, Papardelle, rapinini, goat cheese entree and the other of us had a salmon fricasse with spring peas. All of us were more than thrilled with our meal and have vowed to go back again.

It was a very pleasurable experience. We had excellent service, though not speedy. We made the mistake of seating ourselves by the front door, so each time anyone came in or out, we about froze (not a warm day today) and I agree with Heather's assessment that it would be difficult to get in and out of there with a limited lunch hour (luckily one of the co-workers was my supervisor, so it was OK this time).

I think I would recommend this restaurant gladly. I also think I may come back again but for dinner when I know I can enjoy it in a leisurely fashion. I was very pleased with the experience overall.

Best regards,


#20 enjoyseverythingpdx

  • Members
  • 16 posts

Posted 02 June 2006 - 09:49 AM

I just tried Park Kitchen last night and LOVED it.... It was a bit spendy, but well worth it. The service was phenomenal, the food was creative...
Any thoughts?