Posted 25 July 2005 - 11:22 AM
(I actually went on July 16th, so I apologize in the delay in posting.)
My partner decided to surprise me on my birthday by 'taking me to a restaurant he hadn't heard me talk about.' I was surprised- a restaurant I didn't know in PDX- oooooooo.
So we arrived at Carlyle. Located in an out of the way spot on NW Thurman & 17th. A NW part of the Pearl that hasn't been upgraded in the mad rush of recent years.
The atmosphere was dark wood, cool, and warm art on the walls.
The host, who might have been a owner/co-owner or manager, Michael, sat us and was very friendly. We did discuss the fact that I was involved in the food scene in Portland and was surprised to learn about Carlyle. It was very obvious that Michael wanted to get the word out and was very nice, even giving us a tour of the kitchen after the meal. Which it should be noted that the kitchen is one large open room, and there is a special table in the kitchen for large special parties (holds about 10 I'd guess but don't quote me on it.) Might be a great dining option for a group.
*Maybe a PortlandFood Dinner?* Let me know if anyone is interested and I'll call em up (I still have Michael's card.) As ExtraMSG noted - it can hold up to 18.... (and this would probably be a bit more expensive than the usual $15 group dinner cost.) But I can do the research if people are interested....
I started my evening with a Cucumber Martini. Vodka infused cucumber. Very light & very refreshing on such a beautiful summer day. The drink menu had a lot of classics that had been updated - newer versions of the Sidecar, or the Rusty Nail (that type of stuff.) I saw a lot of drinks I was interested in.
(Unfortunately they do not do a 'happy hour' so to say. No drink specials and only a few food specials- many of the items coming off their main menu at a very similar cost. BUT they do $1 martini's on Monday.)
For starters I had the oysters on the half shell and my partner had the mussels in a chorizo & tomato broth.
My partner really enjoyed the mussels. Usually you're pretty limited to 3 options, tomato broth, white wine or coconut. This was a great dish and different than the norm. My partner does like chorizo sausage though so I'm sure some may not like it as much.
As for my starter they had two types of oysters available that evening and I choose the Kumamoto. They were the smallest, most delicate Kumamoto's I've ever had. Very impressive.
Next we had salads.
I had the heirloom tomato salad and my partner had the Caesar. He liked his Caesar fine but put it as pretty standard. The leaf was served whole with long thin breadsticks. (Best Caesar was still the tableside Caesar at El Gaucho.)
My heirloom tomato salad was very good. Fresh tomatoes. The biggest draw back was that it came with fried Parmesan, which although looked as if it was fried perfectly to a golden brown- tasted burnt. So I just put it to the side.
Our entrees were the Alaskan Halibut Cheeks with homemade Mac & Cheese, and the Loin of Lamb.
My halibut cheeks were wonderful. Not over cooked and I really like the pairing with the Mac and cheese. They make their own pasta for the Mac and cheese- these little round balls that almost make it feel like a risotto.
My dining companion seemed to really enjoy their lamb. Though I did not have any I did notice that the lamb looked as if it was cook very well- not over done.
I should also mention that I did get in to a discussion with our waiter about whether or not Carlyle served Foie Gras, so later - the chef sent out a plate on the house. A very nice gesture.
Overall I enjoyed Carlyle. They were very attentive. They had a lot of drinks I enjoyed (not a menu full of candy martini's.) They had wonderful ingredients and well prepared dishes. They had a nice atmosphere...a bit classic- nothing to 'new' or 'hip'. Closer to a McCormicks or Mortons than Bluehour or Wildwood - if you catch my drift.
I would recommend it to people visiting Portland. There were some Italian influenced items but a lot of the dishes have great NW ingredients - oysters, tomatoes, mussels, lamb, halibut....
It is not quite as 'local' as Wildwood but definitely a more refined atmosphere. (Wildwood I feel like it is nice but I could go in jeans if the mood suits me- I probably wouldn't at Carlyle.)
Haven't been to Hurley's yet so can't compare. Like it a bit better than Higgins.
Overall, since it seems a bit over-looked in the food circles, I want to put a good nod in and send some people their way. I will be going back. Enjoy!
Posted 26 July 2005 - 08:58 AM
I think it would be fun at the chef's table in the kitchen at the Carlyle. I'll keep my eyes open to see if it developes!
Posted 26 July 2005 - 09:07 AM
Posted 26 July 2005 - 09:28 AM
turned a bit cool on the place. That's ok - he is occasionally given to making a display of his iconoclastic instincts. I still sense that there could be some appeal to this place. So, it's going in my book for early September. Based on the address you mentioned, it must be out around the Norm Thompson store. How's handicapped access? My usual dinner companion is in a wheelchair. Thanks again.
Posted 10 December 2005 - 09:06 AM
I had the Oregon Matsutaki Risotto for an appetizer. The flavors of the mushrooms were woody and the crab was very sweet. The risotto had just an edge of texture (not all mushy) to it. And the goat cheese made it very creamy.
Jill-o had half a dozen oysters on the half shell to start. 2 of each kind they serve. I had a taste of one.
Jill-O's main course was Pan Roasted “Rib Eye” of milk fed Veal . I don't generally care for veal but it was great. The brioche on the side was rich and wonderful.
I had the Double-Cut Carlton Farms Pork Chop with winter squash-potato hash, thyme infused-lemongrass apple compote, hard cider reduction. The meat was perfectly done. And the flavors of everything were in harmony but also just popping out in my mouth.
For dessert I had the Wine Poached Pear with pomegranate sorbet. It came decorated with spun sugar. It was beautiful and the combination of the delicate sweet pear (poached in white wine not red) and the slightly tart pomogranate was sublime. It was light and perfect.
Jill-O had Apple Charlottes with buttermilk ice cream, honey-quince compote and Zante currants. It was rich and tasty.
The Carlyle is expensive (not as bad as Hurley's) but worth it in terms of the whole experience.
The ambiance of the room is great too. Modern but chic and classic. It makes Bluehour look like a dive. The food and service also put Bluehour to shame. It's a bit cold because of the way the entrance works and that's my only complaint in that area.
If you want to indulge yourself, I'd recommend this place.
Here's a link to the menu:
Posted 10 December 2005 - 10:01 AM
I had a hard time deciding what to have last night because there were so many choices on the menu that sounded delicious. I thought that I would be less than thrilled with the sides that came with my entree: cauliflower risotto and herbed brioche (I'm not a fan of risotto, and I thought, great, a piece of bread as a side dish...). But I was wrong, the risotto was perfectly prepared and tasty and the herbed brioche was rich and wonderful and a great thing to soak up the meat juice and veloute on my plate. And the glass of Elk Cove '03 pinot was very nice with it all.
Plates going to other tables looked fabulous as well such as the mussels, halibut cheeks, ahi tuna. And I have to say the the desserts lived up to the rest of the meal. The delicious poached pear with tart pomegranate sorbet arrived on a bed of spun sugar with a spun sugar cap and it glistened in the low light of the restaurant - it was gorgeous. My apple charlotte with buttermilk ice cream was wonderful - I think they used the same rich and fabulous brioche that was a side to my entree...just wish that there was more ice cream there, especially since it melted fast next to the charlotte.
As you can see from the link below, it is one of the more expensive places to eat in town with entrees ranging from $22-32. It is, however, a very good value for what you get for the money. Better value than Hurley's, better food and space than bluehour (and most other places) and parking is really easy over on 16th and Thurman.
If you like high-end dining, I'd say you need to try Carlyle.
(And no, Bobby Short is not apperaing there nightly...) :wink:
Posted 12 December 2005 - 02:10 PM
I enjoyed my meal back there in July and tried to point some more patrons their way.....
I would definately recommend it.
Posted 13 January 2006 - 09:57 PM
The chef sent out one hell of an amuse course for us (our waiter recognized us and we think requested it from Chef Dan for us - Calabrese says his name is Tim...and he is worth asking for by name): a savory perigord truffle custard with an amazing fish and veal reduction on top, topped by those amazing truffles, with a disc of parmesan frico perched on top of the dish with some lightly dressed micro greens balanced on top. The richness of the custard and reduction gelee was cut by the micro greens (which had a great bright preserved lemon dressing) and it was all quite trufflicious.
I started with 6 perfect Baron Point oysters with a fabulous mignionette sauce ($14) and Calabrese had the mussels with chorizo ($11). The mussels were a great value - a big bowl of mussels and chorizo with lots of tasty broth. Yum.
I had perfectly done grilled salmon which was sitting in a delicious pool of herby, buttery, creamy nage and on top of a lovely pile of dungeness crab, gnocchi, and vegetable spaghetti with some lightly dressed greens on top ($26). There was preserved lemon here and there which was a very nice flavor note and the whole dish was just great. Not too heavy, but not too light either.
Calabrese had a very tasty hangar steak with garlic mashed and great spinach ($32). It was very rich and tasty. But she can tell you more.
Chef Dan came out to chat with us and we asked about the amuse and he seemed happy to tell us all about it. He mentioned a new Chenin Blanc soon to be on the wine list and the next thing we knew, there were two very healthy taste pours of it in front of us! wow...nice...
We were full, but the desserts here are great and we could not pass it up...nor could we agree to share only one of them. ;o) Calabrese had what is probably one of the best plates of tiramisu I have ever tasted. It was also gorgeous ($7.50). I had a winter fruits crisp sampler ($8) - 5 individual cobbler samples, each on a different asian soup spoon (the large melamine plastic kind): quince and currant, apple, huckleberry, pear and port, roasted pineapple - along with a 6th spoon with a small scoop of ice cream (which was cherry, btw). It was a brilliant plate and tasty as all get out. A bite or two of each was perfect...and no, I can't pick a favorite...they were all great. The pastry chef,
As if all this wasn't enough food, Tim brought a plate of 4 different cookies with the check!! Poor Calabrese was groaning...
Food and service were damn near perfect. With a couple of glasses of champagne, coffee, and a shared shot of Bailey's for the coffee, the total bill was about $135...and for this level of dining, I think it was a great value.
If you have not been to Carlyle, and you like high end dining, you need to go there. You cannot go wrong with that menu...but be sure to leave room for dessert!!
Posted 14 January 2006 - 08:53 AM
Between the way too many mussels in the appetizer and richness of the steak in its sauce, I just could not finish that most excellent tiramisu and the cookies with the bill were beyond me, even though I really wanted a bit of the mini lemon tart and the chocolate fig cookie.
And the amusee was completely amazing. Hurley's would be pressed to make anything that complex.
The french press coffees that Carlyle uses are unique and their descriptions of the choise are well done.
The service and food at Carlyle is outstanding. And I like the cool, understated ambiance. Their music fits the place well too.
I have mourned the loss of Cafe des Amis and my waiter (John) there for the last time. The Carlyle has totally solidified as my number place in PDX. If you have a special occassion or you just want to treat yourself, Carlyle's will please.
Posted 16 January 2006 - 12:36 PM
On second thought...nah!
Posted 16 January 2006 - 08:31 PM
I agree it's a lot for a hanger steak but it was a lot nicer piece of meat (I am the very rare type) than anything else I have had in Portland for the past year. It was sort of set-up as a "skirt" steak around the spinach topped potatoes. I've had much tougher meat of a "better cut" elsewhere (thinking of Paley's in specific). And the prep for the sauce, etc. was above what happens with your general hangar steak.
Posted 27 January 2006 - 11:53 AM
Can't wait to be back in the area again, for a few days.
Posted 27 January 2006 - 12:05 PM
Carlyle does serve lunch. I've only had their more pedestrian items then, but they have one of the better burgers and fries in town. Caesar is nothing special.
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
Posted 27 January 2006 - 12:14 PM
I wonder if they still have that assortment of fruit crisps as previously mentioned, I've been craving one of those lately, and I really enjoy having several small items to sample. I'll post a review on our lunch there when we return.
We may be hanging around for dinner, I'd like to try Olea since we may be dining at Chateaulin (French) on our way up, if I can give up a meal at Peerless. Gower Street Bistro is the other option if we decide to head over to the coast before dinner. Love their chocolate pot de creme there and their gnocchi in brown butter!
Of course, a meal at Pacific Way and Stephanie Inn (gotta check out Crystal Corbin's stuff) are on my list for coastal delights!
Posted 09 February 2006 - 01:24 PM
I started with the Winter Salad, Bittersweet Farms Greens, roasted Cinderella pumpkin (very unique touch), polenta crutons, Gala apples and goat cheese vinaigrette. This salad was very fresh, tho a bit dry on the dressing, which may have been a good thing!
My entree wsa the Seared Diver Scallops on Saffron Risotto with Crisp Prosciutto, Grilled asparagus and Balsamic Reduction. The portion was just right and I enjoyed every taste of this entree, but not as much as the scallops I had at clarklewis for lunch one visit.
We skipped dessert since we would be dining at Gower St. in Cannon Beach and wanted to save our sweet treat for the chocolate pot de creme here. (They were out of it, but their creme brulee was perfectly prepared and was a nice substitute.)
Overall impression: Carlyle is very nice with good service and great food. I would like to try dinner here sometime. Fenouil or Olea will be our next dining venues. I really want a repeat dinner at Paley's Place, also.
Posted 09 February 2006 - 02:01 PM
I like the room, I like the service, I like the choices.
We don't eat red meat and so many restaurants will throw some rabbit or meat of some sort into a lot of dishes, here we had a nice choice.
Posted 04 March 2006 - 10:35 AM
The numbers seem high, but for the quality of the ingredients and the preparation and the amazing service it is a great value.
Posted 05 March 2006 - 09:10 AM