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Cafe Nell


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#1 Angelhair

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Posted 09 February 2008 - 08:44 AM

WW is buzzing about the successor to Hurley's:

The knockout Northwest nook that once was home to Cafe des Amis , and more recently the much buzzed about Hurley's, is about to drop any pretensions of frou-frou-ness and become "a neighborhood hangout."

According to the person who was tearing down all the ivy that has covered this brick building as long as anyone can recall, the new restuarant, called Nell's, will focus on American cuisine. It's scheduled to open sometime in May. Details to follow.


http://www.wweek.com/wwire/?p=10732

#2 truth

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Posted 11 February 2008 - 04:43 PM

WW is buzzing about the successor to Hurley's:

The knockout Northwest nook that once was home to Cafe des Amis , and more recently the much buzzed about Hurley's, is about to drop any pretensions of frou-frou-ness and become "a neighborhood hangout."

According to the person who was tearing down all the ivy that has covered this brick building as long as anyone can recall, the new restuarant, called Nell's, will focus on American cuisine. It's scheduled to open sometime in May. Details to follow.


http://www.wweek.com/wwire/?p=10732



I spoke to one of the owner's and I believe it will be called Cafe Nell rather than Nell's. I'm hoping to do an interview with him in the next couple of weeks and will keep yall posted.

http://www.publicpre...s...ty&id=11069
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#3 Angelhair

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Posted 11 February 2008 - 04:55 PM

Thanks, Topic title edited.

#4 nomnom

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Posted 28 August 2008 - 02:44 PM

Dragging this old thread up for a PSA.

Cafe Nell is now open. I walked by it just yesterday.

#5 truth

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Posted 28 August 2008 - 02:55 PM

Dragging this old thread up for a PSA.

Cafe Nell is now open. I walked by it just yesterday.


coolness. took them a lot longer than they planned on to open, as is expected in this biz. I'm really hoping this can be a good neighborhood spot!
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#6 loofahgirl

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Posted 28 August 2008 - 03:05 PM

I just walked by it, but didn't stop in. It looks like a beautiful place!

#7 truth

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Posted 04 September 2008 - 12:02 PM

Anyone been in yet? OLive has a writeup: http://www.oregonliv...oming_cafe.html
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#8 Momwhoeats

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Posted 08 September 2008 - 11:41 AM

Has anyone been here for dinner yet? I am thinking about having dinner there this week, but am wondering if it more of a lunch place (atmosphere and food-wise). I couldn't find a menu online.

Thanks!

#9 truth

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Posted 08 September 2008 - 12:34 PM

Has anyone been here for dinner yet? I am thinking about having dinner there this week, but am wondering if it more of a lunch place (atmosphere and food-wise). I couldn't find a menu online.

Thanks!



I popped in here Saturday and ended up just having a beer+fries at the bar. The menu/bar was quite different than my expectations after meeting the owners a couple months ago and reading about the place online. Here are my perceptions:

1. No beer on tap. 4 in the bottle, but they have a bunch of liquor
2. Nothing really to snack on. Apps = Fries and salads
3. Dinner entrees were quite expensive for a "neighborhood hangout". 18-23$ for almost everything.
4. Turkey Burger is $12. Even at lunch.
5. Lunch menu looks interesting, with a chicken+mushroom dip and some other tasty sounding sandwiches.
6. I'll probably only eat breakfast here, with the no beer on tap and the price of the entrees.

I was really hoping this would be the kind of place I could stop for a beer, or get a nice light snack, or share an app with someone, but based on their preview menu it's not that kind of place. At the prices they are charging, the execution is going to have to be quite good. I'd have to want to choose Cafe Nell over Serratto or Mingo for a semi-pricey night out in the neighborhood.

The dinner menu did look interesting, just expensive for me.
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#10 nomnom

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Posted 08 September 2008 - 08:09 PM

Has anyone found a website for Cafe Nell? Their door says CafeNell.com but that isn't valid.

#11 nomnom

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Posted 08 September 2008 - 08:17 PM

I was really hoping this would be the kind of place I could stop for a beer, or get a nice light snack, or share an app with someone, but based on their preview menu it's not that kind of place. At the prices they are charging, the execution is going to have to be quite good. I'd have to want to choose Cafe Nell over Serratto or Mingo for a semi-pricey night out in the neighborhood.


Hmm. This is disappointing. I too was looking forward to the "neighborhood hangout" it's been billed as. I was picturing a greasier Besaw's or something...

High dinner prices don't bother me as I likely wouldn't head there for dinner often but it sounds like the cheaper lunch options are limited too.

Well, I won't judge yet as I haven't been there and I do still look forward to checking it out.

#12 briyanbbb

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Posted 08 September 2008 - 08:26 PM

Has anyone found a website for Cafe Nell? Their door says CafeNell.com but that isn't valid.


It looks like that is the right site, it's just not up and running yet.

Domain name: CAFENELL.COM

Registrant:
Cafe Nell
1987 NW Kearney
Portland, OR 97209
US

Administrative Contact:
Nell, Oketa
1987 NW Kearney
Portland, OR 97209



#13 Egads

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Posted 08 September 2008 - 08:31 PM

WW is buzzing about the successor to Hurley's:

Since we're talking about Hurley, did everyone see that his latest effort, "Coupage," in Seattle, has closed?

http://www.portlandf...ink.com/?p=1740

#14 mczlaw

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Posted 08 September 2008 - 09:07 PM

Stopped in here the other night. Nice re-do of the room--nice and bright and open, Portland standard polished cement floor. I'm leaving any substantive comments for another day--after the place has been open for a while. Suffice to say my experience didn't make me want to go running back immediately for further exploration--for whatever that's worth.

--mcz

#15 loofahgirl

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Posted 26 September 2008 - 11:54 AM

A few of us at the office just came back from there. Space is nice, service is pleasant and attentive and is earnest but a little odd (i.e. I am not sure why it took 3-4 tries to explain that I did not want homefries with my omelet, I wanted salad; I like to think I am more coherent than that, but perhaps I am not). Space is nice, subway-tiled, etc.

But if you order a burger, be aware that you may send it back and they may be defensive. 2 people did and it came out RAW. Like bright red raw. They ordered it medium and medium-well. Perhaps if you order by temperature, you can avoid this. I am not sure. And since the last time I ate meat was 1995, my judgement may be skewed on a proper burger look, feel, and temperature.

But then they got defensive: "It's fresh-ground. We grind it here."

Yes, but I don't think my colleagues care where you grind the thing, they just care that it's cooked according to how they want it. So don't get defensive and act like your way is the only way to do it. In this case, education is not the answer. Just doing it how they want it is the answer. Or maybe roll your eyes in the kitchen, but suck it up and deal in front of the customer. They weren't asking for a hockey puck back or anything. And then when they got their burgers back they still weren't cooked as much as they'd wanted.

So whatever. Their wine list looked a'ight. I might go for HH sometime.

#16 concreteoatmeal

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Posted 26 September 2008 - 03:00 PM

A few of us at the office just came back from there. Space is nice, service is pleasant and attentive and is earnest but a little odd (i.e. I am not sure why it took 3-4 tries to explain that I did not want homefries with my omelet, I wanted salad; I like to think I am more coherent than that, but perhaps I am not). Space is nice, subway-tiled, etc.

But if you order a burger, be aware that you may send it back and they may be defensive. 2 people did and it came out RAW. Like bright red raw. They ordered it medium and medium-well. Perhaps if you order by temperature, you can avoid this. I am not sure. And since the last time I ate meat was 1995, my judgement may be skewed on a proper burger look, feel, and temperature.

But then they got defensive: "It's fresh-ground. We grind it here."

Yes, but I don't think my colleagues care where you grind the thing, they just care that it's cooked according to how they want it. So don't get defensive and act like your way is the only way to do it. In this case, education is not the answer. Just doing it how they want it is the answer. Or maybe roll your eyes in the kitchen, but suck it up and deal in front of the customer. They weren't asking for a hockey puck back or anything. And then when they got their burgers back they still weren't cooked as much as they'd wanted.

So whatever. Their wine list looked a'ight. I might go for HH sometime.

that sucks about burger temp, and the subsequent attitude from the server.

makes me want to go because i like my burgers damn near raw! the only thing that worries me is that if i order it rare, will it come out with the hair still on it?? :think:
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#17 loofahgirl

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Posted 26 September 2008 - 03:02 PM

will it come out with the hair still on it??


I guess as long as it belongs to the cow and not the chef, you should be fine. :think:

#18 nomnom

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Posted 09 January 2009 - 04:00 PM

I tried Cafe Nell before the holidays. I really, really (x one million) wanted to like it. It is between my home and work and I easily imagined it as a soon-to-be regular dining spot. My overall impression after actually dining there, however, was that it was competent but uninspired.


-The Good-
I LOVE the space. The interior is cozy but minimally decorated, the subway tile is gorgeous, I love the stark-ish neutral colors overall, and the fireplace (although it wasn't on?) was fabulous. Very, "simple elegance" and I was excited for my meal.

I was there for lunch and ordered the Arugula and Shaved Fennel salad in a light vinaigrette and a Bloody Mary. My dining partner ordered the Two Eggs breakfast dish which came with homefries and upgraded to add a side of the pork apple sausage (could have been turkey apple, now that I think of it). We also split fries.

The arugula was super fresh and flavorful, the portion of salad was generous and perfectly dressed. I enjoyed it.
The service was very good - friendly and speedy.
The Bloody Mary was tasty. Spicy, strong and packed with garnishes, just like I like it.


-The Not-so-Good-
Everything was just as it was. No surprises. The salad was truly just a big pile of arugula with shaved fennel, no croutons, no side of bread,no sprinkling of nuts, etc.. The Two Eggs dish was two eggs and a side of meh potatoes. No garnishes, no bread for the table, no daily specials, no exciting flavors or presentations that were uniquely Cafe Nell and that would beckon me back.

And it wasn't just what I ordered either, the menu seemed limited. I really wanted to order the stuffed trout but I couldn't justify $17 on a lunch entree. Perhaps a lunch portion of this dish or daily specials?

My dining partner complained that the sausage was served uncased with no warning. He was expecting a cased side of regular old sausage and instead described it as "eating a cut-up turkey burger served as a pile of mush."


I just couldn't help but think that for the same amount of money ($35 total) I could have had something better somewhere else. Some cheap extras (bread, zingy sauce for fry-dipping, tasty signature potatoes, side of toast with breakfast, etc.) would have really boosted the experience.

Nothing was BAD, per se. I just didn't leave excited about coming back. In all fairness I will maybe return for a dinner but not after first trying many (many) more new places on my list.

#19 nomnom

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Posted 09 January 2009 - 04:02 PM

Oh, and it makes me mad when websites don't have menus. Even a sample one or a few of the offerings listed would be nice.

OK, I'm done. The end.

#20 Calabrese

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Posted 09 January 2009 - 06:55 PM

Thanks for the report nomnom