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#1 dineoutdiva

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Posted 13 July 2008 - 04:11 PM

I was surprised that no one has posted anything on this new restaurant yet since it opened at the end of June.

Cheers,
Pat

#2 veganaise

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Posted 13 July 2008 - 07:15 PM

i am not a big review guy on here (sure i READ peoples' reviews, but i don't often post them), but i have been in to the firehouse, and thought i would share my experience:

i know the chef/half-owner, matt busetto. we worked together for a short while. i went in last week and tried out a variety of dishes. i had a pie (the standard, margerhita), which was nice. nothing crazy, but solid. wood-fired, nice char, good quality. i had the stuffed & fried olives...here was a nice point. i have worked several places where we served a version of this dish. but it seems that chefs always want to stuff olives with big flavor ingredients (ie: blue cheese, anchovies, etc). matt stuffed these olives with a mixture of chicken liver and pork rillettes (or similar pork representative). it was great to have something fatty to foil the saltiness of the olives, rather than heighten it.
we had the rotisserie chicken for the entree...an easy one to make OK, but hard to make great. i think that all those thousands (and thousands, and thousands) of birds that matt rotisseried at new seasons payed off, because roasted over coals, seasoned so well...this was the best roasted chicken i have had in YEARS. no shit. great bird.

wine/beer, nice simple selection. dessert, we had the buttermilk pie. nice, simple.

but i must say that they did an amazing job of rehabbing the building. from the reclaimed wood trim, to the all-edible landscaping. it is honestly a chef's dream location.
all around, a really solid meal. not blowing the doors off, but not one foul. a great meal.

#3 dineoutdiva

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Posted 14 July 2008 - 02:46 AM

Thanks, Veganaise for your answer. We decided to try it out ourselves on Sunday night. We got there at about 6:30 pm and were lucky we only had about a 2 minute wait to get a table. All the tables were filled out on the patio and inside the building. As Veganaise said, they did a beautiful job rehabbing the building. It has a nice, comfortable atmosphere with a rustic feel.

We ordered the River's Edge Sunset Bay chevre with cherries (recommended by our waitress) which came with a small amount of a thin wafer type cracker to spread the cheese on and about 5 fresh bing cherries - $5.50. The cheese was delicious and had a thin ribbon of sun-dried tomato going down the middle of it. We asked for some bread as the wafer/cracker was inadequate to spread the amount of cheese we had on it. The bread came shortly and was very good with a chewy crust on it (they did not charge us for the bread).

Next we had the Arugula Salad with Prosciutto and Shaved Grana Padano - $7. The salad was excellent, the prosciutto on it was just a garnishing amount, but it was probably the best prosciutto I've ever had - very tasty, not too salty and very lean, imported from Italy. The arugula was from their own garden. It was a nice amount for 2 people (we were three and polished it off pretty handily).

Another "second" was the Fritto of Zucchini Blossoms ($7) which I've had in Italian friends' homes, but never in a restaurant. There were 5 nice sized blossoms with a light coating, deep fried, lightly salted and absolutely delectable! We could have easily devoured a second plate. The zucchini blossoms are also on one of the pizzas which we saw someone else eat - it looked good.

We decided to share 2 entrees: Fennel Roasted Pork Shoulder with Cannellini Beans $14.50 and Rotisserie Chicken with Salad of Mixed Greens, Roasted Bread and pine nuts $14.50. Although the Chicken was very good as Veganaise said, the star for us was the pork which was succulent, tasty, and well-complemented by the beans. There was some "jus" from the beans or the pork which covered part of the bread and softened it making it easier to eat. It was just a delicious country style Italian meal and we all agreed how much we enjoyed it.

Due to a time constraint, we ordered dessert to go: a bittersweet chocolate walnut torte with cream and cherries (on the side as a garnish - $6). We ate the dessert later at home. It was disappointing to me as it didn't look like a torte - it measured 3" in diameter and looked like a porous macaroon. It tasted good enough, but it just didn't seem worth $6. We'll try out some other desserts in the future. On the other hand, the overall meal came to $59 (before tip, without any alcohol, just 3 iced teas) for 3 people and I thought that was a terrific value.

For anyone who decides to go, do try the zucchini blossoms! We'll try the mussels ($10) next time too, but one of our friends who was with us doesn't eat any fish so we skipped that this time. We saw a lot of people ordering the grilled hanger steak ($15), wood-fired salmon ($17) and various pizzas ($10 - $12) and they seemed to like their dishes.

The overall feel of the place is country style Italian, and I think it's in a unique niche in Portland. We are looking forward to going back there. Service was good and helpful, a little better on the front end than the back end. BTW, they do have air conditioning inside, but it's kind of a gentle A/C that's comfortable, not the kind where you freeze to death and need to wear a jacket. All in all, we had a very positive experience and are looking forward to many more meals there. FYI, they are open Wed - Sun, 5 - 10 pm (hours are not listed yet on their web site).

Cheers,
Pat

#4 ducky

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Posted 14 July 2008 - 04:41 PM

http://firehousepdx....s.com/firehouse
711 NE Dekum
(503)954-1702
Pamela

Eating is not merely a material pleasure. Eating well gives a spectacular joy to life
and contributes immensely to goodwill and happy companionship.
It is of great importance to the morale.

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#5 Nettie

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Posted 15 July 2008 - 11:57 AM

http://firehousepdx....s.com/firehouse
711 NE Dekum
(503)954-1702


Does anyone know if this place is dinner only, or do they serve other meals, like lunch, as well?

#6 maija

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Posted 15 July 2008 - 12:33 PM


http://firehousepdx....s.com/firehouse
711 NE Dekum
(503)954-1702


Does anyone know if this place is dinner only, or do they serve other meals, like lunch, as well?


Dinner only - 5-10pm - wed-sun.

#7 StMaximo

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Posted 15 July 2008 - 12:42 PM


http://firehousepdx....s.com/firehouse
711 NE Dekum
(503)954-1702


Does anyone know if this place is dinner only, or do they serve other meals, like lunch, as well?


They are open Wednesday through Sunday.
Hours: 5pm to 10pm

They may add a day in the future and they may also consider brunch in the future.

Amazing what you can find out with a phone call :mellow:

Edit to add: Nice Blog Entry with pictures

#8 dineoutdiva

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Posted 16 July 2008 - 05:36 PM

I listed the hours on my second post on this which indicated "dinner only" at this time.

Cheers,
Pat

#9 Laksa

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Posted 19 July 2008 - 11:24 AM

We had dinner here on the way back from the airport. Just a simple meal with three small plates, pizza and chicken. (Nice wallet-friendly touch: any 3 small plates for $12.) The small plates were olives, house-smoked salmon, and goat cheese with cherries. The salmon is very lightly smoked and served with fresh dill and a fruity olive oil. Really nice.

Pizza was with zucchini blossoms. No tomato sauce, just cheese. The wood-fired oven does its magic. The chicken rotisserie must be somehow wood-fueled too because the chicken has a deep smokiness which is really wonderful. Also they don't overcook the chicken and so it's moist. The bread-salad like thing they serve it over is also excellent.

The remodelled firehouse itself is cool and one touch I particularly appreciated is that the music is actually appropriate for the restaurant, mostly jazz.

And the price is right. We had a couple of glasses of wine and two desserts and the whole meal was under $70 before tip.

If I had to summarize it I'd call it North Portland's Nostrana. It's more informal and less expensive and the menu is smaller but otherwise it's the kind of friendly neighborhood wood-oven restaurant which is worth driving to every once in a while.

And it's remarkably easy to get there from the airport--drive down Columbia to MLK, hang a left, hang another left on Dekum and you're there.

#10 Nettie

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Posted 22 July 2008 - 11:53 AM

If I had to summarize it I'd call it North Portland's Nostrana. It's more informal and less expensive and the menu is smaller but otherwise it's the kind of friendly neighborhood wood-oven restaurant which is worth driving to every once in a while.


We went there for dinner on Saturday, and that was exactly the comparison we made. What makes it different from Nostrana is that it seems more integrated with the neighborhood, and the prices. There seemed to be a lot of people there who lived in the Woodlawn area (although I could be wrong--I only overheard our immediately neighboring tables). The prices topped out at about $16 for either the leg of lamb or the pork, and the serving of pork that I saw was pretty hefty.

We had the three appetizers for $12, choosing fried olives, smoked salmon, and pickled vegetables. We followed with the zucchini blossom pizza and the cod. The pizza was probably my favorite, with a lot of fresh mozzarella, and liberally sprinkled with salt and olive oil.

#11 flavorcountry

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Posted 23 July 2008 - 10:17 AM

It sounds eerily similar to Lucca, except (maybe) without all the kids running around. Anyone been to both and can offer some comparison?

#12 Nettie

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Posted 23 July 2008 - 03:09 PM

It sounds eerily similar to Lucca, except (maybe) without all the kids running around. Anyone been to both and can offer some comparison?


I haven't been to Lucca, so I can't tell you how the food compares. What attracted me to Firehouse is the building, which is pretty awesome--it's a two-story brick structure which has been nicely restored, so I was curious to see what it's like. The building housing Lucca isn't terribly interesting, so I haven't felt any urge to go there.

#13 ExtraMSG

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Posted 16 February 2009 - 02:30 AM

Been twice now. I really like this place. It's what Cava and Ned Ludd should hope to be -- really solid neighborhood joint with attractive pricing and simple, accessible, well-made food.

Here are the menus:

DINNER

[ small plates ]
Fanny Bay oysters on the half shell (three) with fennel mignonette 5
fried stuffed olives 4.5
roasted beets with spiced pecans 4.5
fried cauliflower with lemon crème fraiche 4.5
salt cod fritters with aioli 5
foie gras crostini with brandied cherry marmalade 4.5
bruschetta with lacinato kale, corona beans and house-cured guanciale 5
[any three small plates above] 12

[ salads, seconds and pizza ]
arugula with hazelnuts, Humboldt Fog chevre and red wine vinaigrette 7
romaine hearts with lemon-anchovie vinaigrette and shaved pecorino 7
handmade chitarrone pasta with pecorino and black pepper 8
iron skillet mussels with drawn butter 9
pizza margherita 10
pizza with crimini mushrooms, fresh oregano and fresh mozzarella 12
pizza with spicy house sausage, onions and fresh mozzarella 12

[ mains ]
rotisserie rib roast with potato gratin, fresh horseradish and arugula 17.5
house-made fennel pork sausage with red wine braised lentils and salsa verde 13.5
rotisserie chicken with mashed potatoes and field greens 15
batter fried true cod with crispy potatoes and meyer lemon aioli 13
wood-oven roasted vegetables 12

HAPPY HOUR

[ small plates ]
any small plate 4
[ any three small plates ] 10

[ pizza ]
pizza margherita 8
pizza with spicy house sausage, Hermison onions and fresh mozzarella 10

[ mains ]
two dollars off any entree

[ beer - draft ]
all draft beer 3.5

[ wine by the glass ]
Cotes de Gascogne 2007 - France (white) 5
Daniel Belda - Tempranillo 2005 - Spain (red) 5
Camplazens - Vin de Pays D'Oc Grenache - France (red) 6

DESSERT

bittersweet deep chocolate torte
cacoa nib chantilly
6

meyer lemon pudding cake
rosemary wafer
6

rhubarb orange chiffon tart
almond crust, Madeira syrup
6

cookies and sweet treats
chocolate, pistachio, hazelnut, toffee
7


We ordered a trio of starters: the olives, beets, and bruschetta. The olives were fine the first time I went, but a little chewy. These were perfect -- a thin, crisp breading leading to a tender, juicy, and briny interior. Loved the beets. They were cooked perfectly and lightly dressed. The pecans were light and crunchy, with a little piquancy, sweetness, and aromatic spices. The bruschetta was also very good. The bread might have been a little thickly sliced to make it easy to eat, but the mixture on top was very enjoyable. The beans were tender and creamy on the inside without being mushy. The kale added some bitterness while the ham added salt and a meaty sweetness.

We followed with the margherita pizza. They're aiming for a soft, rather than crisp, texture, but the pizzas still come out mottled with a little char here and there. They're probably closest in style to either Nostrana or Wildwood here (a little too much of the former if you're one of the people who hate slicing your own pieces there, though you get a better knife here). They reminded me of A16 in SF, but I think they might have been better than what I had there (at least on the crust, not on the toppings). The pieces will not stand on their own, but you can get them up to your mouth if you fold them a little. I'd say the crust is a little on the bland side, but still tastes of good bread. I'd say that it needs more salt, except they seem to sprinkle a little pecorino over all the pizzas, which adds a lot of saltiness and really punches up the rather simple tomato sauce, which doesn't seem to be much more than pureed tomatoes, probably not even cooked. They use fresh mozz and it's okay. Seems rather dry which is good for the texture of the crust, but it may not quite have the flavor of the better fresh mozzarellas I've had. That said, I'm not sure anyone in town is using anything better tasting, even Nostrana, who I believe makes their own from curds. The one thing I think they do need to do to improve the pizza is add more basil. There were only like 4 or 6 pieces for the whole pizza. (They seem to be about 12" pies.)

I ordered the sausage with lentils, but the sausage pizza came next. It was as much my fault as hers. I just said "sausage" and had asked a question about the sausage pizza before ordering the margherita. She was really apologetic, but since it would have taken another 10 minutes or so for the sausage dish to come up, I said I'd eat the pizza. It was enjoyable, but a lot of bread for me. I'll probably be backed up for a week. Same sauce with pecorino, slivers of onion throughout that were cooked just enough to take their hashness away, and hunks of tasty sweet sausage.

My wife got the fish. We were looking forward to the roast potatoes, but these things were better than expected. They were cut into thick slices, about 1/4" thick at most, and roasted until very crisp. It made them somewhere between a home fry and a potato chip. You got lots of crunchy GBD surface area, but it yielded wonderfully to a thin layer of moist, pillowy potatoey goodness. They were tossed with salt and Italian parsley, another nice touch. The fish was moist and cooked well, but the batter was probably a little thin, a medium breading nowhere near as thick as a beer batter, but more substantial than just a flour or bread-crumb coating. It made it hard for the fish to keep from falling apart. I thicker breading or less flakey fish would be an improvement.

Nearing the end of our entrees, they brought out the sausage and lentils. I had eaten most of the pizza, knowing that it wouldn't keep well, despite being too full because I have a psychosis and can't waste food. I had originally planned to eat about half the sausage dish, figuring it would keep well. I had a couple bites, wished I could eat more, and took the rest home. The sausage was fantastic. It's house-made and has a perfect medium-course grind with just enough fat. The casing was tight with a bit of a snap, nicely caramelized on the outside. There were two hefty sausages on a bed of green lentils with a large chunk of crusty bread for sopping up the wonderful lentil liquor. The lentils were cooked perfectly, not mushy but not grainy. They were well-seasoned and the wine braising liquid added a nice acidic touch. Chunks of vegetables studded the lentil mixture. Wonderful comfort food perfect for winter. They didn't charge us for either the sausage pizza or the sausage entree, which I think was overly generous. I can understand one or the other, but I didn't blame the server for the misunderstanding. We tipped her fully for what the meal would have cost and sent some money to the kitchen, too. Figure that's the best way to give the owner a thank you as well as the kitchen earned it.

We also got two of their house-made sodas, the meyer lemon and the grapefruit with mint. Both were delicious, not overly sweet.

We finished by splitting a dessert. (I made my wife eat most of it because I was almost hurting from all that food.) We got the pudding cake. The tartness was well controlled by both the custard and the sponge cake below, plus a little whipped cream. I didn't really taste the rosemary in the crisps. Very simple dessert, but pleasant.

For me, this is at the top end of the neighborhood restaurants. I probably like it better than Cafe Castagna or Lauro. I think for many people, it warrants a drive across town and people in the neighborhood who don't make this a regular meal are missing out.

Here's a photo of the margherita. It was somewhat dim in there and I didn't have my tripie with me and I don't like to use a flash, so even with a lot of photoshopping this is the best I could do:

Attached File  firehouse_margherita.jpg   117.86K   9 downloads

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#14 Laksa

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Posted 16 February 2009 - 10:28 PM

I too think this restaurant is great.

I don't know to what extent other peoples' restaurant-going habits have changed in the last six months but in our house we've gone from dinner out about once a week to about once every other week, or even less.And when we do go out we really don't like being disappointed. Thinking this way does make us less adventurous than we once were, on the other hand we now truly appreciate the places which achieve consistently high standards of good and interesting food. Firehouse does this.

#15 maija

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Posted 18 February 2009 - 01:16 PM

My first time at Firehouse was New Year's Eve (I think I posted that menu under the New Year's menus topic here), and I thoroughly enjoyed it. It was a great value ($35 for 5 courses) & I really love the setting. The building has a really warm feeling to it, and I like the whiff of smoke as you enter.

The New Year's menu started with three small plates of pickled beets, butternut squash & mushrooms, and a frisee salad w/pomegranates & orange. Then there was a plate of housemade pasta (chittara? I think) with salty cheese & lots of butter & oil. This was one of my favorite parts. Following that, a simple salad with romaine hearts & a meyer lemon dressing - it was great after the rich pasta, really cleansing & fresh. There was a choice of mains - we both got the mussels dish - very generous portion of mussels (especially after all the starters!) plus a nice chunky tomato broth, little toasts & a dollop of some sort of meyer lemon cream. Finally, dessert - there were 3 choices, so we got two - a creme brulee w/biscotti & some sort of hazelnut torte (I think?) w/housemade orange ice cream. We were stuffed, no dish was a loser, and it was a great way to ring in the New Year.

I returned about a week & a half ago with my parents. I had the rotisserie chicken & mashed potatoes w/a nice mix of greens as a salad. My mom had the mussels (same as the New Year's preparation), and my dad wasn't super hungry, so he got three starters (like extramsg - the beets, the bruschetta w/beans & kale, and the fried olives). I'd never had fried olives before & really enjoyed them. Again, nothing was a loser - everything was done nicely, good portions, and quality ingredients.

I am lucky to live within walking distance, so I will definitely be back. I am looking forward to warm spring evenings, when the outdoor seating opens up again, as their courtyard is lovely. It's nice, without being too fussy - my kind of place.

#16 Laksa

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Posted 13 March 2009 - 09:23 PM

For better or worse we don't go out to eat nearly as much as we used to but recently we had a chance to visit Firehouse again, for the first time since I last wrote about it, which was July 19th. Food, service and value were simply amazing.

We started with three small plates--fried cauliflower with lemon creme fraiche, fried artichokes with gran padano and lemon, and bruschetta with beet greens. These were quite generous. I liked them all but felt that the bruschetta was the standout.

Then we had pizza, roast vegetables and rotisserie chicken with mashed potatoes and salad. The chicken was the weakest, just because it develops a really smoky flavor in the wood-fired rotisserie. You could say it was too smoky, although that is a personal taste kind of thing.

Dessert was Meyer lemon semifreddo and rhubarb tart. These were both very, very good. The rhubarb didn't have that great sourness you get in season, but the dish worked well with cornmeal in the tart. The semifreddo had some kind of crumbled pistachio cookie as a topping and it was simply fantastic--great depth to the Meyer lemon flavor, and no excess sweetness.

All in all the food was terrific. And so is the value. All of the above with a couple of glasses of wine were under $65. The biggest drawback is the limited menu (for example, no seafood anywhere). But within the scope Firehouse operates it does a superb job.

#17 MollyH

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Posted 13 April 2009 - 08:42 AM

Longtime portlandfood.org reader (love the site, thanks!), first-time poster here.

I just wanted to write to comment on the delicious brunch we had yesterday at Firehouse. I am not a huge Portland brunch eater (can't stand to wait, so I only occasionally go to places where you can make a reservation), but this was one of the best I've had in town. Started with a super-flaky, flavorful biscuit and then moved on to an egg scramble with asparagus, tallegio cheese, spring onions w. thick cut toast and arugula salad. My husband had a fried-egg sandwich with house made bacon...our kids split the brioche french toast with rhubarb sauce and lemon curd.

We live in the neighborhood so we eat at Firehouse pretty often and have never yet been disappointed. I was just sad to see, yesterday, so few people there for brunch. Don't know if the word is not out yet enough yet about their brunch, but boy, people who are waiting in line for an hour elsewhere could be eating well (for not too much more than your typical breakfast joint, I think our plates were 9.50 a piece?) without a wait.

#18 Amanda

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Posted 13 April 2009 - 10:44 AM

Welcome to the board, MollyH!

Best regards,

Amanda

#19 bigloo

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Posted 08 June 2009 - 08:04 AM

I had dinner here Saturday night. It was good, not great. However, for the price, I dont think you can have a better meal.

Some pros:

They have a lager! Seriously, I hate ale and PDX eateries rarely have a lager. They have iron city, some Pittsburg larger which was quite nice and crisp.

They seem to cook everything over wood or with wood. I had both a pizza and hanger steak. The pizza tasted great but was VERY soggy. Less sauce/oil would have been nice. The waitress talked me into the hanger steak... I should have gone with choice #1 which was the chicken. The hanger steak came exactly as I ordered it and had a nice smokey taste, but was mising something, a sauce maybe. The best part of the hanger steak plate was the crispy potatoes and the arugula. That said, for $16 I did not feel ripped off, would have probably been happier with the chicken though.

Some Cons:

They did not bring out bread or even give the option for bread and butter. For me at least, for some reason, a meal at a restuarant is not complete with a slice or two of good bread/butter/oil especially when big loaves greet you as you walk in.


The actually place is fantastic, rich brick and wood... I live in Hillsboro so drive past many places before arriving here. But I wish I had something like this in my hood. Thats how I would classify Firehouse. Excellent neighborhood joint but for me not a destination place. If you are in that area though you wont come away dissapointed.

#20 Angelhair

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Posted 08 June 2009 - 08:37 AM

I had dinner here Saturday night. It was good, not great. However, for the price, I dont think you can have a

They have a lager! Seriously, I hate ale and PDX eateries rarely have a lager. They have iron city, some Pittsburg larger which was quite nice and crisp.


Get outta tahn! They got Iron?! Youns wanna head dahn there later? It is the schwaggiest of schwaggy beers (according to my s.o.), so that's another reason we want to go there.

I loved Firehouse at TOTN, and look forward to trying them soon. Thanks for the report, bigloo!