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#21 myswandive

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Posted 03 August 2009 - 02:52 PM

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.


I don't think Firehouse is doing brunch anymore. It's not on their web site, and on their phone message it says they are only doing dinner. Bummer, as it sounded fantastic. But we settled on this as a place to do my husband's graduation dinner with our respective families. It looked like something that could satisfy both my in-laws love of very American, traditional food (they love the chains) and my parents love of something uniquely gourmet & quirky. Hopefully everyone will be happy. We usually do Country Cat with them, but figured it was time to change it up.

#22 Jill-O

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Posted 13 November 2009 - 09:47 AM

Hey folks, it is time for our 6th Anniversary Portland Food Group Event and this year it is at Firehouse! Chef/owner Matthew Busetto has put together a really nice tentative menu for us all for $25pp (plus tip and whatever you drink):

First Course
roasted beets with walnuts and bufala ricotta salata
grilled rapini with anchovies, garlic and chile
fried cauliflower and capers with crème fraiche

Second Course
fennel fritto with house cured sardines and chimichurri
wood oven iron skillet mussels with drawn butter

Third Course
pizza Margherita
pizza with crimini and oregano
Simington Farms lettuces with Humboldt Fog and hazelnuts

Fourth Course
house made fennel sausages with tomato braised cannellini beans and toasted bread salsa
rotisserie chicken with olive oil mashed potatoes and arugula salad

Dessert
bittersweet chocolate torteand cocoa nib Chantilly
pear crostata with whipped crème fraiche

We are looking at Wed. 12/16 and Fri. 12/18, and we can even go over 20 people if there is enough interest. If you are interested in attending, please go to this thread:
http://www.portlandf...a...st&p=124425

Let me know you're interested and which date is better for you. After the date has been set, I'll ask for folks to confirm their attendance.

If you have never been to an event with us, now is your chance! Hope you can make it!
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#23 BaconLuv

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Posted 17 November 2009 - 09:11 PM

Would people characterize this place as kid-friendly? I don't see a kids menu on their site (which doesn't necessarily mean anything) but just wondering about the vibe. It sounds fairly casual and the comparisons to Nostrana make me think it's pretty family-friendly, but just curious.
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#24 Angelhair

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Posted 18 November 2009 - 06:55 AM

Would people characterize this place as kid-friendly? I don't see a kids menu on their site (which doesn't necessarily mean anything) but just wondering about the vibe. It sounds fairly casual and the comparisons to Nostrana make me think it's pretty family-friendly, but just curious.

I've been once and there were lots of kids there. I mean, it *is* pizza.

#25 jennifer

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Posted 18 November 2009 - 04:52 PM

Would people characterize this place as kid-friendly? I don't see a kids menu on their site (which doesn't necessarily mean anything) but just wondering about the vibe. It sounds fairly casual and the comparisons to Nostrana make me think it's pretty family-friendly, but just curious.

I've been once and there were lots of kids there. I mean, it *is* pizza.


Awesome, thanks for this info! We're always looking for places with great food where we can bring little Ava along! :-)

#26 BaconLuv

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Posted 18 November 2009 - 08:00 PM

Good to know. I don't automatically associate pizza as kids food myself, but was more curious about the atmosphere. Hearing that kidlets have been seen is helpful, thanks.
The ironclad rule on music in any kitchen I control: NO Billy Joel, NO Grateful Dead. - Tony Bourdain

#27 mikes334

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Posted 23 November 2009 - 07:02 AM

I have been there with my little one and we had a great time. The food was good too.
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#28 NewToPortland

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Posted 17 December 2009 - 10:48 AM

Firehouse knows how to feed a party, specifically the PortlandFood.org 6th Anniversay Dinner. Reminiscing about our 5-course meal, I can't help but be reminded of the light, yet rich Bittersweet Deep Chocolate Torte. Let's not rush to dessert quite so soon...

Our first course consisted of Warmed olives and Terre del Sole Aged Sheep's Milk Cheese on top Rosemary Crackers with Oregon Honey and Spanish Marcona Almonds. It was perfectly balanced; sweet, salty, crispy and crunch. Also arriving on the table was Roasted Beets with Walnuts and Bufala Ricotta Salata. The Bufala Ricotta was finely diced and mixed with the slightly sweet Roasted Beets. Firehouse did an excellent job in making this ordinary root vegetable shine. Tomato Braised Cannellini Beans and Toasted Bread Salsa rounded off the first course.

Our second course began with a bountiful pile of Fennel Fritto and a side of House Cured Sardines. The Fennel Fritto was unique and the sardines were quite fishy. However, the winner of those course went to the Wood Oven Iron Skillet Mussels with Drawn Butter. Seafood and butter, do I need to say more?

Our third course, pizza and more pizza, came in two forms, Spicy House Fennel Sausage, Onion and Fresh Mozzarella and Margherita. The tender sausage paired well with the slightly crunchy onion and melted fresh mozzarella. The sauce was very good and the crust was tangy. Unfortunately, both pizzas were soggy and difficult to hold. This might be circumvented in the future, if the pizzas were served on something other than a ceramic or porcelain plate. Romaine Hearts with Lemon-Anchovie Vinaigrette and Shaved Pecorino accompanied the pizzas. The Romaine salad was simple and enjoyed, as it was completely devoured.

The fourth course came with House made Meatballs Braised with Tomato, Rosemary and Lacinato Kale and Rotisserie Chicken with Olive Oil Mashed Potatoes and Arugula Salad. I preferred the Chicken, as it was juicy and very flavorful. The arugula on top the mashed potatoes were a nice touch.

Lastly, fifth course takes it us back to the beginning of this review. Arriving for the final course consisted of Bittersweet Deep Chocolate Torte and Warm Bartlett Pear Crostata. The chocolate torte was by far the winner. I tend to prefer the fruit choice whenever dessert comes around, but this time the Chocolate Torte was the winner. It came off as very light, but the flavor was very rich.

The service was very good for a party of 30. We were closely seated in a room upstairs that got to be very warm by the end of the night. Firehouse is in a beautiful building with a spacious patio for outdoor dining. I recommend the Rotisserie Chicken and Chocolate Torte. Avoid the pizza, unless it can be guaranteed soggy-less.

#29 jafar

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Posted 17 December 2009 - 01:02 PM

Thanks for the summary. I enjoy reminiscing just one day removed.

A minor point, I'm pretty sure the crostata was apple rather than pear and I was in the minority (of one?) that prefered it to the chocolate torte which was also quite good. I liked alternating bites since the chocolate was very strong.

I'm not one to order roasted chicken when out at a restaurant but if I find myself at the Firehouse again I might make an exception. I thought the chicken was really good. It was smokey pink, moist, tender and salty.

#30 NewToPortland

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Posted 17 December 2009 - 02:07 PM

Thanks for the summary. I enjoy reminiscing just one day removed.

A minor point, I'm pretty sure the crostata was apple rather than pear and I was in the minority (of one?) that prefered it to the chocolate torte which was also quite good. I liked alternating bites since the chocolate was very strong.

I'm not one to order roasted chicken when out at a restaurant but if I find myself at the Firehouse again I might make an exception. I thought the chicken was really good. It was smokey pink, moist, tender and salty.


I thought it was apple at first. Pear taste like apple sometimes. I'm still not sure because their seasonal menu states pear.

I am not one to order chicken either. I agree with you, in this case, Firehouse might be an exception.

#31 jafar

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Posted 17 December 2009 - 02:14 PM

Thanks for the summary. I enjoy reminiscing just one day removed.

A minor point, I'm pretty sure the crostata was apple rather than pear and I was in the minority (of one?) that prefered it to the chocolate torte which was also quite good. I liked alternating bites since the chocolate was very strong.

I'm not one to order roasted chicken when out at a restaurant but if I find myself at the Firehouse again I might make an exception. I thought the chicken was really good. It was smokey pink, moist, tender and salty.


I thought it was apple at first. Pear taste like apple sometimes. I'm still not sure because their seasonal menu states pear.

I am not one to order chicken either. I agree with you, in this case, Firehouse might be an exception.



I'm into fruit. It was apple.

The table menu said Granny Smith if I recall correctly which is different from what Jill had posted (subject to change) in November.

I think apple the better choice for this for texture and flavor.

I suppose its possible, albeit unlikely, that there were more than one crostata with inadvertently differing fillings like with the pizza.

#32 Jill-O

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Posted 17 December 2009 - 03:14 PM

Agree with you Jafar about the desserts and the chicken. I too like fruit desserts, and usually prefer them to chocolate (which I like too), so I liked them both but I give the edge to the crostata. They were both good and they were both not too sweet or too crazy rich (as chocolate cake can often be) which was perfect after a large meal like that.

Another thing I really appreciated is, while I did not stuff myself silly, I ate a decent amount, and I did not feel miserable and bloated and unable to move as is sometimes the case after a big meal like this. I felt pleasantly full but not bogged down by too much rich food.
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#33 FoodLuvr

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Posted 22 February 2010 - 12:30 PM

Finally came here 2 weeks ago and really enjoyed it. We didn't have to wait at all for a table for 2 on a Friday evening.

We ordered:

-Fried breaded olives stuffed with sausage - I don't think I'd order them again (actually the bf ordered, I wanted the cauliflower) because the when you took a bite out of them, an oozing of hot juices came out - which I'm guessing came from the ground meat that was stuffed inside the olive. Bf said it was like eating a dirty martini.

-Wood fired iron skillet mussels with drawn butter - very simply done, and yet one of the best mussel dishes i've ever had. Being cooked on the iron skillet brought out a nice smokey-ness to the mussels, and you could really taste the mussels without any overpowering spices or broth that it's normally cooked with in other restaurants.

-Pizza with spicy fennel sausage, onion, mozzarella, and arugula on top. The crust had a slight chewiness to it, and perfect amount of char, and was not soggy at all. One of the best pizzas I've had here in Portland.

We were seated kind of close to the next couple, and you could hear their conversations pretty easily if you wanted to.

I definately will be back for more!

#34 cheeks

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Posted 30 March 2010 - 01:08 AM

Finally came here 2 weeks ago and really enjoyed it. We didn't have to wait at all for a table for 2 on a Friday evening.

We ordered:

-Fried breaded olives stuffed with sausage - I don't think I'd order them again (actually the bf ordered, I wanted the cauliflower) because the when you took a bite out of them, an oozing of hot juices came out - which I'm guessing came from the ground meat that was stuffed inside the olive. Bf said it was like eating a dirty martini.

-Wood fired iron skillet mussels with drawn butter - very simply done, and yet one of the best mussel dishes i've ever had. Being cooked on the iron skillet brought out a nice smokey-ness to the mussels, and you could really taste the mussels without any overpowering spices or broth that it's normally cooked with in other restaurants.

-Pizza with spicy fennel sausage, onion, mozzarella, and arugula on top. The crust had a slight chewiness to it, and perfect amount of char, and was not soggy at all. One of the best pizzas I've had here in Portland.

We were seated kind of close to the next couple, and you could hear their conversations pretty easily if you wanted to.

I definately will be back for more!

Word on the street is that the 2 owners have parted ways and this place is run solely by chef now.....interesting

#35 Adam

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Posted 30 March 2010 - 10:58 AM

Finally came here 2 weeks ago and really enjoyed it. We didn't have to wait at all for a table for 2 on a Friday evening.

We ordered:

-Fried breaded olives stuffed with sausage - I don't think I'd order them again (actually the bf ordered, I wanted the cauliflower) because the when you took a bite out of them, an oozing of hot juices came out - which I'm guessing came from the ground meat that was stuffed inside the olive. Bf said it was like eating a dirty martini.

-Wood fired iron skillet mussels with drawn butter - very simply done, and yet one of the best mussel dishes i've ever had. Being cooked on the iron skillet brought out a nice smokey-ness to the mussels, and you could really taste the mussels without any overpowering spices or broth that it's normally cooked with in other restaurants.

-Pizza with spicy fennel sausage, onion, mozzarella, and arugula on top. The crust had a slight chewiness to it, and perfect amount of char, and was not soggy at all. One of the best pizzas I've had here in Portland.

We were seated kind of close to the next couple, and you could hear their conversations pretty easily if you wanted to.

I definately will be back for more!

Word on the street is that the 2 owners have parted ways and this place is run solely by chef now.....interesting


Really! I hope this doesn't affect the food or even the ability to keep the restaurant open; Firehouse has the best Margherita pizza in all of Portland.

Adam Lindsley

This Is Pizza


#36 Topaz

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Posted 30 March 2010 - 11:20 AM

Here's what I've heard-- they're unveiling a new website soon, so I don't think it's top-secret, rather, it just hasn't been officially announced yet:

Matthew, the chef, will be continuing his ownership of Firehouse. Eric, the former co-owner, is pursuing other projects. Matthew's wife (whose name I can't remember) will be taking over many of the front-of-the-house management duties and being a lovely host to Firehouse's customers. Matthew is, in my opinion, one of the absolute nicest restaurant owners in Portland. He makes you feel like a valued regular even if you haven't been there in months! As long as he's still there, I think the Firehouse's warm atmosphere and food quality are likely to stay the same.

In fact, we were there last month after Eric left and had one of the best meals we'd ever had at Firehouse: the pizza was even better than I'd remembered it, the fried cauliflower and white bean/lacinato kale bruschetta were a perfect way to start, and the hanger steak & arugula was a terrific main course. Combined with a bottle of very interesting, very delicious Sicilian red and Gretchen's killer bread pudding, it was a wonderful dinner.

I'm confident that they won't slack in their commitment to customers, regardless of personnel changes.

#37 SarahWS

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Posted 18 July 2010 - 10:05 PM

I had dinner here Saturday night after Trek in the Park (best free entertainment EVER!) with Jill-O, VJ, Plump_and_Juicy, and Mr Plump_and_Juicy. Can I say how much I wish this was in my neighborhood instead of all the way across town?! Some of the best service in town in a casual restaurant - refilled drinks without asks, brought glasses of ice whenever they emptied after the first requests, and decrumbed the table between courses. You can't go wrong ordering anything that comes out of the wood oven, especially for the price.

Roasted Beet with Feta and Walnut
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Roasted Mussels (only cooked enough for the mussel to open, these were tender and succulent)
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Fried Cauliflower with Lemon Creme Fraiche (not at all greasy, brought out the same intense flavor as roasting cauliflower but more evenly cooked, and the creme fraiche melted over it leaving an intense lemon flavor)
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Romaine with anchovy vinaigrette, chives, and parmesan
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#38 SarahWS

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Posted 18 July 2010 - 10:05 PM

Roasted chicken with currents, pine nuts, bread salad, and greens (the best compliment I can pay that is a very close facsimile to Zuni's Roast Chicken)
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Flank Steak with roasted potatoes, arugula, and parmesan
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Potato Gnocchi with Tomato Sauce with Ricotta (enjoyed the intense flavor of this sauce with a subtle spiciness)
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Roasted Meatballs with braised Romano green beans
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Creme Caramel with blackberries
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Strawberry Semifreddo with candied orange and pistachio
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Vanilla Cream Tart with Raspberries and Apricots
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#39 Angelhair

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Posted 19 July 2010 - 09:55 AM

I want that chicken RIGHT NOW! Only went once to Firehouse and didn't think it was worth the drive over. But after seeing those pics, it's on the top of my list for a re-visit!

#40 Jill-O

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Posted 19 July 2010 - 09:58 AM

Firehouse is great food, but it is not fancy food. Everything we had was delicious and I really love the service there. Very reasonable prices and one of the nicest outdoor seating areas in town should help move it up to the top of the list!
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