Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Beast - A Portland Restaurant

Sometimes vacations have a way of being less relaxing than you expect. You have to learn to expect the unexpected, as they say, but of course, no one ever does. The unexpected happens, things don't always go according to plan, and honestly, there's just not a whole heck of a lot you can do but just put your head down and press on.

If that paragraph makes my trip sound in anyway unappealing, let me assure you, it was not. I had a lovely time. I took a tour of my Sister and Brother in-law's newly purchased house where they are now the proud owners of a chicken coop that comes with exactly four chickens (eggs and all), walked the Japanese Gardens with it's streams filled with Koi Fish with Daniel, My Mom and my niece, wandered through the Pearl district and had cocktails at Ringler's Annex in the rain and, of course, ate. We ate and ate and ate. From Pok Pok to Veritable Quandary, Davis Street Bistro to Beast, we were nothing if not well fed.

I'd been looking forward to the meal at Beast for weeks. The Chef, Naomi Pomeroy, was recently named one of Food and Wine's ten best new chefs. She also happens to be a friend of my Sister's. Years ago, she made my sister's wedding cake, a chocolate and raspberry confection with candied raspberries and lavender scattered on top. It was to die for. I'd eaten at Beast when it first opened, and I was dying to go back. Beast seats around 20 at two common tables. Two seatings a night. It's a price fixe menu with six courses, and it's worth every penny. From the Soupe au Pistou to the Fondue de Lapin (delicious rabbit) the flavors were both intense and beautiful (the menu this week was a "homage to Julia Child" due to her birthday and the rather famous movie that just came out) the Braised Cucumbers with the rabbit were a revelation for me, and I couldn't wait to try them myself the next evening (mine need some work). By the time the 5th course rolled around, I was more than stuffed, but it was difficult to stop.

Beast is the kind of restaurant I dream of opening someday. It's not about choices. It's about what someone has carefully curated and crafted to set before the diner. It's about forethought and simplicity. With a pale pink backdrop and a chalkboard wall, boasting the recipe for a creme fraiche dough, it's beautiful, creative, homey and modern, all at the same time. If you're in Portland, OR. I highly recommend you make a reservation.

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