What happens when you drop a 7,000 square foot high-end restaurant in Vancouver Washington? I’m not sure, but we are about to find out. Vesta Restaurant and Vesta Wine Bar will be opening on SE Mill Plain, across the street from Evergreen airfield. This is a 7,000 sq. ft. space that was originally built as a Fudruckers, became Fat Tire, then Billygan’s Roadhouse and has lain empty for almost two years now. The food is classically French based, seasonal menus using predominantly local and North West products. The main restaurant will seat 120 and the line, plating area and pass is quite visible from anywhere in the dining room. Some menu items:
LANGOUSTINE THREE WAYS (Appetizer)
CARPACCIO, Mâche Lettuce, Caviar Cream, Yuzu Juice
POACHED Ravioli, Crushed Marrowfat Peas, Shellfish Broth
HAND-BREADED, Kennebec Pommes Frites, Artichoke Tartar Sauce
STUFFED BABY ARTICHOKES THREE WAYS (Appetizer)
CONFIT of Garlic and Fennel, Caramelized Roma Tomato, Parmiggiano Reggiano, Parsley Truffle Oil
ANCHOVIES, Caramelized Cippolini Onion, Roasted Hazelnuts, Lemon Butter
TEA SMOKED CHICKEN, Tarragon Mustard Cream, Curry Dust
Crispy Grilled Vegetable Lasagna, Porcini Bolognese Sauce, Grated Parmiggiano Reggiano
White and Brown Kalijira Rice Vietnamese Summer Roll, Black Truffle Peanut Dipping Sauce
Butternut Squash and Roasted Chestnut Ravioli, Apple and Pear Compote, Ancho Chile Butter
LOBSTER THREE WAYS
SAUTÉED CLAW, Seville Orange Marmalade, Vanilla Foam
RISOTTO, Black Truffle, Porcini Dust
TAIL MEAT STRUDEL, Apple Gelée, Cilantro Oil
SINGING PINK DIVER SCALLOPS
Spicy Tomato Broth, Carrots, Corn
SWEET POTATO SKINS
Benequenes de Chiapas Salt, Smoked Paprika Yogurt, Cheddar Bacon Sour Cream
STUFFED ANAHEIM CHILI PEPPER
Stuffed with Black Beans, Goat Cheese and Garlic Buttered Rice, Spicy Cream Sauce, Flatbread
Toto, I don’t think we’re in Vancouver anymore. Personally, I’d prefer my scallops didn’t sing, but as long as too many tables don’t order them at once, the noise level shouldn’t get too high.
The big question? Will Vancouver support a restaurant like this? Do people still do foam?
Note: only a few laws were broken to get this menu. I’m just showing some highlights, I’m told it’s still in development. The interior is being designed by Myhre Group Architects, a local firm, but I can’t find any other restaurants they’ve done. The Chef? It’s a big secret.
NOTE: VESTA CLOSED IN 2008
As reported here ages ago, Lovely Hula Hands has been planning to move to a larger location, just North on Mississippi. From The St. Johns Sentinel, comes some interesting history on the new building. “A North Mississippi landmark, the battered, boarded-up storefront that formerly housed Flowers by Viktor, will finally reopen in November as the new location of a newer North Portland institution, Lovely Hula Hands restaurant… “We have always loved this building and by a miracle we got it,” Sarah Minnick says. They bought the building at 4057 N Mississippi a year ago and hope to reopen November 1.
Viktor Pache, a World War II German veteran, is now 85 and retired. Pache originally bought the flower shop, built in 1923 and formerly known as “Geiger,” in 1965. His wife Meta ran the shop while Viktor worked in the greenhouses next door. They rented out an apartment above the store for extra income.”
The new building will seat 55 and allow for an expanded menu. The old location? A developer will be leasing it out as a restaurant space.
NOTE: LOVELY HULA HANDS CLOSED IN 2010
Yakuza, a sleek new Japanese restaurant/sushi joint/cocktail bar on NE 30th and Killingsworth is set to open just about any day now. They had a pre-opening party last Thursday with lots of free nibbles and cocktails. The space is really modern and sexy, and is filled with warm wood covered walls, low ceilings, lots of candles, and large glass garage doors for light. Could be quite the cozy winter hangout. The outdoor patio, some of it covered and heated, shows off different tiered areas with a zen like rock garden. The sushi was extremely fresh and nicely sliced. The rice was a little off in texture, but not horrible, just not as good as many traditional or higher end Japanese restaurants. The other appetizers were not good though. Stir fried green beans that were over salted to the point of pain, and a panko crusted cod and cream cheese dish that was meant to be cut and served on little bread crusts, but was very heavy and seemed to over power the delicate salt cod. Other items were unmemorable, but they too contained way too much salt. I didn’t drink that night, but they served me a mocktail that tasted like fake red fruit punch, you know the kind from church socials and summer camps of our youth. Hopefully by the time they open they will have worked out some of these details.
You may have noticed a large new building going up on the corner of NE Fremont and NE MLK. Known as the Backbridge Lofts, this mixed use housing and retail development will also house Terroir, which bills itself as a restaurant & wine bar with “a taste of the Pacific Northwest,” and is scheduled to open in 2007. Stu Stein, the former executive chef of the Avalon Hotel and Spa and Rivers Restaurant, and author of The Sustainable Kitchen: Farms, Forests, and Oceans. Another owner is Mary Hinds, chef from all over, but most recently a training chef for the McCormick and Schmick’s Group. The planned restaurant has a 60 seat indoor capacity with another 20 on the patio, and will focus on regional and seasonal ingredients. From the sound of their PR machine, Terroir will serve small and large plates to be ordered and shared Clarklewis style. Much ado is being made about the sustainability aspects of the restaurant in addition to the food, and they have provided details that illustrate state of the art green building methods for the construction, and other business practices including non-toxic cleaning products, biodegradable and organic paper products, and participation in the city’s food compost and recycling program. The Terroir crew are gearing up for this ambitious endeavor. In addition, Chef Stein has a weekly web log on the Restaurants and Institutions Magazine website where he is chronicling the process of opening Terroir.
The Food Network fascination continues…The October 2nd edition of the New Yorker magazine has an interesting article by Bill Buford on “The Rise of Food Television” and subjects the reader to his own 72-hour food network watching marathon with commentary on the history of television cooking shows including the Food Network, a run-down of major television food celebrities, “there is a Rachel Ray Sucks website,” the author tells us, and the sociological aspects of food television in general. Buford’s synopsis is neither “yumm-o” nor positive. Buford writes, “Never in our history as a species have we been so ignorant about our food. And it is revealing about our culture that, in the face of widespread ignorance about a human being’s most essential function – the ability to feed itself – there is now a network broadcasting into into ninety million American homes, entertaining people with shows about making coleslaw.” Chew on that.