An All You Can Eat Buffet of FOOD NEWS

Northeast Portlanders craving good or decent (or even any) Indian Food may be in for a pleasant surprise. The owners of the well regarded Namaste restaurant in the wilds of the Vancouver, Washington suburbs (117th street to be precise) told me they are planning on opening an outpost near NE 33rd and Broadway in Portland. If you haven’t been to Namaste, it’s worth braving I-205 and Highway 500. In my humble opinion, Namaste has one of the most bountiful and freshest Indian buffets around, and certainly one of the best bargains. Last time I visited for dinner ($11.95 all you can eat per person) I counted 6 different meat and seafood curries and other entrees (including a deep and tender goat meat curry and spicy fish pakoras), at least as many vegetable dishes (including my favorites of Aloo Gobi and veggie Khorma), 3 different desserts, a spicy yet soothing sambar, pakora eggplant slices that were still hot and crispy, and lots of fresh vegetables, fruits, chutneys, pickles, etc. Although don’t race on down to NE Broadway just yet; the owner said they are opening, “sometime in the next year.”


Can the Curse be Broken on NE Fremont?
Jack Bodanski over at BoJack.org said there was an OLCC application in the window of the old Aja Pacific Kitchen space on NE Fremont and 24th, so we went by and took a look. Sure enough, the OLCC sign lists Lucca LLC, but so far a record search doesn’t turn up any interesting information. We’ve talked about that location off and on here at PFD before. Not sure exactly what will be going in, but if the puzzling Perry’s on Fremont can last as long as it has, surely there is room for another food and dining establishment on that corner. With three failed restaurants in that spot in recent years (it was formerly a Nature’s market before that), do you think it is a cursed space or just the unfortunate recipient of a string of ill-thought out businesses?


U.S. Department of Food Mergers and Acquisitions
Segueing into two degrees of separation, Jack Bodanski has even more food related news this week. We reported last week on the saga of the (finally) recent Federal Trade Commission permission for Whole Foods to buy out the Wild Oats Chain. Bodanski breaks it down with an interesting and detailed analysis of the issues, benefits, and controversies. I’m torn; on one hand, in theory, it could raise the costs of food in the gourmet and natural health food market in Portland (you know decreasing the lack of competition, yada yada), yet on the other hand somebody needs to do something about the now sad store known as Wild Oats. Hmm, wonder what New Seasons thinks about all this? [Note from Food Dude: Didn’t I read somewhere that the property Wild Oats store sits on is owned by one of the founders of New Seasons? This could get interesting.]


New Mystery Restaurant in Horrible Location
Mystery restaurant opening soon in the bombed out infrastructure war zone known as the downtown bus mall rehab project. Does anyone know what this restaurant is?

 

Chef owned restaurant seeks front of house employees. Professional servers and bartenders needed. Experience in formal dining required.

No e-mails or phone calls.

Drop off resume @ 219 SW 6th St. between 10am – 1pm on Thur.(23rd), Fri.(24th) or Tue.(28th), Wed.(29th).

Opening early September.


Cava is Coming
We first read about it in Willamette Week, and know that it is located near Foster-Powell

 


Sommelier Smackdown Part Four

 

We’ve been following this one from a distance – you may remember Carolyn and Marshall Manning reporting on sommelier competition in April, and several readers have written in to give the latest. In case you haven’t been following, for months now, some of Portland’s leading sommeliers have been competing in a series of wine pairing dinners to see who can come up with the best wine/food pairings. Each sommelier is charged with paring a wine to each of a several course meal, and diners rate their favorites and least favorites with a final tally (low points equals high scores). With the finale just weeks away, the spirit of competition is getting fierce. Also, hello, check out the menu from the Heathman on Friday, and the subsequent wine parings and results. Sign me up!

 

Currently the standing overall is as follows:

Sommelier Scores after round four
1. (tied) Erica Landon of Ten-01 – 26 points
1. (tied) Jeff Groh of the Heathman– 26 points
3. Ken Collura of Andina – 28 – points
4. Jamie Garrett of Bluehour– 29 points

Course 1
Food: Grilled peach and Brillant-Savarin
1st place – ’01 Reichsgraff von Kesselstatt, Juffer Sonnenuhr, Riesling Spatlese, GR – 68 points – Groh
2nd place – ’05 Francois Chidaine, Montlouis, Les Choisilles, FR – 82 points – Landon
3rd place – NV Rugeri, Gold Label, Prosecco, IT – 89 points – Garrett
4th place – ’05 Pazo Senorans, Rias Biaxas, SP – 91 points – Collura

Course 2
Food: Albacore tuna, apricot compote, and fresh corn grits
1st place – ’06 Love and Squalor, Riesling, OR – 60 points – Garrett
2nd place – ’05 Sonoma Cutrer, Russia River Ranches, Chardonnay, CA – 79 points – Landon
3rd place – ’05 J. Daan, Pinot Noir, Willamette Valley, OR – 90 points – Collura
4th place – ’06 Fougeray de Beauclair, Marsannay, Rose, FR – 103 points – Groh

Course 3
Food: Braised short rib a la provencal with potato gnocchi
1st place – ’03 Regusci, Stags Leap District, Merlot, CA – 67 points – Groh
2nd place – ’03 Tyrus Evans, Walla Walla Valley, Claret, WA – 78 points – Garrett
3rd place – ’05 Tikal, Amorio, Malbec, Argentina – 85 points – Collura
4th place – ’04 JL Chave, Mon Coeur, Cotes du Rhone, FR – 100 points – Erica

Course 4
Food: Ile Flottante
1st place – NV Campbells, Rutherglen Muscat, Australia – 60 points – Groh
2nd place – ’05 Mas Amiel, Muscat de Rivesaltes, FR – 69 points – Collura
3rd place – 1927 Solera, Alvear, Pedro Ximenez, SP – 82 points – Garrett
4th place – NV Gaston Riviere, Pineau des Charentes, FR – 108 points – Landon

 


Oops, I Forgot my Table Manners Formal_Table_Setting.jpg
With my high power real estate investment career (damn mortgage industry fallout!) currently in the toilet, serving fried chicken at Popeye’s just doesn’t pay the same. I don’t have the opportunity to eat out at fancy restaurants like I used to. So imagine my surprise when my sweetheart took me to a nice formal dining room with a group of friends (wow, cloth napkins even!). Yet suddenly I forgot my manners. Which is the wine glass and which is the water goblet? Which fork do I use for my salad? Is my bread and butter plate to my left or right? Are those little forks for the shrimp or for picking my teeth after eating the shrimp? Frankly, after downing 3 house martinis even before the appetizers arrived, I no longer cared, but it got me thinking. Then I found this handy reference to table manners online, and noticing the not always graceful way other Portlanders eat out at restaurants, I thought readers might want a little refresher as well. Now if they would only write a guide for bad parents and their obnoxious ill mannered kids in restaurants (I’m ducking from the ensuring internet flame war to come…3, 2, 1….) Thanks Emily Post! Also Wikipedia!

 


Now news from Food Dude: Restaurant Closing: Sources tell me Montego Bay Jamaican Cuisine over on 12th and SW Jefferson, has closed. You may not know that a really bad meal at this restaurant is the reason I started this site. Without Montego Bay (and the positive review it got in the Oregonian back in August ’04), Portland Food and Drink wouldn’t exist. A tip of the hat to them. Thank you for the worst service experience I’ve ever had anywhere on any continent! It led my life in a whole new direction.

 


Le Hana, the “Japanese French Fusion” restaurant serving fashionable food in an upscale atmosphere”, has opened down in the SoWhat South Waterfront. It is a sister of the Japanese Grill & Cafe in Hillsboro. Several Sources have told me it is good, but until that big bowl of wasabi cassoulet has been plopped down in front of me, I’ll wait to pass judgement. It’s at 3500 SW River Parkway (In the Meriwether bldg). Some of the menu items include:

 

SEA ESCARGOTS
Sea snails with garlic herb sauce with bonito bouillon

SHRIMP & GOAT CHEESE GYOZA
Gyoza filled with shrimp and goat cheese

SEA BASS
Sateed seabass wrapped in bamboo leaves served with Japanese style hollandaise sauce

PAN SEARED COPPER RIVER SALMON
with snow brab sprinkled apple noodle. Served with creme freache sauce

 

Your thoughts are welcome

  1. Marshall Manning says

    Sign me up as one who doesn’t believe in “cursed locations”. Open a really good restaurant, with excellent food, excellent service, excellent prices and a solid business plan, and you can make money from a restaurant in a shack or a trailer.

    My guess is that the places that inhabited that location (and I’ve never visited any of them) were lacking in a few aspects.

  2. motacritic says

    The main reason the location at 24th and Fremont is cursed is the extremely high rent. Also, the space has a kitchen that any chef who has had a restaurant in a shack or a trailer would kill for, the problem being that it takes up half of the real estate. A solid business plan for a restaurant always has as much of the floor covered with tables as possible, and that means less kitchen.

    I live near this site, and dearly wanted the former inhabitants to be good, but none of them were worth a second visit. I am once again hopeful, but I doubt anybody can make money here unless the rent has gone down.

  3. Nai says

    I’m so excited to hear about Namaste. I’ve been dying for some good Indian food. Have not found a decent place this side of town. I can even walk to it if they are opening on 33rd and Broadway!

  4. reflexblue says

    That’s fantastic. I made lamb curry last night and was just thinking how I only make indian food when I can open the windows. And, no, I don’t bother mixing my own curry powder and think it’s a waste of time unless you have some culturally appropriate reason to do so. Yay, for indian food in NE!

    Also, the plantain lady was shut down and is actively soliciting investments in $50 increments (to be used towards future plantains) to get back up again.

  5. says

    Working, as I do, one block from the new Le Hana, I’ve had opportunity to dine there. Not bad. I really liked it, but my basis for comparison is Yoko’s, not Murata or Hiroshi. We stayed away from the “fushion-y” dishes and stuck with sushi.

    You can read my account of it here

  6. Food Dude says

    From peering in the windows at the old Aja spot, it looks like the kitchen is still fully equipped and ready to go.

  7. pdxyogi says

    Very happy to hear of Namaste opening. I live near 33/B-way NE.
    The only place near here is India Grill on Burnside which is just awful. Food that is generic at best and service that is always vacant, surly & grouchy.

  8. says

    I’m just trying to figure out where Namaste can fit at that location.

    Are they going to displace something that’s already there? Another restaurant, perhaps? A redo of another existing (non-restaurant) building?

    Or is it their hope to go into that development that’s been thrashed around for ages that’s theoretically going in where the Albina Fuel property is?

  9. says

    Seriously, this is what the owner said, “near 33rd and Broadway”. Now, that could mean 30th, 33rd, or anywhere around there from 15th to 42nd…

    I would just call them and ask. Also, selfish me, if people call them and ask they might realize what a demand there is for their food and hurry it on up…

  10. pdxyogi says

    Betsy, the much-ballyhooed Albina Fuel property is far off in the future, certainly not coinciding with the “sometime next year” that the Namaste owners predicted.
    If we’re lucky they will replace the Blind Onion pizza!

  11. Donovan says

    Looks like Foster St just keeps getting better. Although there is much work to do, this year has been huge in terms of new establishments that don’t cater to cheap beer and lotto.

    Cava Tavern
    Sweetness
    Bar Carlo
    Slingshot Lounge

  12. vespabelle says

    Namaste should open up where Bar Baraka was on NE Alberta St. There’s a kitchen there (mostly) already!