H5O (and that’s h-five-oh, in case you were wondering) bistro & bar is a part of Portland’s newest boutique hotel compound: Hotel Fifty. The bistro is under the helm of Texas transplant, Nicholas A. Yanes, a chef with a resume of high-brow dining rooms around Dallas, along with a degree from the Western Culinary Institute.
This affects the menu in interesting ways-it’s certainly not stuck on localvore cuisine, and it leans heavily in the carnivore’s favor.
“We’re not afraid to fly it in fresh,” he said recently after a media preview of H5O. He was referring to the Maine lobster he gets for the “Lobster con Ravioli de Lengua,” a dish consisting of lengua-stuffed ravioli with literally a pile of lobster meat artistically stacked in the corner of the plate. The ravioli was one of eight main courses, and eight starters. It’s a short menu, but includes a duck confit, caramelized foie gras, oysters, calamari, monkfish, venison, and pheasant.
So really, why come to H5O for breakfast, lunch or dinner? And yes, they do all three (breakfast and lunch Monday-Friday, brunch Saturday-Sunday, and dinner daily). They have a full hotel above them after all. Outside of the obvious reason, i.e. if you or someone you know is actually staying there, H5O offers a unique menu that you don’t need a dictionary to read amongst a hip, sparkling atmosphere. I can see white-collar executives bringing their clients here, or a party of ten thirty-somethings celebrating a birthday.
Or maybe, like the two women to my right, you are unsure of your job security at a major bank and just needed something to ‘wow’ your worries away. They turned to a charming dessert-one of the more exciting takes on sugar I’ve seen in a while: the churros. Warm doughnut sticks, doused in cinnamon sugar are served alongside a shot of thick hot chocolate, topped with a slightly burnt pillow of marshmallow. It’s almost impossible not to smile at the sight of it, and sometimes that’s a reason in itself.
A few notes from Food Dude: I didn’t expect much from this restaurant, and was pleasantly surprised when I stopped in one night. This is one to keep an eye on. Cuisine Bonne Femme also dropped by, and raved about the cheese plate, saying “it has to be the best in Portland, and it’s only $6.00.”
Address: 50 SW Morrison St., Portland OR., 97204
Phone: (503) 484-1415
Hours: daily 6:30am. Dinner Sun-Thur 5pm-10pm, Fri-Sat 5pm 11pm