Chef Chris Israel is leaving 23Hoyt to be replaced by Aaron Barnett
On Aug. 23, Chris Israel will spend his last day as executive chef at 23Hoyt restaurant, which under his leadership hit its peak this year, and Saucebox, where he has increasingly played a minor role.”
I liked 23Hoyt when Chris was at the helm, but haven’t been impressed lately by Saucebox. Chris will be replaced by chef Aaron Barnett, most recently from Olea Restaurant.
Speaking of which, why is it that Olea goes through chefs so quickly? Why is it that no chef ever really seems to succeed at Olea? Why is it so hot outside? Theories?
The split is friendly. Israel, 49, says he was just ready to move on. “At this point, if I work at a restaurant, I want it to be my own place,” he says. “I’m trying to decide my next move — my own place or a different realm of consulting or design.”
Israel says he can imagine doing what other creative chefs are doing: grabbing a storefront on the eastside and making an intimate mark. “The best places right now are the inexpensive ones,” he says. “It’s the small places pushing the envelope.” Stay tuned.
I read somewhere that Chris wanted to open a German restaurant. Please Chris, do it! I’ll be the first one in the door.
I’m sorry to hear that Mr. Israel is leaving 23Hoyt. I’ve had great dining experiences there.
The reason it’s so hot outside, is because we are moving this weekend, and the weather gods hate me. That’s why.
If Chris DOES decide to open a place, German or otherwise, keep us all posted. You a big fan of German cuisine, Food Dude?
Food Dude says
I have great confidence in Chris, and I like GOOD German food a lot.
Thanks for ruining the weather for the rest of us. Maybe I should wash my car; then it would thunder and rain.
Are there any German restaurants in PDXland that you might recommend? I’ve heard Berlin Inn is pretty good.
What do you think?
Food Dude says
I used to go to Berlin Inn, but it started going downhill, and I haven’t for a few years. Lately I’ve heard it has gotten better. Either way, from my experience it’s the best German in Portland
have you checked out Otto and Anita’s in SW Portland?
Not yet. My German language teacher mentioned it in class, and that was the first I’d heard of it. Apparently, at the end of next term we go out to eat at Berlin Inn or Otto and Anita’s and order our meals in German.
I’m sure the owners of both restaurants have to suppress insane laughter over the butchering we’ll give their native tongue.
Amadeus at the Fernwood is Austrian, but they share a lot of the same cooking styles with the Germans. I had a German mother, and I happen to love the place. I go for brunch most often, but she does dinners also. Gorgeous atmosphere in an old stone mansion in Milwaukie. I will try to post a link so you can look at the menu, and history of the restaurant. She also posts a coupon that’s good for brunch and dinner. Worth a try!
Jack Adams says
Good for Chris to go small and on his own. Can’t wait to see what HE will do!!! A better environment to showcase his talents. Frankly, there’s more interesting things going on in Portland then the above mentioned restaurants. Neither of them are serving interesting food and the change off of chefs (er, cooks) is a weekly occurrence. Just another puff piece from The Oregonian (in which a typo was originally found online “roll” used for “role”) displaying their milquetoast writing – a lack of anything of worth or substance rather resorting to the old “Zefiro” as news reporting.
Not sure why the digs at Olea are necessary. Take a look at the chefs that came form there. Scott is doing well at Bluehour, Dan Mondok is a darling of the media and Aaron, whose food is pretty damn good, is taking over where Kenny and Chis obviously could not succeed. Call Olea a farm club but their food has always been pretty impressive to me.
Jack Adams says
who’s digging at Olea? I said that saucebox and 23hoyt were the ones that were staid. I’ve always had good experiences at Olea. I don’t suspect Scott will be at bluehour for a long time though – too many cooks in the kitchen if you know what I mean.
Miss E says
I know Aaron and his food is amazing, he has worked at some of the most prestigious restaurants in the world, one of them being Gary Danko’s in SF. I have not had the pleasure of eating at 23Hoyt but will be for sure, now that he is moving there. The food at Olea is great, there are some service issues, but the food is amazing! I did find the “digs” at Olea interesting and I have to say, my opinion and what i have heard is that the management is the best, though I do know that Aaron hasn’t been cooking in his favorite style at Olea. I have also heard through PDX grapevine that Chris Israel hasn’t actually been working at 23Hoyt for at least a year now and the Sous has been responsible for the food that is getting the rave reviews.
Though the Sous is a great manager and chef, Chris has always been responsible for the vision and the food at 23Hoyt. Having said that, I think that it is great that he is moving on and look forward to seeing and tasting what this new chef will create at the restaurant.
Jack Adams says
again, no digs at Olea – sounds like you’re reading into things so you can boast about Olea – no one is disputing the merit of the restaurant – read more carefully…
“Frankly, there’s more interesting things going on in Portland then the above mentioned restaurants. Neither of them are serving interesting food and the change off of chefs (er, cooks) is a weekly occurrence.” Really? No digs?
Jack Adams says
I clarified in another response that I was referring to 23Hoyt and Saucebox but it’s obvious that was overlooked by the readers…I have more important things to do than discuss the “digs” of “above mentioned restaurants.”
I’m sure whatever Mr Israel does next will be splendid, especially if he partners with the right person or people.
Then I misread and owe you an apology Jack.
Jack Adams says
Appreciate it, Hunter – I just wish Aaron all the best working there – i hear it’s a nightmare of a company to work for and from the way the press writes about Chris, they are big shoes to fill – regardless to Aaron’s talent, this town and its press can’t get over Zefiro – come on…next!!!! Good luck, Aaron! Get ready for ridiculous Zefiro comparisons!
I have been following Portland food blogs for 2 years now. I have been patiently reading through so many people’s opinions, wondering why so often the most minute things in life are commented on. Instead of simply reading through articles, rants and raves, etc. I have decided to start boasting my own perspectives.
I remember this post from August. I had gone into Olea late July for the fifth time in 2 years and it just seemed a little too ..funky.., so I decided to get online the following day to see what may or may not be going on there; this is when I came across this post.
I went back to Olea tonight. The food was impeccable. The menu has changed quite a bit, which I was very happy to see. They now have a Mezza Platter, which from my first time there I was not quite sure why this was missing. It is the perfect appetizer. The Scallop dish and the Duck dish were both luscious; heavenly; savory.
I inquired about the Executive Chef and found out his name is Patrick. Through further curiosities, I also found out he had been the Sous Chef of Olea both under Daniel Mondok and Aaron B. This made me think about the situation in retrospect to this original post. Perhaps it is not Olea that could not keep another chef in the house. Perhaps the owners or hiring chief saw their former Sous Chef’s potential and actual, and wisely acted upon it. I commend this new Chef and very happily look forward to returning to Olea more often than not. Furthermore, I thank Chef Patrick and the kitchen staff of Olea for the best dinner I have had all summer.