The new issue of GQ Magazine features Portland restaurants in their City Guides section.
More than any magazine article I have seen over the last year, GQ gets it right.
How did Portland, a soggy city on the West Coast, come to be the scrappiest, most original gastronomic destination in America, a town where you can eat everything from food-truck feasts to four-star spreads that rival fancier (and way more expensive) places? Alan Richman explores the food world’s new promised land—and explains why you should go now, while the good times last.
Their choices for best Portland restaurants:
Beast, Bunk, Evoe, Higgins, Le Pigeon, Nostrana, Paley’s Place, Park Kitchen, Pok Pok, Ping, Simpatica, and Toro Bravo.
Their drinking section is a little surprising, not for what they include, but for what they skip:
Clyde Common (but not for food), Doug Fir, 820, Noble Rot, Ron Toms, and Secret Society. I find it interesting what they left out, but Ten 01 has a new chef, and Teardrop is dealing with some negative backlash.
GQ also talks about the Portland Farmers’ Market and Clear Creek Distillery.
The article is called “Cloudy with a Chance of Stinging-Nettle Flan and Tomato Coulis”. You can read it here.
“Teardrop is dealing with some negative backlash.”
what backlash are you refering to? I for one havent heard high nor hair of any “backlash”. Color me confused.
Me too. No excuse for them to exclude Teardrop.
other than their eye-scrapingly ugly logo. I swear, I feel like an aesthetic hypocrite every time I pass under that sign and enter the door.
GQ list = Yawnsville. It looks like a copy&paste of every other magazine that’s covered Portland in the last year or so.
I thought the only surprise was Doug Fir, where I have been served some of the lousiest drinks in town. I’ve had better balanced cocktails at frat parties.
Teardrop backlash? eh?
It never ceases to amaze me that Nostrana is always on those lists: nice decor, yes—but otherwise? Painfully pretentious and Trader Joe’s has better pizza in the freezer section.
I went to Nostrana soon after it opened and thought i would never return. I was not wowed by the food and the service was beyond horrible. But I was persuaded to try again and I have to say that after a few meals since December, I am convinced.
I have not had the pizza, but I have had salads, which were delicious and generously sized to be shared. I also like that I get to dress it myself with good olive oil and vinegar, salt and pepper brought to the table. I have also had a couple of fish specials which were whole fish cooked in their wood fired oven that were terrific – perfectly cooked, well seasoned, well priced. Also a delicious lamb loin chop plate that was juicy and tasty and perfectly cooked…and ordered by my partner as I don’t usually care for lamb, but I loved it. I am also now addicted to the butterscotch budino for dessert a simple but delicious sweet and rich butterscotch pudding.
Add to all of that some nice wine choices (and fun flights) and good cocktails. Last time there I had a very nice ‘champagne’ cocktail made with amaretto, prosecco, organic cranberry juice and a twist. Fruity but not too sweet with a nice almondy note and a bit of fizz. It was really delicious.
I have definitely changed my mind about Nostrana and it now has earned a place in our rotation…so I can understand why it is on the lists of others…
I suggest you give it another try, staying away from pizzas and small apps.
Food Dude says
What Jill said. Pizzas can be excellent too. I lay in bed at night and fantasize about the budino.
Sorry, I thought they sucked. Icky, burnt pizzas, icky entrees and the nastiest dessert (icky, burnt chocolate pudding) I’ve ever encountered. And this was a year after they opened.
To be fair though, I’m a New Yorker (and last lived in an old mafia neighborhood in Brooklyn)–but I still think Trader Joe’s offers a better product.
I’ll give them one other plus: their hostesses were very sweet and admired the dress I was wearing. Our waiter was completely snotty, however (and as someone in the industry, I’m pretty forgiving on the service side)
“…I’m a New Yorker (and last lived in an old mafia neighborhood in Brooklyn)…”
Me too, born in Bensonhurst and lived there for the first 23 years of my life (then Chicago, and back to NYC in Queens…). And I have not tried Nostrana’s pizzas, but I would never even think of eating a frozen pizza, TJ’s of otherwise. Why when there is Apizza Scholls and A Forno Ferruzza in town?
What bearing does Being from NYC have on whether or not Nostrana’s pizza is good? Does being born in Flatbush predispose a person to superhuman tastebuds? Come to think of it, it just might…..it seems to have an effect on ego!?
That being said, Still interested in what this so-called “Backlash” at Teardrop is about?
Couldn’t disagree more on their pizzas. I think they’re excellent. If you haven’t tried them in the last few months, might be worth another visit. Definitely agree with Jill-O said as well.
I do think their service is OK, but at times falls a bit short of the food. It’s definitely gotten better over time, but still not where it should be.
CO, it’s very simple: NYC has the best Italian food in the country (actually the best restaurants, but I digress) and this certainly includes pizza. It has nothing to do with ego (and I really like living here), just Italian food and pizza there is vastly superior to what you’re gonna find here.
As for frozen pizza, TJ’s is actually pretty good, quite cheap and as a parent I don’t always have the time or $$$ to get take out or go out.
Yeah, uh huh. I’m sure… best of everything in NYC, of course. With that little bit of bias going in, perhaps you’ll forgive my taking that opinion with a small grain (er, block) of salt. “Icky… burnt… nasty.” Right… what BS. Not at all true.
However, opinions are like, umm, certain body parts. Everybody has one.
Cuisine Bonne Femme says
I agree, nothing worse than a NY Snob. I’ve had as many mediocre meals in NYC in the past 5 years (even at nationally lauded and “local insider” places)than any other place I’ve been to. And as many of you know, I travel a lot. Except, the meals in NYC have been unbelievably over priced given the quality. Frankly, I’ve had way better Italian meals in San Francisco and Chicago lately. And for better restaurants. Don’t even go there. That’s an asinine statement. NYC is the largest city in the U.S. for christsakes. It’s incomparable as to the amount of restaurants.
However, I will give that NYC has great pizza. Only SECOND to New Haven, Conn.
For the record, I’m not a NY snob (I even stated I like living here), but I do think overall the restaurants are better there (never been to Chicago and am unimpressed with SF across the board). BTW, Cuisine Bonne Femme, please forgive me for questioning your opinion…but you did write a piece awhile back about the fabulousness of Morton’s (which I heartily disagreed with, as well).
But I will agree marketing plays a huge part. When I was in NYC, I worked for the NYC Restaurant Group (now the Smith and Wollensky Group). We were quite expensive, for quite basic food (most of their concepts were steakhouses or seafood done like a steakhouse). Yet we were always full–because our restaurants were always in movies, etc.
And I have no idea about the Teardrop backlash, sorry!
Cuisine Bonne Femme says
Really, did I say Morton’s was fabulous? Really?
You wrote an entire piece about how nice it was, right here, on this site. And quite a few of us proceeded to diss Morton’s across the board (with a couple of shill posters who REALLY laid on it on thick about the fabulousness).
And Kolibri, you make an excellent point–inconsistency might well be their issue.
“unimpressed with SF across the board”? Really?
Let’s see: been to Quince, Boulevard, Town Hall, A16, Ton Kiang–everywhere? It’s all unimpressive? Man, I only visit SF annually and hit 4 or 5 places every time and am convinced SF easily has the best restaurant scene on the west coast (with Portland second). And I wouldn’t even try to compare NYC and Portland–that’s like comparing apples and tree stumps.
On Morton’s: I recall CBF extolling the virtues of the place though I’m not sure I ever heard “fabulous”. But what’s the deal with the “don’t ever, and I mean ever” stuff? Sounds like a prelude to a fistfight–on a blog?!?
mczlaw, we agree to disagree about SF (I loathe that city), but thanks for your comments about the “don’t ever stuff”. I found it more than a bit over the top.
In my post above, I didn’t say CBF specifically used the word fabulous–I wrote “but you did write a piece awhile back about the fabulousness of Morton’s” (much the same as your pithy “extolling the virtues”). And both you and I proceeded to rank on Morton’s as a corporate swillhole (your apt description).
Portland has some great restaurants, but the pizza in NYC is the best. No doubt.
Cuisine Bonne Femme says
Never said Morton’s was fabulous. Read between the lines. And don’t ever, and I mean ever, mis-state what I said and did not. Thank you.
Definitely got the impression from your review that you were a big fan of the place. Even reading between the lines.
Cuisine Bonne Femme says
Love Nostrana’s pizza. About as good as the best you’ll find in Brooklyn or that other Pizza ground zero – New Haven. Al Forno is fantastic as well, however I have noticed it is better when prepared by the owner himself. The other workers don’t always cook it long enough so that it gets that slight wonderful char and air pockets in the crust…sigh.
As for Teardrop and Ten-01…well,there’s something to be said for the power of PR, especially as it relates to national media. Clyde has a great in-house PR person and gets a lot of media pitching through the Ace who also have their own in house PR. Also, Jeffery Morgenthaler, the new bar manager is well known internationally through his well read blog and because he does the international professional mixology circuit. Ten-01 does great local PR but not so much on the National front, and Teardrop really doesn’t do much PR at all.
Also, at the end of the day reporters, and their editors, only have room for so much in print. Things get cut due to space considerations. Ain’t no big deal.
Personally, I’ve always felt GQ misses the mark on a lot of food and travel related stories. I’ve visited cities where I’m blown away by certain place, yet GQ will never mention them at all. Perplexing, for sure.
All the pizza stuff aside, what about negative backlash at Teardrop?
Lots of very mixed and opposite reviews. Sounds to me like the problem at Nostrana may be inconsistency. Just a hunch.
There is no Teardrop “backlash” their drinks are still solid and if you think there’s any place in town more dedicated to crafting a cocktail you’re wrong. That brief unsubstantiated claim represents everything wrong about blogs. Very un-Food Dude. Disappointed.
I would really like it if FoodDude would address the backlash issue at Teardrop, since he is the one that put it out there. Elaborate please.
I’d like to hear this backlash news as well.
Nostrana – was there on Monday and the service was downright horrible as always. It took three hours to get a drink, a salad, a pizza, and a dessert. We finally had to order our dessert from the host. The pizza though was quite good, carmelized onions and pine nuts. It’s ashame the service is so bad and the wines by the glass so uninspired because the food is good.
The true find is Evoe….5 perfect meals in three weeks. Pork Lomo with tender white asparagus, sand daubs with cauliflower puree, lamb chops milanese, not to mention the scallops with grapefruit and avocado that Kevin did so well at Castagna, all for around $11 each. What a great place for a glass of wine and light meal.
I’d like to hear about the Teardrop backlash as it’s my favorite place to grab a drink. Driftwood Room in DeLuxe is a close second. Nostrana is solid in my book, but I often avoid the crowds their on the weekends which I think lends itself to the service issues I’ve heard of, but haven’t personally experienced.
As for SF and NYC both are great food towns. Having just returned from NYC, I’ll take SF any day. I know the city better, but also think it’s easier to find great places to eat.
IMO, Portland is my favorite food town and that’s why I live here. Great food, reasonable prices and not much pretense unlike NYC, SF and, at times, this site.
As for pizza, there’s more crappy pizza in NYC than there is good pizza. You could actually say that about most of the food scene there – at least the places I’ve been to. Please don’t give me your lists – I know there’s good restaurants there swimming in a sea of mediocrity.
Also, the GQ Guide is pretty spot on IMO. They’ll always have to leave some things out, but the stuff that made it in is some of the city’s best.