The Hairy Lobster has opened in the old Fenouil/Jamison building on the Jamison square, complete with a website without an address on the home page. Must be under the reservations tab… no, that doesn’t do anything. It’s hidden under “Contact”: 900 NW 11th Avenue in Portland 97209. Following the inscrutable website theme, appetizers are listed under “Water”. It’s not clever, it’s annoying.
Owners David and Melisa Root have a great deal of restaurant experience. Here are their bios from the website:
Chef, Owner Chef David Root has over 45 years of experience in the food industry under his belt and has become known in the industry as a ‘restaurant fixer’. Many restaurants have hired Root to turn the restaurant around when it was failing including turning two restaurant groups into successful farm to table operations. Root has worked at world renowned luxury resorts, nationally famed restaurants, large restaurant corporations and has been nominated for two James Beard Awards. David headed up kitchens around the country including Todd English’s bluezoo in Orlando, Florida and most recently he served as Executive Chef at Palo Alto Hills Golf and Country Club. In addition to helping restaurants reinvigorate diners, David also owned and operated his own establishment prior to The Hairy Lobster. Behind the stoves at Root’s first restaurant, Desert Sage in his home town of Idaho, Root was showered with national acclaim and earned the title of Hot New Chef in America.
Executive Pastry Chef, Owner
Chef Mellisa Root has headed up the pastry programs in some of the highest regarded restaurants, luxury resorts and country clubs across the country. Chef Root also represented the United States on several occasions, in the World Culinary Olympics (where she won three gold medals), the International Culinary Classic competition (where she earned three gold and two silver medals) and most recently in the Gelato World Cup. Mellisa is also a talented chocolatier and while in Las Vegas, she created edible works of arts at M Resort Las Vegas and worked beside Francois Payard at Caesars Palace. Prior to creating the dessert bar and program at The Hairy Lobster, Chef Root was Chef de Partie at Thomas Kellar’s Per Se the year it won the 10th best restaurant in the world and most recently Root was the Pastry Chef of Madera, the Michelin starred restaurant at Rosewood Sand Hill in Menlo Park.
Moving on, the name, which is derived from “an ode to an old English pub” specializes in comfort food. “Every aspect at The Hairy Lobster has been carefully curated down to the Old English themed and timeworn mismatched china and dinnerware. The casual eatery breaks down its seasonally influenced, vegetable forward menu into three sections: water, garden and barn. Under “Platter”, larger portions are offered to accommodate 4-6 diners in the shared plate format. All dishes share a common trait, a strong focus on heritage varietals of local and regional products.”
The menu strikes me as a bit odd; not very Portland. On the other hand, nothing else has succeeded in this space, so maybe they are on to something. The prices seem a bit low – not that I’m complaining, but the restaurant is in an expensive, beautiful building. It will take a lot of plates to pay the rent. I will definitely go by and give it a try, if for no other reason than Mellisa Root’s excellent desserts! Here is the current menu:
Pan Roasted Skate $14.00
White Clam Flatbread $12.00
Maine Lobster Cubano $19.00
Chicken Fried Shrimp $13.00
Dungeness Crab Salad $15.00
Mustard and Apple Spiked Whole Trout $29.00
Oregon Foraged Mushroom Bisque $10.00
Winter Carrot Fritto Misto $10.00
Braised Green Cabbage $11.00
Manchego Schnitzel $10.00
Silken Tofu $10.00
Potato, Leek, Jalapeno Gratin $10.00
Pork n’ Apple Dutch Pie $14.00
Caramelized Lamb $18.00
Cracklin’ Beef Shortrib $17
BBQ Duck $14.00
Butter Basted Turkey $12.00
Tender Pork Shank $29.00
Wheat “N” Cheese
Jalapeno Beignet Cheesy Cream
Dark Chocolate Custard $10.00
Lemon Chiffon Pie $10.00
Tangerine Creamsicle $10.00
Super Dave says
I ate there last night. My wife and I shared the braised green cabbage and the whole trout. Both were very, very good. Everything that I saw coming out of the kitchen looked delicious and folks at other tables seemed to be enjoying the food. I will be going back to try the other dishes. Yes, the menu is not your typical Portland fare. It is a nice change. I am cautiously optimistic. It’s predecessor, Jamison, was a thorough disappointment. Keeping my fingers crossed that the rest of the menu is as good as what I sampled yesterday.
I’m wondering about the name ‘hairy lobster’ ……..is there a backstory?
Laura Andes says
I so miss David Root in Idaho! I often ordered the halibut with lobster sauce! I have never before or since experienced a meal I enjoyed as much!
I don’t think it’s appetizers that are listed under “water”, it’s fish.