Controversial Restaurant Pinot Brasserie to open in Portland’s Indigo Building
Update: this restaurant closed after a very short time
As I discussed back in May, American Pinot Brasserie is opening in the new “Indigo Building” downtown at SW 12th and Washington in Portland. The date has been set for August 2nd. A reader was kind enough to send me the opening menu.
I think it is interesting that they named it a “Brasserie” since that term is usually used more in reference to beer than it is to wine. It also tends to mean an “unpretentious” type of establishment, which this definitely is not. Anyway, this is a large restaurant – 140 seats, 50 more at the bar.
“The Executive is Chef Bill King, long-time leader of culinary development for McCormick & Schmick’s. King had a distinguished tenure in this successful restaurant group, but in his soul, he’s a chef and restaurateur who started his Portland cooking career in 1981 with a café and charcuterie shop called Savoir Faire at Portland’s Yamhill Market Place, the city’s first urban public market. Chef Bill King was way ahead of the curve, making his own charcuterie, sold from his tiny shop at the market, and buying farm direct produce.
The space is lined with windows and accented with silver finishes and textured concrete floors. It’s cozy and welcoming at all hours. The chef’s table is the centerpiece of the restaurant, effortlessly surrounded by comfortable brasserie chairs and bistro tables. There’s also a classic counter-service seafood bar, red banquettes and wine room, carving stations and a lively bar.”
What’s with the prices? $8.80, $12.95, $19.85, $17.80…..it reads like a corporate restaurant. Oh wait, I think I just answered my own question.
Or one that provides quality local sustainable products and top of the line service.
Very ambitious menu. Looks expensive, but that wont matter as long as the food is good. Costs are high due to a couple of things – Rent cant be cheap ( nice building ) #2 Bill King and his partner Manny Hillario are ex-McCormick and Schmick’s executives. Lets face it, they dont know cheap! The McCormick and Schmicks mantra is PROFIT, PROFIT and keep your gost of goods LOW! They teach you to buy cheap, and charge as much as you can get away with.
So with such a large menu, how long will these guys “hold on” to product? In their past lives they had a huge infra-structure to work with. Now they are trying to come off as a humble “independant”. Bill reminds people of his humble beginings at the Yamhill market….we shall see.
If it is good then they may succeed. They will probably “poach” a lot of business from Jake’s Famous Crawfish. Jake’s is McCormicks “flagship” that does HUGE numbers with guests willing to wait an hour for a table ( seriously ) . Plus everyone is interested in trying the new place. You get two or three chances. Big menu….it will take a lot of cooks to pull it off. Lets face it, Portland is about execution, quality of ingriedients, taste of food.
It does look very corporate …..unless they have coupoons, specials like their old employeers it looks like a large expensive “chain restaurant” but instead of Darden, Bain Capital or MSSR its own buy two very ambitious guys.
So close to the Crawfish….why wouldnt you want to “poach” some customers from Crawfish and “win them over?”. With such a big restaurant you will need some of that. That’s great that you wont have coupons! You cant blame people in thinking it wont be a little like a McCormick and Schmicks – Its what Chef King knows! He should be proud, he hellped build a pretty good sized, publically traded company that employees thousands of people. What do they own ( 100 plus rstaurants? ) The menu does seemm a little MSSR – come on! The pricing certainly is. Besides the partners obviously made enough money to start out on there own. So its a little bit of the American dream no? I wish them luck -really I was just pointing out some real facts…its tough out there. Bill knows what time it is…think what you want of the food at any MSSR. But they have longevity in restaurants and are considered in good financial standing ( Thanks Manny ) to have acheieved a couple of rumours on being bought out by private equiity – thanks to cheap $$$ on the street.
You do need to “chill” like I said, ” proof is in the pudding…Bon Chance!”
I am sure Bill and Manny wouldnt mind poaching/stealing customers from the 3 MSSR restaurants near them ( Crawfish, Jake’s Grill and the Heathman ) they know the numbers those properties pump out. I am waiting for the press release for the – let “Pinot” cater your holiday party press release.
Anyone who takes the time to understand the concept of this restaurant knows that it is anything but pretentious…
Definition of Brasserie:
In France and the francophone world, a brasserie is a type of restaurant with a relaxed, upscale setting, which serves single dishes and other meals. A brasserie can be expected to have professional service and printed menus (unlike a bistro which may have neither). Typically, a brasserie is open every day of the week and serves the same menu all day.
Food Dude says
1864, “brewery,” from Fr., from M.Fr. brasser “to brew,” from L. brace “grain used to prepare malt,” said by Pliny to be a Celtic word (cf. Welsh brag “malt”).
bras·se·rie (brās’ə-rē’, brās-rē’)
n. A restaurant serving alcoholic beverages, especially beer, as well as food.
[French, from brasser , to malt, brew , from Old French bracier , from Vulgar Latin *braciāre , from Latin brace , malt , of Celtic origin .]
/ˌbræsəˈri; Fr. brasəˈri/ Show Spelled[bras-uh-ree; Fr. brasuh-ree] Show IPA
–noun, plural -ries /-ˈriz; Fr. -ˈri/ Show Spelled[-reez; Fr. -ree] Show IPA.
an unpretentious restaurant, tavern, or the like, that serves drinks, esp. beer, and simple or hearty food.
Wow, really, let’s play a game of “who’s cut and paste definition of brasserie is more accurate”!
You get pissy on here about the snark level of some of the comments, but most the time it starts at the top.
What makes you think it’s pretentious? They haven’t opened yet.
Big difference from “pretentious” vs. “ambitious”. The menu is ( in size) is very much like the menus Bill King developed for McCormick’s. Big and full of choices. I understand the “brasserie” concept. Its just a big menu with many moving parts. Large restaurants ( this one is 5000 square feet – correct ? ) serving breakfast, lunch, dinner and late night HH takes a lot of prep and storage. There is no “basement” prep area ( i believe its underground parking ) operating on 18 hours a day service with 7 hours closed…..its a lot of work. A lot of work for an over 50 year old chef who for the past 10 years had a corporate life style with a ton of infra-structure. Sure its a huge risk….but how long can Bill be “on point” . His partner is the ex-CFO of McCormick’s so the money trail is safe. The bottom line is will the food be good? 140 seat reatuarants mean Thursday – Saturday they need to do 275-400 covers. Sunday – Wednesday 175-300 covers a day to make their “nut”. Thats a big restaurant by Portland standards. Within a 12 city block radius Pinot competes with – Jake’s Crawfish, Jake’s Grill, Henry’s, PF Changs, Ten-01, Bluehour, Clyd Commoon, Kenny & Zukes, Irving Street Kitchen, Deschuttes Brewery, Gruner, “Food Cart heaven”, Brasserie Monmarte, just to name a few….Plus Violetta and the Heathman are not that far away ( and the temporary Ringside ) lots of competiton in a tough economy. Like I have said many times, “proof is in the pudding” Bon Chance!
Frankly, the prices seem all over the place. I think I’d have the same visceral aversion to paying $12.50 for grilled cheese and tomato soup that I do to paying $5 for a coke at the movie theatre, but ten bucks for a burger in a nice restaurant downtown isn’t bad, and $8.60 for an heirloom tomato salad with fancy Sonoma Valley cheese almost seems like a deal.
Irene, just to give you an example of the intricacies of the menu, that $12.50 Grilled Cheese and Tomato soup TRIO, you get a Teleme Cheese on Crostini, Fontina on Rustic White and Sharp Cheddar on Whole Wheat. The soups are Pappa al Pomodoro, Gazpacho and of course a Cream of Tomato. Does that help clear up any aversions??? It sounds like a beautiful lunch to me.
Amoureuse make some really good points. With that many restaurants in that small of an area something has to give somewhere not to mention the food cart business which has been a lunch killer for a many restaurants. I’ve stopped going to restaurants with that large a menu just because you can’t be sure how long they hold on to product. On a side note I saw on the news last night Portland was rated #1 in the World for best value for food due to the food cart business.
I’ll be there to try a few items from the Starters menu and to eat everything on the Seafood Bar. Everything else I’d ignore. Hopefully I’ll be at an old school bar with lots of wood replete with bartenders wearing white tuxes. That’s right up my alley.
Lur Kerr says
Yes to all of the above, along with Chef King asserting himself as both the chef and the GM. With a menu and a space that huge, I wish them luck, but damn that is a big nut to crack for one person who, based on current press, enjoys basking in all the glory as a solo artist.
Are they really going to have a strictly Pinot Noir list as is the rumor about town? What the heck is a “nighthawker’s menu?” Why try to be gimmicky? Be a Brasserie for pete’s sake, if that is what you are going to call yourself, which, FoodDude is kind enough to point out, is meant to be a brewery.
Food Dude says
I’ve heard it will only be Oregon pinot, but don’t know for sure
I don’t see a single thing on that menu that I WOULDN’T order.
These comments have been removed at Jason’s request
This is quite a screed against The Dude, who as far as I can tell has said scant little about Pinot that can be construed as opinion/review/criticism.
pinotpdx.com lists the actual name of the restaurant as “Pinot American Brasserie”, not “American Pinot Brasserie”.
The opposite of “unpretentious” can not be automatically construed to be “pretentious”. The Dude never used the word “pretentious”.
Cripes! Whatever interest I had in Pinot is now gone!! You accused the Dude of things he never said!
Melissa H says
If this is an example of the management, I will never walk through the door, and I will do my best to keep my friends from doing so either.
Buddy, you took a short post that might have even helped your restaurant (all PR is good PR) and shot yourself in the ass! I think your career may be short lived. As someone else said, if this is how you react, just wait until you get a bad review!
Wow. Idiot. Won’t. Go. Here.
Anne Marie says
side note: Portland has a long history of public markets going back long before the Yamhill Marketplace.
Leaving aside whether the name of this establishment is pretentious or not, it is so unimaginative it makes me very skeptical of the food and dining experience that will be presented.
How in your right mind can you criticize a restaurant that isn’t even open? Have you ever had Bill King’s food? Probably not. My father once said, “if you don’t have something nice to say, then don’t say it at all” Geesssss! Get a life and do something positive with it.
Food Dude says
Did you not read the post? Are you so uneducated that you can’t tell the difference between making a little comment about the choice of vocabulary used to describe the restaurant and an attack on the food?
Yes, I have had Mr. Kings food. But what does that have to do with the name on the door? I didn’t want to bring it up, but since you did, yes, it’s true – I’ve never particularly cared for his cooking, however, that doesn’t mean he won’t do well in this restaurant. Where do I say that his food is no good?
“if you don’t have something nice to say, then don’t say it at all” – I think your father is brilliant. Amazing even. I’ve never heard that phrase anywhere else, and am thrilled. I’m going to try to work it into my next review. Thanks!!!!!!
I suppose one should, however, point out that you are going directly against your esteemed father’s advice by attacking me. You say I shouldn’t say negative things, but in the same breath you do it yourself. Did you not listen to your father? Have you just been paying him lip service for all of these years without thinking about what he says? Shame on you! Our parents are founts of experience and wisdom!!! How could you do something that he so clearly said was wrong?
I shouldn’t say this, as you may well have multiple personality syndrome and I certainly wouldn’t want to impugn you for that. Notwithstanding, is your life so sad you have nothing better to do than troll food boards attacking other people for things they never said? Perhaps your are still single at 40, or living with your father while over 30, not getting any, or, gasp, possibly a vegan* – any of those things could make you very angry – and a troll.
I’d suggest you start your own food site. You could say nothing but positive things about everything and everyone! Think of it! Everyone would love you!!!!!!!
Thank you for taking the time to comment. I shall smile the rest of the day thinking that in spite of my situation, I still not as angry and bitter as you seem to be.
*I’m sure there are happy vegans out there – I just haven’t met any. (Grant Butler being an exception)
Nice to have members of the King family adding their spin to this discussion.
WOW!! Jason you need to relax or get some help !! Id hate to see what happens if this place gets an actual bad review instead of a few harmless observations.
Jason I’m just saying insulting food critics before tables are staged when chairs and barstools aren’t even there even before the mirrors or murals are on the wall isn’t the brightest thing to do !! If that the type of people Bill Kings hiring maybe people shouldn’t waste there money there !! Maybe you should go to dictionary.com and look up STUPID !!!
Well, personally, I am looking forward to trying this restuarant. I do think it is sad when someone in a position of providing an ‘opinion’ about a restaurant, would put out information making the restaurant ‘questionable’, in any light, is unfair, before they have even been there.
Lur Kerr says
Chef King hires the best people! Congrats on your new job Jason! Sorry you are about to get fired!
If everything Jason has said about this restuarant is true, I am very excited to give them my business. This is just the kind of place we need in Portland and, if after one visit, I find that Jason was right, they will see a lot more of me. I am excited for the experience.
homer's son says
This site hasn’t been this much fun since some chef had a fistfight over a pig in front of a strip bar!
Let me just say to you all that I am not affiliated in this establishment. I am an acquaintance of some people who either are or knew about it, and stopped in to look at it on my way to the waterfront the other day. I was actually sat down and talked to about what it is becoming and what it will be. All my questions were answered very thoroughly and I almost felt bad that I took so much time out of their day. So everything being said, I apologize for starting a slew fest.
Food Dude says
Comments are closed. It was getting hot in here, and the commenter who set the whole thing off has requested removal. I’ll open them back up in a day or two.
By the way, to the people that are commenting under different names: transparent. I watch IP addresses. Stop it.
Thanks for all the spirited conversation!
The wood work in this place is beautiful! I love the wooden table. Good work to the hands that created it!
I had the opportunity to go to Pinot last night as part of a pre-opening gathering including employees of Zimmer, Gunsul, Frasca Architects, who share the Indigo building. I thought it was great. The space is lovely and not too noisy given the size. We sat at the bar and had very attentive service from the bartender and Ashley, the cocktail waitress. She was very knowledgeable about the wines and beer, which there was a wide variety to choose from at a variety of price points. I had two glasses of the rose and one glass of pinot and now I have a headache. Anyway, there seemed to be two wines of each variety to choose from plus prosecco. They passed appetizers and I got to try the burger (it was cut into fourths) and fries. The burger was delicious and cooked perfectly to medium. The fries were sprinkled with herbs and somethin’ spicy. I thought they were great dipped in the house-made ketchup. The rest of the bar menu looked interesting and is 1/2 price during happy hour and from 10-midnight, which means the burger and fries would be $4. My husband works at ZGF and I plan on meeting him here for many a happy hour. My only recommendation would be to put hooks under the bar top so that I don’t have to put my purse on the floor.
I too was there. AMAZING first impression! Great service, beautiful space. The group I was sitting with and the folks next to us agreed! Looks like Chef King will be fine. Instead of worrying about a bunch of corporate restaurants with mediocre ( at best ) food. He will be able to concentrate on one space. I will be back ( although not the first 2 weeks ) but I will be back. Good for ZGF they will have a nice cafeteria to eat in daily! Crawfish tried to lure them, but its too “old School” for design people.
Food Dude says
Thanks for filling us in! I’ll do a review as soon as they have been open a few months.
Ate at Pinot for the first time last night. I won’t go back. The place looks great, the menu good. The place was less than half-full last night. We (a party of 2) waited for over 30 minutes for our salads to show up. Halfway through salads our entrees were essentially dropped off at our table. Food was mediocre, but service was really really bad. We nearly finished our bottle of wine before entrees arrived, but were never offered anything else to drink.
I don’t know, to write off what seems like a potentially good restaurant based on its 4th day of regular service seems almost as silly as writing it off because some random guy posted bizarrely defensive comments on this article.
I live above this restaurant and gave it a shot on Thursday night. The service was very slow, but our waitress was very nice, and I can forgive some service issues given the newness of the place. What I can’t forgive is the fact that the food was (finally) delivered by a heavyset guy wearing a leg brace who was *extremely* sweaty. I felt bad for the guy; he looked physically pained. Actually, I could have forgiven even that. What’s really unforgiveable is the food. Honestly, worst meal I’ve had in PDX in 5 years. Totally uninspired, overpriced (for what it is) and frankly, just sad. I feel bad for the people who obviously sunk a bunch of money into the place. They need to make some serious changes in the kitchen quickly or I give this place less than a year.
Teri See says
Three of us ate at the restaurant Monday night and it was
wonderful. The food was fabulous! My filet was done to
perfection, the fries were incredible, the service impeccable and
the dessert was to die for.
Wow! Wonderful. Fabulous. Perfection. Incredible. Impeccable. To die for.
That sounds AMAZING :-))
Food Dude says
WHAT A FABULOUS REVIEW!!!!!