Kenny Giambalvo is Leaving Bluehour
One rumor floating around has caught my attention, just because I’ve heard it so much: Kenny Giambalvo leaving Bluehour. After the ill-fated Balvo fiasco, it wouldn’t surprise me. Remember though, this is just a rumor. Update May 16th. Kenny dropped in an issued a strong denial.
From Cuisine Bonne Femme:
(Note: Cuisine Bonne Femme has been too busy eating and practicing her dancing moves to write much news this week)
Three New Restaurants to Explore
Aquariva, an upscale Italian destination restaurant next to the Avalon Hotel and Spa on SW Hamilton, is set to open May 18th. Our spies tell us that the Press Dinner held this week, was quite the grand show. Presented as a formal sit down dinner with over 8 individually served courses of various small plates; each course was matched to a wine an Italian wine pairing. Offerings included such things as fried artichoke hearts, sweet pea ravioli, grilled lamb chops, and asparagus served with prosciutto and a fried duck egg. Anyone knows that the way to win over the press through their stomachs (and by getting them sauced on lots of good wine), and Aquariva did not hold out. Although still in the construction phase and the roads in that area of town are a mess, Aquariva makes up for it with one of the prettiest riverside locations in Portland, smack right up against the banks of the Willamette with a charming patio set under the trees. Stay tuned…
Toro Bravo, John Gorham’s, (formerly of Simpatica and Viande fame) Spanish restaurant had their soft opening on Friday night with a limited but delicious sampling of free tapas and two dollar sangrias. The space, located on N. Russell next to the Wonder Ballroom is understated and airy, showcases an open kitchen and counter seating, and has both large communal tables and smaller ones. We enjoyed everything we tried from traditional salt cod and potato fritters with their creamy salty centers and golden fried outsides, to the regional Spanish dish of clams and duck in fideos noodles served paella style. Spanish food can be some of the best food in the world and Toro Bravo is potentially poised to expand Portlanders understanding of this cuisine by featuring lesser known dishes such as the Catalan seasonal specialty of grilled spring onions with Salbitxba, and Boquerones (marinated fresh anchovies). You can bet we’ll be back there soon… They note that due to OLCC delay they will “soft” open Friday May 18th (NOT May 15th).
I wandered into Zilla Sake at NE 18th and Alberta St. on Friday night. I’m no sake expert, but if you love or are even curious about sake then check it out as they have the largest selection of sake in Portland. We counted over 41 different sakes on the menu, with varieties from all over Japan and the full line-up of Oregon’s own Sake One. We tried a couple of different types including one that comes frozen creating an adult-like sake slushy in a cup. I can imagine drinking more of those to cool off when the weather really starts to heat up later this summer.
The space is a converted storefront and is small with about 4 booths, and a couple of tables, and they do have a full bar with seating, and some interesting snacks such as sea scallops in a light curry sauce, spicy squid with wasabi dipping sauce, and grilled Unagi sea eel with eel sauce (their description) served over rice. It’s a lights down low, sexy music kind of place and would be a perfect place to meet up for a date or late night ending to one.
How Low Can Michael Hebb Go?
What happens when you mix a Portland strip club with a Michael Hebb one pot “underground dining” production? Hopefully something that doesn’t require a trip to the doctor afterwards due to a weird rash or worse.
First there was this teaser posted on one pot’s always quixotic website:
“it seems that one pot will be stretching its legs into more uncertain
waters – a little pushing of the shorts, the convivial shorts. and if
the stars continue to align on cinco de mayo we will be well anchored
into a house of ill repute, there will be some extremely loud dirty
dirty rock and roll, women and probably men dancing and flailing with
blazing fire chains dressed in much red light and little else – and a
feast of bubbling pots and dirty shot glasses of wild turkey. we will
let you know how it all falls out”
Well it turns out that this vague and unintentionally hilarious innuendo (I really hope it does not “all fall out” afterwards and that the “dirty shot glasses” were at least hygienic) is no other than a One Pot dinner Michael (and probably chef Morgan Brownlow as well) hosted last week at Portland’s very own Devil’s Point on SE Foster Rd. The Devil’s Point is the strip bar loved by the rock and roll crowd that is known for their weekly “stripparoake” sing alongs, and heavily tattooed and pierced “stripsters” (you know, hipsters+strippers = stripsters). Frankly I’m glad I missed it, but my sources tell me the food at the Acropolis strip club and steak house down on Milwaukee Ave is way better than what was served at one pot. Plus the thought of the Hebb and friends “dancing and flailing with blazing fire chains…and little else” pretty much makes me unsurprisingly, not hungry.
I went to Zilla Sake on Saturday night (fairly early) with the family. The server and owner were very friendly (asking us if we had any music preferences). The food was very good. I had the eel, my husband had the tuna, and our friend had the scallops and squid. The pickled veggies we had were nice too. Definitly more of a snack and drink place than someplace to eat a full meal.
The only disappointment was the squid. The menu doesn’t say it’s dried squid, but it is. (and I do not like dried squid!)
Friday night 6/1 at Aquariva, what a bad way to start the weekend. All we wanted was a glass of wine with friends prior to crossing the bridge for dinner at Eleni’s (how do you say wonderful in Greek?) but even that seemed too much for the staff of Aquariva. We arrived at 4:55 and asked if we could sit at the side patio to enjoy a glass of wine. We were curtly told that they were not open yet. We said, “no worries, do you mind if we sit here and wait?” The ‘man in black’ told us again, “WE ARE NOT OPEN UNTIL 5pm!” I think he thought we didn’t hear him. Anyway, I could type for hours on what was only a one hour experience but to save my fingers let me summarize: interactions with 4 workers, all of whom were abruptly rude and much too concerned with their looks to bother with serving others, grossly overpriced wine ($14 a glass for a mediocre red), 25 minute wait before we could order (“we JUST opened!”), 15 minute wait for our wine once ordered and then another 20 minute wait for the check. And don’t even get me started on the 80’s black dresses with the keyhole opening in the front – we were lucky not to get a black eye from our waitresses protruding breasts. Tacky, expensive, rude – can’t think of another place in PDX quite this bad!!!!!!