Beaker & Flask

Apparently Portland has a big happy hour scene as well as a cocktail scene.  People love to get the party started after a long days hard work and they like to get their drink on with some stiff cocktails.  What I find strange is that a lot of the happy hours only go until 6pm.  What’s up with that??  Not everyone gets off work at 4 or 5pm.  I find this pretty discriminatory for the people that have jobs with longer work hours.  I guess not everyone gets to be happy after work.  As a result I have not been able to hit up many happy hours.  I have been able to experience this wonderful cocktail scene everyone is talking about.

Beaker & Flask is really popular for not just the food, but for the cocktails.  I’m not much a fan of cocktails because they don’t go well with food in my opinion and I’m such a lightweight so I can’t handle these stiff cocktails everyone likes.  We ordered some cocktails here and I really did not like them.  Maybe we ordered wrong, but we just went with the waiter’s suggestions.  They tasted horrible in my opinion, but I’m sure any ole lush woulda loved them.  They were damn strong, and after 2 cocktails, Dumpling Man was passed out asleep after dinner.  The food on the other hand was a bit more palatable.

Prawns & Mussels poached in fennel broth, fingerling potato, celery and frisee salad

This sounded a lot better than it actually tasted.  The quality of the prawns and mussels were just average.  The whole dish was remarkable under-seasoned.  The concept was there because I did enjoy the potato, celery, and frisee salad in combination with this subtle creamy broth and seafood.  It was just too darn bland.

Mustard Grilled Rabbit bacon, chanterelle, apple crepe, crispy pork, grilled leek vinaigrette

This dish was alllll over the place, but it was still delicious.  Every element was independently flavorful and interesting.  The rabbit had a piquant mustard sauce that was well balanced with some sweet notes.  The apple crepe was soft and just slightly sweet, and perhaps the most out of place element.  The crispy pork was fried and salty.  Everything else just mashed together.  There was certainly A LOT going on in the plate, and while that usually works against the success of the dish, I really appreciated the craziness.

Grilled Beef Shoulder Tender ricotta gnudi, roasted pumpkin, horseradish

Gnudi makes it appearance it again!  Dumpling Man and I were thinking it must be a Pacific Northwest thing?  In any case the gnudi here were just slightly browned and crisped up and picked up the jus of the meat well.  The shoulder itself was more on the rare side of medium rare but I did not mind.  It had a generous salt crust which was a bit overwhelming in some bites.  It became meat overkill when I realized that the shoulder was topped with a beef stew or sorts.   I was trying to balance out the saltiness with some scoops of the mustard sauce from the previous dish.

Beignets panna cotta, red wine poached pears

I’m beginning to notice panna cotta in A LOT of dessert menus these days.  Most of the time the panna cotta is just good and sometimes it’s amazing.  Here it was just good, soft, creamy, sweet.  It was a nice cool contrast against the warm, crunchy, sugary beignets.  The poached pears didn’t add much.

Beaker & Flask was a nice restaurant but I was a bit disappointed.  The flavors were all there but for some reason I was expecting something a little bit more refined.  The ratings on Yelp were really outstanding, but I think people gave more credit for their cocktails which I did not sppreciate.  It looks like they change their menu with the seasons so I’ll be sure to check them out next season.  The place has potential.

Beaker & Flask

720 SE Sandy Blvd

Portland, OR 97214

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