When it comes to the food in Portland, I will have to admit, I do have a case of food “beer goggles.” I’m a little more generous on my compliments and generally hold food in a Portland to a lower standard than to food in LA. Why that is the case? I’m not quite sure. I think I just want Portland to be a better foodie town than it already is. I want tall, dark and handsome, when what I really have is stocky, bald and average. Just kidding. That is a terrible exaggeration of the truth. Portland is your simple and interestingly attractive boy next door.
Veritable Quandry is probably my best meal to date in Portland. Portions were more than generous. Flavors and execution were spot on. There were no surprises, no tricks. I’m beginning to understand and appreciate the Portland style.
House Made Rabbit Pate with Toasted Brioche prune vinaigrette, two mustards, house pickled cranberries
I’m definitely eating a lot more charcuterie than I ever have before. Maybe that’s because I’m eating more French inspired cuisine than I ever have before. When in LA, it’s hard not to gravitate toward Asian food. In any case, I do LOVE my charcuterie. I grew up eating that stuff. “What Asian kid grows up eating that stuff,” says Dumpling Man. These things remind me of the family vacations we took in Europe. We’d stop by the local charcuterie, pick up a baguette, varying cuts of meat and spreads and hit the road. My mom with her trusty swiss army knife, which was equally good for cutting fruit as it was for slicing baguettes and spreading pate, would hand out delicious, yet simple sandwiches. It made a terrible mess in the car, but heck, it was a rental! The only true Euro part missing was the cheese, but in the end, we’re all still Asian, so that means no cheese for us. Nowadays, I can’t help but feel guilty spreading a chunk of pate on a little cracker, but I do LOVE the taste of that salty, fatty, mildly livery delicacy.
Sorry for the digression. Here the house made rabbit pate had such a strong smokiness of bacon. I thought it was a bit too overwhelming. However, taken all together with the differing mustards (dijon and whole grain), pickled sweet cranberries, and tangy cornichons, made for a delicious and sophisticated appetizer.
Poached Egg, Smoked Bacon & Butter Lettuce on Crispy Cornbread pickled onion, buttermilk, chives, white cheddar dressing
Dumpling Man is beginning to really like poached eggs, or really anything with a runny egg yolk. I like it, but I don’t like it. I love the added richness, but I sort of detest that egg yolk taste. Sometimes it just works for me, and sometimes it doesn’t. Here, the yolk was not too eggy. The salad, overall, was too rich. I like my salads to be more refreshing, but from the yolk, to the bacon, to the cornbread, this was, no doubt, a hearty salad. The occasional pickled onion managed to cut through some of the richness. Nonetheless, I’d give the salad 1 1/2 thumbs up.
Osso Bucco parmesan, basil risotto
Really, one can hardly ever go wrong with falling off the bone stewed meats. Here was not exception. The osso bucco was hearty and just what one would expect. The sauce and all the stewed vegetables were perfectly sopped up by the creamy risotto beneath.
House Made Butternut Squash Ravioli dungeness crab, oyster mushrooms, spinach
The ravioli certainly balanced out the hearty, salty osso bucco, being lighter and more delicate. It was a combination of ingredients I never thought of placing together. Apparently, fresh crab can pretty much go anywhere and be delicious. My only complaint were the gigantic oyster mushrooms, which made it difficult to be dainty.
Chocolate Nocello Souffle
As I’ve said before, if you make one trip to Portland, you better eat the wings at Pok Pok/Whiskey Soda Lounge. I’m going to have to add one more “Must Eat” to that list. This is THE BEST FREAKING SOUFFLE YOU WILL EVER EAT. I never really thought I liked souffles until I had this one. First, the texture of the souffle was perfectly light and delicate. Every bite revealed a subtle sweetness, that was enhanced by the dark chocolate sauce served tableside. The exterior of the souffle had this amazing sugary crispness to it. Nocello is a walnut and hazelnut liquer, which I can’t say I tasted specifically, but there was something super special about this souffle, maybe it was the nocello. Oh man, this was nothing short of AMAZING! If I had 3 thumbs, they would all be up!!
I really loved our dinner here, and that’s honestly how I see it, sans my “beer goggles.” For the portion size, the price, and the quality of the food, you’ll be hard pressed to find a comparable place. All of that food, plus 2 glasses of wine for $102!! And that souffle!? We were totally stuffed and happy at the end of the night. I highly recommend Veritable Quandry. I can’t wait to go back and try their brunch.
1220 Southwest 1st Avenue
Portland, OR 97204