Beast

Beast is a unique dining experience.  It is a restaurant composed of a staff of 5 (2 chefs, 2 servers, 1 busboy) and 2 communal tables (20-30 seats) with a large open air kitchen.  Dinner service is only offered Wednesday through Sunday with two seatings at 6:00pm and 8:45pm.  Brunch is offered only on Sundays at 10am or 12pm.

Being one of Portland’s fine dining establishments, it has garnered a reputation for simply and perfectly executed food in an intimate dining experience.  The 6 course menu changes weekly depending on the availability of local seasonal ingredients.

Cream of Celery Soup meyer lemon salsa verde

I am usually not a fan of celery.  I mean I like it in stuffing and chicken salad, but as a soup?  I was really impressed with the simplicity and smooth texture of the soup.  The best part was the meyer lemon salsa verde which added some nice unexpected acidity that rounded out the creamy sweetness of the soup.  There were also some deep friend celery leaves I think? which brought a crispy earthiness.  Very well done.

Charcuterie Plate (from top and clockwise)

steak tartare & quail egg toast 

The tartare is missing since I took the pictures during plating.  Safe to say, this was one of the strongest elements on the plate.  Seems like you can rarely go wrong with a runny egg yolk.  It went nicely with the bit of raw beef which already had its own lusciousness.

basque style  pork pastry

Not as refined as the other bites.  Tasted like a standard pork pie.  Could have been crispier.

pigs head terrine with parsley and lemon

I think terrines may be too chunky for me.  Aside from that, this could have used a bit more salt.

foie gras bon bon, sauternes gelee

This is missing the actually bon bon so all you see is the little shortbread it was sitting on.  This was my favorite little bite on the plate.  The foie gras was smooth and rich.  I loved how it was just one delicious perfect contained bite.

chicken liver mousse & pickled shallot

I enjoyed another smooth bite of fat and salt.  This was unusually on the sweet side, but I didn’t mind it.

 

Sorbet

I forget what flavor this was, something like edel flowers and something?  This had a slight bitter aftertaste and stronger sweetness than what I thought was appropriate for a palate cleanser.

Braised Rainshadow El Rancho Goat potato gnocchi & goats milk cheese, hedgehog mushrooms, gathering together winter greens

Anything with stewed or braised meats almost immediately wins points for homeyness and comfort.  I couldn’t really tell I was eating goat though.  The gnocchi was not particularly impressive, could have been softer.  The winter greens were a little bitter but were sauteed in garlic and reminded me of Chinese style vegetables so I actually liked them.  Other diners pushed them aside and ate everything else.  

Roasted Beets with Escarole Hearts seville orange vinaigrette

What’s with salads being composed of unchopped leaves?  I’m not quite sure what the chefs are aiming to accomplish because the diner ends up having to cut up the leaves anyways.  In any case, this salad was interesting in that it wasn’t composed of lettuce but rather escarole which I learned was part of the chicory family.  That also includes things like endive and radicchio.  So while it looked like normal lettuce it had a slightly bitter taste that was balanced by the sweet beets.  I would have liked more components to the salad, maybe some toasted nuts?

Selection of Steve’s Cheese

anise & fleur de sel shortbread

oregon wildflower honey

champagne poached apricots

marcona almonds 

I don’t think I can say much about the cheese dish.  I can’t even remember which cheeses were served.  I didn’t really know how to eat the cheese and other components together.  I don’t usually like honey, but this was very nice.  Further supporting my theory that anything with the word “Oregon” in it is always delicious.  I wished the cheese dish didn’t take up a course because I was underwhelmed. 

French Cannoli marsala cream, almond praline

I’m not sure if I’ve eaten a cannoli before but this one tasted like a fried wonton with tasteless cream.  I thought the cream should have had some sugar in it.  Wow, the dessert wine served was the most awful wine I’ve ever tasted, like awful cough syrup.

While I liked my meal at Beast, with some disappointments like the dessert and cheese course, I couldn’t help but feel a little cheated.  When I go out to a fine dining establishment, I look forward to eating things I normally wouldn’t eat or prepare at home.  That usually includes expensive things like scallops, lamb chops, oysters, foie gras, etc.  Our meal here did not have any large proteins so I felt like the $65 per person was unjustified.  Also I felt like because of the small staff size, a lot of the dishes have to be kept simple and made ahead of time to allow for proper execution.   Despite all that, I would still come back to Beast because the flavors are simple yet refined, and the experience is fun.

Beast

5425 Northeast 30th Avenue

Portland, OR 97211

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