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Pacific Northwest Soft-Shell Crab

[PDX] Acadia (and soft-shell crab update)....

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[PDX] Acadia (and soft-shell crab update)....

Nick | Dec 21, 2004 12:30 AM

Went to Acadia for the first time tonight.

First of all: soft-shell crab update. They sell them. All deep fried and splayed out like a fried tarantula. Don't know how good they are, because I don't dig on no bugs. But there's a place that sells them.

I like the room. Nice warm colors and attractive decor -- colorful paintings and comfortable chairs.

I like the Monday menu. No entrees over $10, despite good-sized portions. They also have a prix fixe Monday dinner: house salad, choice of entree, and bread pudding for $18.

Neither my wife nor I got it, because "house salad" just wasn't interesting enough. But it's a nice option.

On Tue-Thu and F & Sat before 6 pm they have a 3 course $25 dinner of house or caesar salad, choice of entree (there are a couple like the sirloin, that can't be chosen), and choice of dessert. Another great deal, especially since the non-Monday menu has higher priced entrees (and deservingly so because of the ingredients) ranging from $13-$22.

On Wednesdays only, apparently, they serve lunch, which includes Po' Boys and most of the entrees and apps from the Monday menu.

Okay, onto the dinner. I got the oysters en brochette ($7), cupa cupa cupa ($10), and bread pudding ($5). My wife got the creole shellfish rillettes ($6.50), the catfish belle chasse ($10), and the pecan pie ($6).

The oysters, wrapped in bacon, were nicely fried with a light and crispy, but large breading. The oyster were very tender, maybe too much so. But there was no off flavor and the remoulade had a nice tangy flavor and a very slight piquancy.

The cupa cupa cupa is a -- wait for it, wait for it --cup of red beans and rice, gumbo, and jambalaya. The rb&r were a stew consistency with a rich flavor and occasional smokiness from the andouille. The gumbo had a noticeable seafood flavor, but not so much a fishiness in the bad sense (though I don't like the "flavor of the sea" either). It was a dark broth with occasional bits of okra, shrimp, and andouille. The jambalaya had allegedly has smoked chicken, duck, andouille, and tasoo with caramelized onions, celery, and bell pepper. Didn't seem that complex to me. It has a nice spiciness, though, and the occasional bits of smoky meat is nice. A couple final comments: I couldn't much tell the meats apart. They were smokey, but if they were andouille, which is what I was guessing while eating them, it was a very dense, fine texture sausage.

The bread pudding was good. It was topped with pecans and a white chocolate sauce that was a little too sweet. The texture is a bit odd, but I kind of liked it. I don't think they let the bread soak up much of the custard and so you had textural variance between the bread with only a light amount of custard and the breadless custard between the chunks.

My wifes rillettes consisted of a shellfish pate with thin pieces of toasted french bread. The pate was too seafoody for me. But the bread was perfectly crisped and if you like that sort of flavor, it was good enough.

My wife's catfish came encrusted in a cornmeal breading. It was a pretty big filet atop potatoes, vegetables, and two sauces, a hollandaise and a jalapeno tartar. The tartar tasted more of horseradish than jalapeno, I think. The crust on the fish was unevenly cooked and not as crisp as I think it should have been. The fish was also inconsistently cooked somehow (afterall, this was deep-fried) and many parts were mushy. I also thought the flavor wasn't that great. This was a long ways from the catfish I had at Army & Lou's in Chicago this summer, nor as good as that at Corbett Fish House, though theirs had a slightly worse flavor. It wasn't bad, but it wasn't good. Hopefully we just got unlucky.

My wife really liked her pecan pie. Not as sweet as many, but still a little sweet for me, the unsweetened whipped cream helped alleviate that. Good crust and texture.

Overall, I think the Monday meal is a great deal and it's worth going back to. I would have liked a bit more consistency and aggressively seasoned dishes, but this place is promising.

PS: I round my prices.

Acadia Fine Dining & Cocktails
In the New Orleans Manner
1303 NE Fremont, Portland
503.249.5001
Dinner M-Sa, Lunch Wed

Link: http://www.extramsg.com

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