Restaurants & Bars

[PDX] Ken's

Nick | Jan 18, 2004 06:03 AM

Went to Ken's tonight. Interesting place. Very open kitchen manned by only two, though the daughter does join in to wash dishes occasionally. Not a large dining room with maybe 6 booths and a large communal table in the center. There's also a bar area for 4 people that overlooks the kitchen.

The menu features fairly classic dishes. Small plates include caesar salad, onion tart, and she-crab soup. Large plates include steak au poivre, burger, roast chicken, pork chop, leg of lamb, and seafood stew. The prices for the large plates range from $8.50 for the burger, to $13.75 for the 1/2 chicken, to $18.75 for the steak. Each dish comes with a starch. Greens are sold on the side. They also have a classic dessert menu with items like creme brulee and tart tatin.

Although at first glance the menu may seem a little boring, but they do a good job and pack a lot of flavor into their dishes. My wife and I ordered the "Ladd's Rad Salad", the curry-lentil soup, the she-crab soup, and the flat iron steak au poivre. All were good. The salad had a nice vinaigrette with a variety of greens, pickled red onions, croutons, and olives. The curry-lentil soup was hearty and flavorful. The she-crab soup was rich and buttery with large chunks of pleasant crab. The steak au poivre was super-peppered and rare with a creamy, yet sweet, brandy-enriched sauce. It was served with a "potato cake", essentially garlic mashed potatoes stuffed with carmelized onions and browned on top in the oven.

Like Carafe, it's an interesting marriage of quality food in a French-styled diner. The food is good and fairly priced. I'd have no problem going back here. My only problem with it is the desserts. Maybe the other ones are better, probably are, but what we got -- Ken's Chocolate Bites, 2 little chocolate tarts, 2 truffles, 2 chocolate chip cookies, and 2 brownies -- was weak. Nothing was near as good as I'd make at home.

It's a good place, though.

btw, they now have a "Sunday with Family and Friends" thing going on starting this Sunday. They're doing two seatings per Sunday. It's 4 courses and everything is served family style. The prices are:

Including wine: $29.75/person
w/out wine: $22.50/person
Under 12: $16.75

Here are some themes:

1/18 -- SW France
1/25 -- Down-home in the South
2/01 -- Tropical Caribbean
2/08 -- Tuscany

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