My partner and I went to Paley's place for dinner last night, as part of the 'Dine around Portland'. The pre-fix menu items were:
* Soup: some type of beet soup
* Belgian Endive, Arugula & Citrus Salad with aged farmhouse Gouda & sweet & sour shallots
* Housemade Pappardelle
* George's Gathered Greens with lemon and extra virgin olive oil
* Warm Olive Oil Poached Alaskan Halibut with Spring Asparagus, Herb Roasted Potatoes, & Sauce Gribiche
* Grilled Flatiron Steak with Artichokes Barigoule, Young Potatoes, Fava Beans & Tomato Anchovy Vinaigrette
* Roast Leg of Lamb with Warm Shell Bean Salad & Mint Pesto
* Vegetable Dish- a vegetarian cannelloni
* Paley's Crème Brûlée
* Rhubarb Pecan Coffee Cake with Strawberry Rhubarb Coulis & Brown Sugar Bourbon Cream
* House-Made Selection of Sorbets and Ice
I ordered from the PreFix menu-the Belgian Endive salad, the Roast Leg of lamb and the Crème Brulee. I enjoyed each of my chosen dishes. I had hoped the salad would have a few more shavings of Gouda as there were only 2 or 3 on top of the dish but as a starter the salad was flavorful and simple. I did not eat the cuts of grapefruit and tangerine at the bottom, they were used as the circular base for the salad, as I feel the grapefruit would have over powered the dressing but as an accompaniment a hint- it worked well.
I really enjoyed my lamb as it actually tasted like lamb. Several places Ive been to lately have seemed to want to over power the lamb because a lot of people dont actually like the taste of lamb so the restaurant will cover it up with a heavy herb crust or strong olive flavors.
As for the lamb- the first thing I noticed was the smell of the mint pesto.
After eating the lamb for a few bites the Rosemary began to sink in. Once again that was great because Rosemary is the best herb for lamb and a lot of times it actually overpowers the lamb, so I was quite surprised when I didnt notice it at first but then discovered it.
The fava beans were a little bland, I would have liked some lemon thrown on.
Finally I finished with the Crème Brulee. It was fine.
I like crème brulee but Im not overly fond of sweet things so I only ate a few bites.
It was very creamy and smooth.
My partner ordered off the regular menu. They started with the Kobe Beef Steak Tartar. I had never had Steak Tartar before and I thought it was excellent. Very flavorful.
For the main course they had the Halibut. I only got one bite and the halibut was very well done as well. The fish was moist, firm almost creamy.
Finally we finished off with the Chefs Selection Cheese platter (my idea of a desert.) I was not to impressed by the blue that was offered but the Harvest Moon (?) cows milk cheese was excellent. Rich, creamy, flavorful- a wonderful cheese.
To accompany dinner we ordered the Elemental Valley 2000 Syrah.
One of the best things worth noting- was the wait staff. They were wonderful.
When we arrived our table was not quite yet ready so hostess asked if wed like to wait at the bar. The bartender was very friendly, and was helpful in choosing a drink selection- overall very personable. The hostess came to inform us that the table was ready but if wed like to wait a few more minutes shed have a nicer, larger table by a window for us.
Once we were seated our waitress was amazing. She was very accommodating to my request, ranging from room temperature water (which she kept a pitcher near by all evening) to providing me with the desert menu and the cheese selection menu while I was browsing the main menu. She was one of those wonderful waitresses that was friendly, informative, and your water glass never got empty and you never noticed her refilling it.
I recently went to Wildwood, and although we told our waiter that we were on a schedule, he never was around and seemed to take a lot time processing our request. I also thought the food was slightly better at Paley's.
Overall, for ambiance, service and food- I would choose Paleys any day.