Flew into town today and didn't have time to make my wife and I Easter dinner so we went out instead. Though they were busy, we didn't have a problem getting a reservation at Paley's Place giving us the opportunity to try another 25 for $25 menu (menu follows).
They gave us an amuse bouche of baby daikon radishes served with butter and salt. Good actually. I saw others receive different amuses, eg, salmon mousse on little crostinis.
My wife started with the organic greens salad with mustard vinaigrette. She very much liked it. I thought it was decent, but that the flavors could have been punched up (a little salt -- which my wife is usually unwilling to add -- or a bit more mustard would have been a good start).
I started with the soup. It was tasty but nothing special. I would have liked a spicier chorizo. It was good for sopping up with the nice rustic bread they provided for the table.
My wife had the ham for her entree. Normally she shies away from meats, but the sweet mashed potatoes and chutney teased her into getting it. She did like, though not so much the ham. It was very good ham, though. Very tender and moist. She commented that it was more like pot roast than ham it was so tender. I thought it was very good without the overpowering salty curing that you often get with store bought hams that makes me reach for the jar of mustard. It went perfectly with the chutney, a spiced mix of dried and fresh fruits cooked together. The sweet mashed potatoes were okay. It was served with a mixture of greens, too, maybe baby radish greens, watercress, and others. Not sure, but they were good.
I had the lamb. It was very good with just a hint of mint that you had to concentrate to notice, but made a definite difference in the quality of the flavor (for the positive). I didn't notice the gruyere in the potatoes much. That could have been increased. The stewed greens they served it with were very good, though, and the sauce was nice -- flavorful and meaty.
My wife had the apple cherry galette for dessert. It was like a free formed tart with ice cream and a very thin dried apple on top. A little too much pastry, probably, but it was good. The sour cream ice cream did a good job of balancing the tartness of the filling. My wife loved it, especially the ice cream. I'm not a huge fan of sour cream ice creams, but this was a good one.
I had the chocolate beignet. The chestnut orange ice cream was excellent. Very, very good. Everything was lightly drizzled with a chocolate sauce with some sort of liquer, probably an orange liquer. The beignet was nice. It had a nice texture and the outside was an excellent coffee color with good flavor. I'd like a filling for it to break it up a little, but the ice cream helped there.
The finished our meal with two small shortbread orange and lavender cookies. A nice tasty treat.
I liked how on all the desserts they managed the sweetness very well. None were overly sweet but all were clearly desserts. They balance their flavors there pretty well on everything.
The portion sizes for everything were fair. The entrees were clearly smaller than what others who were not ordering the 25 for $25 were getting, but that's very understandable. Paley's is spendy for Portland and most entrees are between $25 and $30 on the normal menu. I was definitely full by the end and that was with drinking only water.
They have good service at Paley's. Something my wife noticed, but I wouldn't ever is that they phrase things in such a way as to always make it sound like it's their honor to serve you. They kept our glasses full and the bread coming (my wife and I are bread hogs). Start to finish we were there about an hour. Everything moved smoothly even though we didn't have drinks to pass the time.
Soup of the Day (a white bean and chorizo soup today)
Organic spinach salad with buttermilk blue cheese dressing, smoky bacon and avocado
Organic greens with gruyere, foccacia croutons, and mustard vinaigrette
Orecchiette pasta with broccoli rabe, anchovies, and bread crumbs
Olive oil poached halibut with braised artichokes, half-dried tomatoes, and young asparagus
Vegetable dish of the day (a vegetarian risotto today)
Lamb shoulder pot roast with gruyere mashed potatoes and mint jus
Honey glazed house cured ham with sweet mashed potatoes and warm fruit chutney
Apple cherry galette with sour cream brown sugar ice cream
Chocolate beignet with chestnut orange ice cream
Daily selection of sorbets and ice creams