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Restaurants & Bars 1

[PDX] Bar Pastiche

Nick | Nov 14, 200409:16 PM

This joint venture between Pix and Navarre next to and open to Pastaworks just opened this last week. Went there tonight. It's spare inside like Navarre. There are a few small tables, maybe 5 or so, and about as much bar seating.

The door opens to Pix's offerings in the dessert case. The selection is smaller than at Pix, but still good. An upside down L-shaped bar with tapas extends away from the dessert case. Pix has a couple savory dishes mixed in with the, maybe, 20 or more choices. Most of the savory items are only a buck. The sweets are a bit more expensive, but cheaper and smaller than most things at Pix.

Behind the counter/bar on the wall are wines upon wines. The wine menu shows about 40 choices offered in three categories. They don't name the cateogries, but I assume they're by taste, glass, and bottle. Prices go from averaging under $5 for the first column, to averaging under $9 for the second column, to averaging under $25 for the third column. I didn't get any wine, of course, but I did order several things to eat.

* Salt cod fritter, $1: Doesn't taste bad, but this is something that just needs to be freshly fried, I think. Texture could be better, too.

* Buffalo flank steak with walnut bread, blue cheese, and bell pepper, $1: This was the best item on bread, mainly I think because the walnut bread didn't dry out like the baguettes. Plus, blue cheese and red meat is just a classic combination that works. I wish the steak could have been nicely crusted and left more rare, but maybe that's not appropriate for something sitting around.

* Smoked salmon w/ fennel paste, $1: The fennel is overpowered by the salmon. The slice of baguette was way too tough from being a bit stale, I think.

* Pork romesco with yellow pepper, $1: The pork tasted nice, but I wouldn't call this good.

* Chorizo with apple, $1: Simple, kind of good, but much too small. By far the smallest item with only two little slices of thumb diameter chorizo with a sliver of apple between them.

* Parmigiano flan with ham, $1: This one was made by Pix. It was the most interesting item, but it wasn't especially tasty. A piece of bread crust with cheese and wrapped with ham would have tasted better, probably.

* Dates wrapped with bacon with maple syrup, $1: Overpowered by the maple syrup. Much too sweet.

* Blue cheese and truffle, $2: Nice combination. Pix's truffle with a good blue cheese. Pix's truffles aren't my favorites. I think the cocoa powder exterior is too strong and bitter. But the combination works.

I think this place would be better with high turnover on the dishes and the dishes coming out fresh. Several of the bites come on sliced baguette which wasn't tender enough. I think that's because the baguette wasn't fresh enough.

But I also think most of the dishes themselves could be greatly improved. They're very simple. So much so, that I think any semi-experienced cook, even home cooks like myself, would feel that they could reproduce them. And honestly, I think I could easily improve on all of them without significantly increasing their complexity. I don't think the flavors were balanced, which is extremely important for one-bite dishes.

It's so new, that I imagine things will improve. It's so cheap, that it's worth popping in for a couple minutes and spending $3 on a few tastes that look intriguing. However, I see some of the same things here that I don't like about Navarre and so if you don't like Navarre, you may want to approach the savory dishes here with some suspicion. However, if you do like Navarre, you should probably give it a try before people realize they're there.


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