Restaurants & Bars 6

PDX - Lucier

Hanny | May 29, 2008 05:50 PM

I get lots of great info from this board and don't think I've ever responded. There's too many much more knowledgeable folks than me on here! But this time, thought I'd couple a question I have with my first impression of Lucier.

I had the opportunity to go to a pre-opening dinner on Saturday. I wasn't sure what to expect after reading lots online about how ambitious an undertaking it is for Portland. What I liked immediately about Lucier upon walking in was that it wasn't your typical darkly light fancy restaurant (El Gaucho, Daniel Broiler in Seattle, what I rememer of Paley's Place, even Herb Farm in Seattle come to mind). It was bright and modern - the floor to ceiling windows help. A nice change. And the view is amazing, but after getting engaged on the Portland watefront years ago, I have a special place in my heart for that view. We were treated to a great thunder and lightening storm Saturday night and watching it light up the river was great.

I really enjoyed the food. They started us with an amuse of a bay scallop with a little topping of cavier set on some sort of cream sauce and seaweed. It was tasty and set a nice tone for the dinner to come. For whatever reason, I tend to prefer appetizer choices and this was very much the case here as well. But since this was the pre-opening dinner, we were to choose one item from appetizers, entree and dessert.

I opted for the carpaccio of sea bass because it looked the most interesting - I was skeptical that raw fish and foie gras would make a good pairing but it was the BEST appetizer I've ever had. I'd go back for that alone. The layers of flavors and texture was amazing. My husband had the mille feuille of lobster - that was good too, although I only got one bite.

As for the entree, I ordered the lamb. although it was very good and perfectly cooked, it was my least favorite of all that we tried. Simply because it could be lamb that you order at any fine restaurant... not interesting like the sea bass app was. My husband ordered the rib eye steak. I try to avoid ordering rib eyes at restaurants because we can make such great steaks at home. But my god, this steak was good. I'd order it again - great flavor and one that I couldn't replicate myself. If I'm going to pay that much for a steak, I'd go back to Lucier before going to El Gaucho again.

Desserts - I wanted a rhubarb dessert that was on the menu but apparently it was very popular - they were out of it. The lemon souffle was excellent (light and not too sweet) as was the creme brulee. I tend to like lavender desserts tho.

Service was interesting. Although there's been a lot written about the building and decor, it's the service, along with the food, that I was really interested in (this was true when I first visited Seattle's Herb Farm as well). I'd never heard of "brigade" style before but even though we were the "dry run" diners, I thought the service was fantastic. We didn't have a single dedicated server like you do in other restaurants but a team of people who took orders, filled water and wine glasses, served the food. Except for the simultaneous serving of our plates, it wasn't over the top like I thought it would be but quick and responsive. Hoever, the simultaneous serving of plates for a larger table did catch me a bit off guard...

All in all, one of the better dinners I've had and looking at menu prices, not as expensive as I thought it would be. So I'd like to go again the next time I'm in town but I'd like to try the Chef's Tasting Menu, which wasn't available for pre-opening night. And this is where my question comes in:

Has anyone had a chance to try the tastng menu? And does anyone know how often the menu will be refreshed?

The tasting menu seems really reasonable in price, particularly compared to the $200+ per person we pay for the Herb Farm up here!

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