1 Place

Expand Map

1 Place

Melanie Wong | Sep 8, 201801:24 PM     7

Post the local cheese tasting https://www.chowhound.com/post/cascad... , a little shopping and a brief rest break, we soldiered on to Quaintrelle for dinner in a cozy booth. A round of craft cocktails while we studied the menu earned our praise. The teetotaler enjoyed and recommends the housemade ginger beer. I asked our server how many plates would make sense for our party of four. She suggested six dishes would be plenty . . . and we managed to restrain ourselves and only ordered seven savories plus dessert. The servings turned out to be full-size, ample enough to share four ways plus revisit favorites. I also asked about a few plates to start and then more later to pace the service. She said we could order all at once and that she would course them for us.

In order of service:

Squash, Beauregard sweet potatoes, purple broccoli tempura, chili honey, smoked pecorino, $16. What's not to like about vegetables captured at the height of freshness in a light and greaseless tempura treatment? The chili honey was not so much of a sweet signature (thankfully!), more a rounding out bridging from one taste sensation to the next.

Burrata, coppa, melons, nectarine, basil, zucchini, orach, almonds, $17. A fanciful best-of-the-summer-garden presentation with what's at peak at the moment pulling together fruity sweetness, savory/salty cured meat and herbal greenery set against the richness of creamy burrata and crunchy almonds.

Sheep cheese dumplings, mushrooms, chard, cherry tomatoes, $22. My favorite dish of the night, a simpler statement of fragile gnocchi in an umami-bomb mushroom essence brightened with sweet-tart tomatoes.

Octopus, cranberry beans, tomato, nardello, verde, $17. Low on the promised octopus, but the optics of the pair of curled cephalopod tentacles balanced by the curvaceous Jimmy Nardello pepper delighted. Incredible fresh shell beans cooked to perfect creaminess absorbed the delectably sweet juices of the surrounding seasonal vegetables.

Albacore, charred peaches, masa, tomatillo, squash, aioli, $23. Maybe I was starting to slow down, but this was the one dish that did not come together for me. Each element was fine but synergy was absent. This was also one dish not finished with any cheese or crema.

Beef tartare, peanut, favas, celtuce, wasabi, yolk, $16. Served with shrimp chips, the heavy dressing washed out the flavor of the beef itself though a tasty mouthful nonetheless.

Chicken hearts, green chili baked beans, cornbread, $12. Shriveled down to rubbery nubs of heart, I wondered if this texture was intentional or a mistake, as technique had been so flawless throughout.

Olive oil cake, peach sorbet, peach buttermilk ice cream, basil, $7. So full from this repast, we ordered but one dessert that the birthday girl had to share. The heavy, coarse-grained slab of cake formed just the right base for the frozen elements and fresh fruit.

In the cocktail realm, I can recommend the Big Thief for fans of bourbon in non-sweet formats. Sensuously silky with browned butter, a touch of citrusy highlights and balancing bitters.

2014 Scott Paul "La Paulee" Willamette Valley Pinot Noir, $44, caught my eye on the wine list for having a some bottle age. Even at four years old, the sharp acidity's still quite pointed, and this wine definitely needs food and plenty of aeration. The wine list is organized into two parts. The first page offers wines by the glass and selections that are nearly all $45 or less per bottle, a practice that I wish other restaurants would emulate. The rest of the list is worthy studying as well, if one wants to spend more.

Quaintrelle's vegetable-forward cuisine, now under the direction of new Chef de Cuisine Ryley Eckersley, was impressive, as was the service. We had a wonderful time and closed the restaurant that night. It was the ideal spot to celebrate my favorite quaintrelle's birthday.

3936 N Mississippi Ave.
Portland, OR


Want to stay up to date with this post? Sign Up Now ›

Discussion Summary

More from Chowhound

The Ultimate Guide to Thanksgiving

The Ultimate Guide to Thanksgiving

by Kristin Donnelly | The best way to cook a stress-free dinner is to think ahead, which is why we've created this comprehensive...

19 Great Thanksgiving Desserts That Aren't Pie
Food and Cooking

19 Great Thanksgiving Desserts That Aren't Pie

by Caitlin M. O'Shaughnessy | When the usual pie lineup feels boring and uninspired for your dessert repertoire, you've got to make...

An Ode to 5 Thanksgiving Foods That Are Better from the Package
Food Trends

An Ode to 5 Thanksgiving Foods That Are Better from the Package

by Kelsey Butler | Nostalgia is a factor not to be discounted when it comes to food, and these five holiday staples sometimes...

Better-Than-Homemade Goodies That Can Be Ordered Online

Better-Than-Homemade Goodies That Can Be Ordered Online

by David Klein | Mail order cookies, cakes, pies, and other sweet treats are better (and more prolific) than ever...

Get fresh food news delivered to your inbox

Sign up for our newsletter to receive the latest tips, tricks, recipes and more, sent twice a week.