After planning our Vancouver Island trip, I had gotten a little tired of trip planning and asked Mike to plan our meals in Portland. One place he brought us was Beast, brought to you by Chef Naomi Pomeroy from Top Chef Masters season 3 and James Beard finalist for best chef in the Pacific Northwest.
What’s different about this restaurant is that they only offer a 6 course tasting menu for $75 which changes weekly. Wine pairings are available for an additional $35. They’re open Wednesday to Saturday for dinner and they have two seatings each night – 6pm or 8:45pm.
If you’re thinking of making a reservation here, have your credit card handy. All reservations have to be secured with a card and they have a strict 24 hour cancellation policy.
If you’re imagining a fancy high-end restaurant, you won’t find it here. The small restaurant is very modest with a cozy and rustic interior. They have an open kitchen where you can watch them prepare all the dishes and they only have two large tables in the restaurant for communal seating.
On the chalkboard wall, it says “If we aren’t supposed to eat animals, then why are they made out of meat.” So… no, they don’t cater to vegetarians.
*I apologize in advance for the poor quality of the photos. Unfortunately, I didn’t bring my usual camera with me to Portland*
Course #1: Fresh Spanish White Bean Soup – summer savory and fried prosciutto and marinated chanterelles. I’ll be honest, it didn’t look like the most appetizing soup but its flavour certainly made up for its lack of presentation. It had great layers of flavours from the white beans, salty prosciutto and earthy mushrooms. A great summer soup!
Course #2: Charcuterie Plate - foie gras bon-bon with sauternes gelée, chicken liver mousse, steak tartare, pork & pistachio pate, duck dillette and tête de cochon. If only all charcuterie plates were like this one! I loved that they gave you one bite of everything. I’m someone who really likes variety so this dish was perfect for me. Although each component was incredible, my favourite was the foie gras bonbon which was one decadent morsel sitting on what reminded me of a graham cracker. The chicken liver mousse was a close second for me. It was served on a leaf lard cracker and I was surprised by how intense the flavours were in this small bite.
After course #2, we were served a palette cleanser of grapefruit, aperol and thyme sorbet. It was a great cleanser after the rich and heavy charcuterie plate.
Course #3: Lava Lake Lamb Leg Roast – with eggplant, half dried tomato & sheeps cheese tian, my favourite dish of the evening and one of the best lamb dishes I’ve ever had (and I’ve eaten a lot of lamb). The dish consisted of two perfectly cooked pieces of lamb leg – my knife went through the meat like it was butter. The meat sat in a thin layer of mint and pickled onion sauce vert which paired perfectly with the meat. Not to be outdone, the eggplant, tomato and sheeps cheese tian was to die for. A perfect dish!
Course #4: Olive Oil Poached Oregon Albacore – with French beans, olives & cherry tomatoes. It was a delicious take on a nicoise salad. I rarely ever order tuna since it’s often overcooked and dry but the albacore at beast was perfectly poached. The dish came with anchiode, toast and was topped with a sumac vinaigrette. Another killer dish!
Course #5: Selection of Cheeses from Steve at Cheese Bar. It came with three pieces of cheese, one of which was made from goat’s milk and the others from cow’s milk. The cheese was accompanied by fried almonds, cardamom shortbread, wildflower honey and a champagne poached apricot. I’m not a cheese connoisseur but I enjoyed the plate.
Course #6: Lemon Verbena Crème Brulee – Viridian Farms blueberry compote. If you’re wondering, I was beyond stuffed by this point but this crème brulee was too delicious to not finish. It was the perfect way to end a perfect meal! Smooth, creamy and it had just the right amount of sweetness.
Like I said, this was the perfect meal – the best meal of the year so far. Perhaps I should let Mike choose where we eat more often. The food was spectacular and the service was just as great. For $75 per person, I thought it was really fantastic value – there’s also no tax in Portland. If you’re ever in the city, Beast is a must-try!
At a glance:
• 6 course tasting menu (changes weekly) for $75 per person + $35 for wine pairings
• Open Wednesday to Saturday for dinner – 2 seatings at 6pm or 8:45pm
• Reservations have to be secured with a credit card
• The space only has 2 large tables for communal seating
• One of the best meals I’ve had
Ratings (out of 5):
• Food: 5 stars
• Service: 4 stars
• Atmosphere: 4 stars