Simpatica Dining Hall, 828 SE Ash St., Portland; tel. 503.235.1600
QUITE A DELICIOUS place, another real find in this city of delightful cuisine. Simpatica is in a sort of basement on an unlikely street, open for dinner only Friday and Saturday nights, with a fixed-price table d'hôte dinner menu with suggested wine pairings. We had:
almonds warmed in oil, with salt "tempura" deep-fried fennel Frisee salad with cannelini, cherry tomato, onion, oil-poached albacore; tarragon vinaigrette semolina tagliatelle with corn and basil pork loin with sweet peppers, onions, mint and preserved lemon nectarine crostata with blackberry ice cream
All of which was quite tasty and correctly done. The chef gave a little talk before dinner, crediting the farmer who'd grown much of the produce — he was seated at one of the five tables (two 12's, three 6's). Could anything have been improved? A little salt in the tart pastry. Would I go back? You bet. The pork was nicely brined; the produce flavors were right at the front of the mouth.
Martin Codáx Albariño 2007