Saturday, September 13, 2008

Simpatica Dining Hall, Portland

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

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