Oh, friends. It's March. Do you know what that means?
Yes, Fat Tuesday. Yes, St. Patrick's Day. Sure, it's also Spring Break. But more importantly in my food obsessed brain: IT'S FRIED CHICKEN MONTH, and --AND! -- Portland Dining Month.
You might think I've been working out everyday to train for the Shamrock Run, but you would be wrong (although I am running the 5K. See you there?). I'm working out 7 days a week so I can eat everything I want during Portland Dining Month and maybe only gain 5 pounds instead of 50.
Portland Dining Month is a culinary citywide and month-long celebration consisting of more than 90 restaurants offering 3-course meals for just $29 per person. Last year, I shared my top 10 picks for Portland Dining Month, and I would honestly recommend those same restaurants because I still heart them so (continuing Portland Dining Month participants that I recommended last year include Aviary, Bar Avignon, Departure, Genoa, Mother's Bistro, Ringside Fish House, Serratto, Yakuza).
This year, I thought I'd share with you nine places that I have been dying to try but have never been. I've eaten at a great many restaurants and bars throughout the city and neighboring suburbs, but Portland always has SO much to offer that, unless you dine out for a living (um, hello dream job), it's nearly impossible to hit all of the great spots in town. At its heart, that's really what Portland Dining Month is about: the opportunity to try new restaurants at a lower price. I can't wait!
Let's dig in . . . (listed in alphabetical order)
1. Bistro Marquee
200 Sw Market
First course (choose one): Apple salad with local lettuce, honey crisp apple, sultana, Manchego, shaved fennel, candied nuts and raspberry-honey vinaigrette -OR- Roasted beet salad with arugula, butternut squash, spiced pecans, figs, feta and cider vinaigrette -OR- Seasonal soup of the day
Second course (choose one): Gulf shrimp with crispy pork belly, yellow polenta, micro greens and creole shrimp sauce -OR- Braised short ribs, root vegetable and red wine sauce -OR- House-made goat cheese ravioli, asparagus and Meyer lemon butter sauce
Dessert (choose one): Vanilla mousse cake with crème anglaise -OR- Seasonal crème brûlée -OR- Pear cobbler with vanilla ice cream -OR-Dessert of the day
2926 NE Alberta
First course: Roasted pear and walnut salad with walnut oil, Rogue River blue cheese and cinnamon toast
Second course (choose one): Scott's lobster and black truffle pot pie with truffle-lobster cream, Parisian vegetables and mushrooms -OR- Dry-aged steak Delmonico with oxtail, truffled potato purée and marrowbone
Dessert: Chocolate-cherry sphere with cocoa nibs and cherry-caramel froth
3. Chart House
5700 SW Terwilliger Blvd
First course (choose one): Caesar salad -OR- chopped salad
Second course (choose one): Braised Asian-style short ribs with cucumber kimchee, Yukon gold mashed potatoes and wilted spinach with a warm soy glaze -OR- Shrimp and artichoke linguini tossed with sautéed spinach, artichokes, tomatoes, garlic-herb butter and feta -OR- Santa Fe red snapper served with Mexican corn spoon bread, tomatillo cream sauce, avocado corn salsa, crispy tortilla strips and cilantro
Dessert (choose one): Mud pie -OR- Key lime pie
4246 SE Belmont
First course: Mebachi maguro tataki: seared Hawaiian bigeye sashimi
Second course: Nijimasu teriyaki: Oregon steelhead with rye bourbon teriyaki
Third course: Moriawase nigiri: five pieces of daily assorted nigiri
5. Korkage Wine Bar & Shop
6320 SW Capitol HWY
First course (choose one): Roasted Brussels sprout salad with apples and bacon -OR- Roasted cauliflower, radicchio and olive salad with chili-lemon vinaigrette -OR- Warm beet salad with oranges, pear, feta and balsamic reduction PLUS: Each selection accompanied by wine pairing.
Second course (choose one): Mint-grilled shrimp with chard over lemon-dill grits, drizzled with lemon-paprika oil -OR- Cassoulet, a rustic French casserole of duck confit, white beans, andouille sausage and pancetta -OR- Braised lamb shank in a red wine reduction PLUS: Each selection accompanied by wine pairing
Dessert (choose one): Crème brûlée -OR- House-made truffle duo (ask server for flavors) -OR- Butterscotch apple crisp. PLUS: Dessert selections accompanied by choice of coffee or tea
6. Mucca Osteria
1022 SW Morrison
First course: Tagliere della casa: selection of cured meats and house-made charcuterie, pickles and Italian olives -OR- Insalatina di pere, noci e Gorgonzola: organic mixed green salad with Gorgonzola, walnuts and fresh organic pear
Second course (choose one): Pappardelle al cinghiale: egg pappardelle pasta with slow-braised wild boar ragù -OR- Gnocchetti con Gorgonzola e Noci: potato pasta with Gorgonzola and walnuts
Dessert (choose one): Tiramisù: Savoiardi biscuit, mascarpone cheese and espresso -OR- Semifreddo all'Amaretto: soft Amaretto gelato with cookie crumbles
7. Oso Market + Bar
726 SE Grand Avenue
First course (choose one): Tails and Trotters chorizo-stuffed Medjool dates wrapped in Carlton Farms bacon and topped with cumin honey -OR- Roasted carrots with a garlic-dill yogurt sauce, shaved Brussels sprouts and radicchio salad with Parmesan
Second course (choose one): Herb-roasted Draper Valley chicken thighs with shaved Brussels sprouts and white beans in a red wine butter sauce served with a Meyer lemon-artichoke pesto and salad of mixed greens and wild arugula with aged balsamic vinaigrette -OR- Ratatouille over polenta topped with wild arugula salad, Parmesan and house-made balsamic reduction
Dessert (choose one): Blood orange polenta cake topped with blood orange caramel sauce and whipped cream -OR- White chocolate vermouth cheesecake with a Marcona almond crust
1205 SW Washington
First course: Yukon Gold potato soup with parsnip chip, smoked olive oil and brown butter
Second course: Sous vide egg with artisan couscous, curry, spinach butter and chickpea cracker
Third course: Wagyu culotte steak with heirloom carrots, smoked apple cider and watermelon radish
Note: Menu is seasonal and subject to change
9. The Country Cat Dinnerhouse and Bistro
7937 SE Stark
First course: Black pepper-crusted beef carpaccio with truffled leeks, hard-cooked egg and celery leaf salad
Second course: The Country Cat's cast iron skillet-fried chicken with mashed potatoes and country gravy
Dessert: Mom's carrot cake with cream cheese frosting and candied walnut
Visit downtownportland.org for the full list of participating 2014 Portland Dining Month restaurants and make your reservations!
I'd like to thank ALL of the participating Portland Dining Month restaurants for giving locals a chance to learn more about the fantastic offerings throughout the city. Now, I am STARVING after writing this. Who's ready to eat a three course meal for just $29 with me?! :)
I'd love to know: which restaurants would YOU check out for Portland Dining Month this year? And, be sure to enter my friend Pechluck's Portland Dining Month giveaway on her blog, Pechluck's Food Adventures.
Want to learn more about Portland hot spots? Be sure to check out our newest guide, PDXBliss.