With so many new restaurants, youll never have to eat at same place twice
Sipping pints in yet another new bar last weekend surrounded by people half our age, my husband and I reminisced about spending our early 20s in Portland.
Our choices going out then ranged from Satyricon, the Virginia Cafe, Space Room, Quality Pie, the Original Hotcake House and several dive bars. Food wasn't that important to me.
Souvlaki from Satyricon at night and dim sum the next morning at Fong Chong was really all I needed or could afford. Periodically I'd have a good meal at my parents' and, if I ever had a little extra money, I'd meet friends for drinks and appetizers at the Brasserie Montmartre and, later, Zefiro.
In 1992, Le Bistro Montage opened on Southeast Belmont Street, and it was good (then) and cheap.
Twenty years later I sometimes feel like a metal ball in a pinball machine. Portland is the machine, and I'm being slapped and smacked from restaurant to bar to coffee shop to bakery to restaurant while bells ring and buzzers buzz.
I'm dizzy. Where did all these places come from?
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One of the newest and swankiest spots in town is Ten 01 (1001 N.W. Couch St., 503-226-3463).
The lovely split-level restaurant from Adam Berger and Michael Rypkema (the fellows who own Tabla) opened last month in the Henry Building across the street from Powell's City of Books. The expensive and ambitious restaurant recently added lunch service and just announced a new theater package.
Ten 01 is next door to the Gerding Theater at the Armory, home to Portland Center Stage. Ten 01's theater package is $50 per person and includes valet parking, soup or salad, an entree, a glass of wine, coffee and dessert.
If you don't have time for dessert before the show, don't worry. Return to the restaurant and finish your meal after the play.
Ten 01's gourmet rustic menu is divided into five unusual sections: Indulgence (which includes a chorizo-wrapped banana), salads, Hearth, tandoori and grill. The long menu includes fish, steaks, deer, lamb and more. Entrees range from $18 to $38.
The restaurant is open for lunch 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Saturday and from 5 p.m. to close for dinner seven nights a week.
Visit www.ten-01.com for information and menus.
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Another new addition to Portland's restaurant and bar scene is Bo Restobar (400 S.W. Broadway, 503-222-2688), located across the lobby from Typhoon in the Hotel Lucia.
Enter the hotel and go left for Bo Restobar or right for Typhoon - either way you'll be in one of Bo and Stephen Kline's restaurants.
But whereas Typhoon is Thai food, the Klines describe Bo Restobar as Pan-Asian. The menu emphasizes small plates (such as a Peking duck spring roll and a Korean quesadilla stuffed with goat cheese and pork) and specialty cocktails like a lychee martini.
The striking restaurant is decked out in shiny blacks and muted browns with bright splashes of color.
Bo Restobar is open noon to 11 p.m. Monday, noon to midnight Tuesday through Thursday, and noon to 1 a.m. Friday and Saturday.
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Across the river, Andy Ricker finally opened the Whiskey Soda Lounge (3226 S.E. Division St., 503-232-1387) last week. Ricker fed a foodie frenzy late last year when he opened Pok Pok, a to-go hut serving Thai street food. The food is terrific, but I'd have to reheat it by the time I got home.
Now Ricker's solved that problem. The Whisky Soda Lounge is a real sit-down restaurant in the basement of the house next door to the takeout space, now called the Shack.
The restaurant's mostly Thai and Vietnamese menu is much more extensive, but I'm especially happy to see the Shack's khao soi kai on the new lunch menu. The curry noodle soup with coconut milk and chicken is my favorite.
There's also a full bar with an emphasis on Southeast Asian beers. Most important, you can eat the food inside.
I can't wait to check it out.
Pok Pok is open 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m Monday through Friday and 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday. Whiskey Soda Lounge is open for lunch 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Monday through Friday and for dinner 5 p.m. to midnight Monday through Saturday.
Visit www.pokpokpdx.com for information and both spots' menus.
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So will Portland's restaurant and bar boom eventually begin to fizzle like the housing market finally has? That's for the economists to predict; right now I've got a reservation to make. Ciao.