Bistro hits high notes in flavors, ambience
- Christina Melander
- Portland Tribune - Features
Laslow's owners stir style into simple, classic menu
We don't know where they're living now, but we're awfully glad that restaurateurs Eric and Connie Laslow moved to a new home.
Until recently, the couple lived above their restaurant, Laslow's Northwest. But now the restaurant's dining room, fittingly renamed Upstairs at Laslow's, occupies the second floor of the charming Nob Hill Victorian, making way for a more casual eating and drinking experience in the downstairs bar. Called Laslow's Bistro, this is where the action is.
There's simply nothing to dislike about the bistro. It is comfortable yet chic, with a rosy hue, a bar that glitters like a Tiffany window and sleek chairs tucked into tables draped in black. Any interior designer would approve of the space's even mix of sharp and soft, cold and warm.
Whether or not your radar takes in such details, you'll immediately feel at ease. Yet despite the relaxed vibe, service is as professional and attentive as it gets, presentation is stunning and you get to wipe your hands on a cloth napkin.
The bar menu borrows a few favorites from the appetizer side of Laslow's dinner menu, such as pumpkin custard crab cakes and risotto fritters. But it also introduces items that probably will become old favorites. Duck confit with fried onions is one example. This is some of the sweetest, most supple duck around, and it tops out the bistro menu at only $12.
Then there's the burger Ñ Painted Hills beef, smoked mozzarella, applewood-smoked bacon and sweet-potato chips Ñ and the finger-licking sloppy Joe, both of which are served in gorgeous elliptical dishes.
Another offering, a dead simple $3.50 bowl of olives, also manages to wow with its presentation.
For something fancier, customers can order from the dinner menu, indulging in a brilliant chanterelle and squash risotto or a plate of foie gras and seared scallops.
But let's not forget that this is a bar Ñ and one that takes full advantage of Laslow's extensive, mostly domestic wine list. Laslow's also has a robust, house-infused ginger vodka that makes its ginger Cosmopolitan, garnished with a big hunk of candied ginger, hard to resist.
If all this sounds a tad familiar, there's a reason. The style and standards at Laslow's Bistro recall the well-loved bars at Higgins and Wildwood. But there's no doubt its identity and grace are all its own.