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Beast makes meat the real deal over three, six courses

Taste
by: KATIE HARTLEY, The rack of lamb also came with a lemon salsa verde and Yukon Gold mashed potatoes.

Vegetarians and picky eaters, beware. You won't want to visit the restaurant I'm about to recommend.

On the menu at Beast (5425 N.E. 30th Ave., 503-841-6968, www.beastpdx.com) you'll discover an abundance of meat - most of it cooked, some of it raw - plus many food items that picky eaters often avoid, like mushrooms and fennel.

There's one set menu per evening at Beast. Substitutions, as it says on the menu, are 'politely declined.' Choose either six courses (go for it!) or the more moderate three courses.

The only other selection you'll make is what to drink. There's a fine little wine list plus three bottled beers.

I always will pick the six-course menu. I don't want to end up coveting another diner's dinner.

A recent meal went like this: As soon as we sat down we were greeted with warm, salty gougères, French savory pastries made with cheese. (The gougères weren't on the menu, so it was really a seven-course meal.)

Then came a small serving of buttery potato leek soup with crunchy pieces of fried pancetta floating on top.

A superb charcuterie plate arrived next with pork country pâté, creamy chicken and duck- liver mousse on house-made crackers, and flavorful beef tartare on toast.

After we thoroughly cleaned that plate, the entree of the evening appeared. Succulent, tender braised pork cheek was smartly paired with sautéed kale and creamy, cheesy polenta.

There's more. A simple butter lettuce salad dressed with tangy vinaigrette was followed by more protein in the form of a lovely cheese plate, which included a raw sheep's milk cheese from France and a blue from England, plus apples with honey and a crisp shortbread cookie made with graham flour and fleur de sel.

Dessert was a criminally delicious, warm individual chocolate soufflé topped with fresh whipped cream.

It's a lot of food, but at the end, I wasn't horribly full; the pacing of the courses was perfect. The meal lasted a little more than two hours.

Beast is owned by Micah Camden, who also owns Yakuza Lounge next door. Naomi Pomeroy is Beast's executive chef and general manager. Pomeroy, who previously was co-owner of Ripe (the now defunct restaurant group that included Family Supper, Clarklewis and Gotham Building Tavern), is an accomplished chef.

The food at Beast is not only terrific; it's sophisticated and elegantly presented.

Beast is a small, square space with two communal tables (one seats eight, the other 16), an open kitchen, dim lighting and one wall that's a blackboard covered with silly sayings like 'praise the lard.'

I felt pampered at Beast, although my friend and I were the only ones sitting at the table for eight and we snagged a corner spot so we didn't have to shout at each other across the wide table.

It might not feel quite so cozy if you were sitting right next to strangers. But the service was professional and unobtrusive, and there were a lot of nice touches, like warming the cups before the coffee is poured.

Another nice thing about Beast is that, unlike many restaurants where you can only reserve tables if there are six or more in your party, you can make reservations for any number of people at Beast. Call 503-841-6968.

I called on a Sunday and didn't hear back until Wednesday, so you may have to be patient. Visit www.beastpdx.com to view past and present menus.

The six-course dinner at Beast is $45 per person; three courses cost $32. The four-course Sunday brunch is $28.

Beast is open for dinner 5:30 p.m. to closing Wednesday through Saturday and for brunch 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday.

• • •

Chef Jack Yoss and sommelier Erica Landon of restaurant Ten 01 (1001 N.W. Couch St., 503-226-3463, www.ten-01.com) were invited to prepare a six-course dinner at the James Beard House in New York City last week.

Don't be too sad if you missed it, because they are re-creating the feast 6 p.m. Monday, Jan. 21, back home at Ten 01.

The delicious-sounding menu includes seared sea scallops, roasted lamb chops, sweet onion and cauliflower soup, and several Oregon wines. The dinner is $125 per person. Call 503-226-3463 to make a reservation.

• • •

Plagiarism is an ugly word.

But it turns out that finding and reading evidence of plagiarism can be highly amusing. At local food Web site Portland Food and Drink, bloggers have built a compelling case that there is plagiarism on the Terroir Web site.

Bizarrely, the restaurant's Web site is full of unattributed descriptions about the place, which appear to have been directly copied from glowing descriptions of other restaurants from around the country.

One blogger (who goes by the name QuoVadis) summed it up well referring to owner Stu Stein: 'He's like the Britney Spears of the local dining scene. Makes you a little angry, makes you a little sad … makes you a little nauseous because you can't take your eyes off the train wreck.'

Stein declined to comment. Read it yourself at www.portlandfoodanddrink.com.

Portland Food and Drink also was the first to report that the restaurant Hurley's (1987 N.W. Kearney St., 503-295-6487), which last week I described as catering to the rich, had closed.

It's true; you'll have to find somewhere else in Portland to spend $28 on a burger.

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