As part of Eater's first ever burger week, chefs at four Portland restaurants that are a tad burger-phobic agreed to make a special Eater Burger, just for us. Every day we'll highlight a new off-the-menu creation.
[Photography by Pat Castaldo]
The Pearl's Kin restaurant is best-known for its elegantly composed plates, so it's probably no surprise that a burger usually doesn't find its way on chef Kevin Shikami's menu. "I have never had a hamburger on any of my menus ever," Shikami says. "The last time I made a burger was for my staff in Chicago years ago."
But for Eater, Shikami pulled out all the stops. His burger patty, which mixed in red chile, garlic, ginger, and shallots, was first sauteed, then grilled and glazed with a mixture of soy reduction, sambal olek (a red chili paste), fish sauce, coriander, and fennel. From the bottom up, Shikami lined a sesame-seed brioche bun with a layer of house-made duck liver mousse, plopped on the patty, then topped it with more sambal olek, some Chinese-braised pork belly, and some veggie toppings: cherry-wood smoked cherry tomatoes glazed with a palm sugar, chile, and fish sauce glaze; a green papaya salad featuring chilies, fish sauce, garlic, herbs, and lime; and finally, some crispy shallots. The plate's garnish, to add back in Shikami's signature "composed" look: Fried sweet potato, herbs, egg, and pickled cucumbers.
And in the act of ultimate tease, Shikami says that though he enjoyed the fun of the burger-making experience, "this probably was my first and last burger I will ever make in a restaurant." Say it ain't so, Kevin. Say it ain't so.
· Kin Restaurant [Official site]
· All Previous Eater Burger Coverage [Eater PDX]