Portland Monthly's annual Best Restaurants drops today (on the internet, anyway), and as seems to be tradition, restaurant editor/sometime Top Chef judge Karen Brooks does not name a definitive Restaurant of the Year. Inside, this year's guide names the PoMo's "Class of 2012" — aka 20 of "the top chefs, hot spots, and unforgettable dishes that defined the year" — in yearbook-style superlative form.
Covergirl Ox gets a nod for "Buzz of the Year," while Boke Bowl is named "Most Likely to Succeed," SE Belmont's Hokusei earns "Best New Sushi," and Smallwares is recognized for its "Most Original Menu." (Of the latter, Brooks writes "chef-owner Johanna Ware offers not so much a menu as a rethinking of dinner, Asian cult foods, and Oregon larder all at once.") In the interest of naming our own superlatives, the issue's sassiest categories — "Lottery Winner of the Year" and "Best Sign of Life Beyond Pok Pok" — are awarded to Luce and PaaDee, respectively.
And although there's no ROY winner, Brooks does name two picks to share the title of Chef of the Year — Vitaly Paley (Imperial) and Gabriel Rucker (Le Pigeon). "One champions the hard art of French technique; the other prowls the French underbelly, gleefully." The issue's on stands now.
· Best Restaurants 2012 [Portland Monthly]
· All Previous PoMo Coverage [Eater PDX]