Portland's gluten-free brewery, Harvester Brewing, has launched its adjacent brewpub with a noted chef in the jerry-rigged kitchen: Neil Davidson, an alum of Thomas Keller's the French Laundry and Ad Hoc, spearheads the entirely gluten-free pub menu, offering sandwiches, small plates, and entrees despite lacking a full kitchen. "We have a space that will become the full kitchen, but right now we're really only working with a few hot plates, a sandwich press, and a small convection oven," Davidson says of the space, which Harvester owner James Neumeister took over from a former sandwich shop. "I think the final dream is within, like six months, we have a full restaurant."
In the meantime, Davidson offers four sandwiches (served on gluten-free bread) like a burger and a hazelnut butter and berry jelly; a hand pie with black beans and pepper jack; and an entree of braised beef short ribs, served with braised kale and polenta — what Davidson calls "real" food that just happens to be gluten-free. "I've noticed that whenever you find a place that's gluten-free, there's always something else with it — like gluten-free and vegan, or gluten-free Paleo," he says. "[The menu is] gluten-free, but it's still real food that you can have at any other great restaurant here in town."
Unsurprisingly, the menu also gets some inspiration from Harvester's beer lineup: A brewing pumpkin squash beer might lead to a "pumpkin pie type dessert, and I'll make the dough myself in house," Davidson says, "Or maybe even a dish of roasted delicata squash with braised pork loin and like a quinoa salad to go with that."
Once armed with a full kitchen, Davidson says plans are to add a deep-fryer — and a gluten-free version of fish and chips. The Harvester gastropub is open now. Hours of operation: 3p.m. to 9p.m., Thursday through Sunday.
· Harvester Brewing [Official site]