Photo of Block + Tackle courtesy Avila/EPDX
The Oregonian's David Sarasohn kicks off his latest review with a well-placed football metaphor: Despite its odd name, Trent Pierce's revamped fish house Block + Tackle "has nothing to do with football highlights. But it is all about highlights, and it scores big." Sarasohn bestows a high "A-" on the "boisterous" restaurant, driving home the point that B+T's low prices allow for the sampling of many fishy dishes. Smoked scallops are "inviting," clam chowder "deep and thick," and a classic seafood cocktail "is a seminar in how the basics of the sea can be taken to another level." Desserts, in particular, provide the "exclamation point" to the meal.
Ultimately, it's the restaurant's much-acclaimed backroom sister Roe that puts out artful dishes "resembling Renaissance still life," but "it's a measure of Block + Tackle that its menu, with a different mission and a different ambience, can express the same seafood sensibility." [OregonLive]
WWeek presents the argument that chef John Gorham goes three-for-three with his West End restaurant Tasty N Alder, described as the celebrated chef's "latest great restaurant." Matthew Korfhage writes that Gorham's take on the steakhouse — now presented more like a legit steakhouse, less like the "family-style" vibe of Tasty N Sons — shines when its dishes "jauntily hopscotch on the margins of the classic." A duck breast a la plancha is "silky as confit," New York strip is re-imagined as bulgogi and served with a "beautifully pungent" kimchi.
Korfhage, however, saves his greatest praise for the kicker: "Alder may be the best of Gorham's three restaurants for dinner — no mean feat. It is also one of the finest two or three restaurants on Portland's west side." [WW]
He doesn't weigh in on the newish pizza menu, but the Mercury's Chris Onstad finds a lot to like at Duane Sorenson's Roman Candle Baking Co., which "achieves excellence." Among the many high points: "airy" croissants, a "mythic" kouign amann, and the "excellent" Sloppy Giuseppe sandwich, featuring "an intense, deeply flavored beef and pork ragu." A pork trotter banh mi features the "most decadent banh mi filling I've seen."
Other descriptors that pop up during the review: "intensely good," "succulent," "surprisingly delicious," "beautiful," and "ideal." Unsurprisingly, Onstad deems the spot "highly recommended." [Mercury]
· All Previous Weeks in Review [Eater PDX]