It's been on stands for a couple weeks now, but Portland Monthly's Restaurant Issue 2013 is finally online, and Duane Sorenson's Italian spot Ava Gene's has been crowned Restaurant of the Year. In a departure from last year's "Yearbook-style" issue, restaurant editor Karen Brooks names a definitive Top 10 list for the year: Castagna comes in as runner-up, followed by pop-up experience Holdfast Dining, NE bar Expatriate, and neighborhood breakfast spot Sweedeedee in slots #3-5.
Writes Brooks of ROY Ava Gene's: "Every 10 years or so, a restaurant comes along that raises the stakes and alters the plot forever... Now, with Ava Gene's, Portland grows up." (Props to go chef Joshua McFadden's "joyful simplicity, great ingredients" and "acuity of intention.") Holdfast chef Will Preisch, who garnered a rave from Brooks published just last month, also earns the award for "Rising Star Chef of the Year."
The rest of PoMo's 2013 top 10 is an equally ecelectic mix of casual spots, fine dining, and dessert spots:
6) Sen Yai (where breakfast "tastes like a revelation")
7) Roe (which "worked out better than anyone imagined")
8) The Sugar Cube (described as a "creative bakery)
9) Din Din Supper Club (where "Francophilia, imagination, and local ingredients rule the day")
... and at 10) Racion/Lardo/Grassa (with three restaurants in the final slot, Brooks calls ChefStable's revamp of the former Corazon space "the turnaround of the year," with the unique set-up representing "a snapshot of Portland's food scene.")