Photo of Ataula courtesy Avila/EPDX
The Oregonian's David Sarasohn finds "intense" moments at Jose Chesa's NW tapas spot Ataula, praising the chef's ability to create "vivid moments" across the menu. Sarasohn's "B+" review captures the energy of a dining experience akin to an "elliptical-level workout," with a "memorable" cured salmon, "vividly Iberian" fritters, and an " intense" lamb shoulder. Paella easily feeds four and arrives with an "endearing crunch around the edges."
Not everything works. Desserts are described as a "curious expression," with dishes praised more for their technical execution than flavor (or vice versa, none come off as balanced in both). A cocktail named after Antoni Gaudi is described thusly: "like the architect, [it] goes off at unexpected angles" (which doesn't exactly sound like a compliment?). But ultimately, "Ataula allows for a focus, in food and mood, that can let you immerse yourself in a few dishes and the moment, and ponder the connection between Northwest Portland and Northeast Spain." [OregonLive]
WWeek, meanwhile, tries both morning and evening menus at Duane Sorenson's Roman Candle Baking Co. and finds "both ends burning." With essentially three different menus (not counting coffee), Martin Cizmar breaks it down by recommendations: In the mornings, order up a kouign amann, coffee cake, or a smoked trout "toast" served on "the house's substantial super-grain bread." When the pizza bianca menu rolls around, the pomodoro emerges on top ("the best slice is also the simplest"), best eaten with the "stellar" Tuscan Calvary salad.
And about that pizza: "Slices themselves are bready, too thick to bend when lifted, with a little char on the bottom and a fingernail-wide grip of naked crust." If that's your thing. [WW]
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