Image of Radar courtesy Avila/EPDX
The Mercury's Chris Onstad finds a solid neighborhood spot in N. Mississippi's Radar, which has morphed from tapas-slinging soccer bar into a "handsome, solid, modern American restaurant." Per Onstad, the spot's huge open kitchen proves chef Jonathan Berube's efficient-yet-careful approach: "Watching Berube sift the cornmeal for his catfish filets between dredges — ensuring a fine, even coating — or go through a half-dozen fresh spoons while tuning a sauce, gives each dish a sense of VIP treatment."
"Simple, cleanly flavored" dishes are often "executed perfectly" (the favorite here is a braised beef cheek), except when they're not: There's a frequent-though-fixable tendency to under-season: "In several cases the dishes were under-seasoned, but with a light addition of salt (you have to ask for it) they awoke and came into focus." Ultimately, Onstad praises the shift away from soccer and small plates, writing "the team behind Radar couldn't help itself and wound up... focused on meticulously prepared comfort food and worthy drinks." [Mercury]
Meanwhile, WWeek attempts to wrap its head around the Asian fusion of Woodstock's Nudi Noodle Place, where the spot's "deadpan whimsy" is dubbed "at once comforting and disorienting." Unlike fussier, more upscale takes on East-meets-West fusion cuisine, Nudi's version sees a more playful, in-your-face approach — resulting in dishes like a sloppy-Joe-like Angus gravy noodle and a dish described as (deep breath) "spaghetti with charred pork belly, pumpkin chunks, spinach, cherry tomatoes, almonds, Parmesan, bacon and garlic."
The best approach seems to be the open-minded one: tempura-fried pickles are deemed "brilliantly aestheticized trash, and guiltily delicious"; the decidedly non-Western lak sa is "kitchen-sink Indonesian." The takeaway: "Not everything at Nudi succeeds, but each meal is guaranteed to surprise." [WW]
· All Previous Week in Reviews Coverage [Eater PDX]