Image of Levant courtesy Avila/EPDX
WWeek files the first full-length review of Scott Snyder's hotly anticipated Levant, the French-Sephardic restaurant that has "invented its own genre." Though Snyder's custom-made hearth warms the soul with certain dishes, others struggle to pair the unique theme with successful flavors. Writes WW's Matthew Korfhage, "As a pitch, it's irresistible. Too irresistible, it would appear, even for its own chef — the restaurant's ambition and high concept are derailing the dishes."
Comfort-minded dishes are the successes, and here come the orchestral metaphors. A plate of hearth-roasted lamb, featuring four different preparations, was in "full riotous concert," while an artichoke and bacon salad sings a warm "music nearly disorienting in its powerful baritone richness." But then the tubas come to play: monkfish fillet dubbed "dreary," spot prawn crudo arrives with an oily sauce that "resembled stomach acid." Ultimately, Levant "fares best when it aims not to astonish but to comfort." [WWeek]
The Oregonian is the latest publication to visit chef Eric Bechard's Kingdom of Roosevelt, which has so far received a rave from WWeek and a mixed review from PoMo. The O's hired gun Ben Waterhouse bestows a "B" grade, writing that Bechard "prepares this bounty simply, with a flair for the visceral." Pro-tip: Waterhouse recommends skipping the chef's tasting menu in favor of hand-picking the restaurant's best dishes, like a "too good to share" elk heart tartare, "silky" pigeon-liver custard, and an "excellent" wood pigeon pot pie. And echoing the reviews of others, go with a group in tow: "With enough people at the table, the pot-pie claw and quail served with quail egg seem more delightful than macabre." [OregonLive]
Meanwhile, the Portland Mercury crowns SE 122nd's Camaron Azul the new king of ceviches, as the spot gracefully inherits the throne abdicated by Puerto Marquez. Ceviche estilo Guerrero, with an "addicting" sauce and tender octopus, is dubbed the "gateway" ceviche for squeamish eaters; pescado zarandeado, a butterflied fish, exudes a "deeply satisfying flavor." The money dish, however, appears to be the molcajete, an angrily bubbling" mortar filled with white fish, shrimp, and mussels. Ultimately, "for authenticity and regional clarity, Camaron Azul gets high marks." [Mercury]
· All Previous Weeks in Review [Eater PDX]