Image of Kingdom of Roosevelt courtesy Avila/EPDX
In the June issue's lengthy review, Portland Monthly's Karen Brooks visits the "unapologetically wild" Kingdom of Roosevelt, chef Eric Bechard's game-focused restaurant where "quirkiness rules." The review's disappointingly light on flashy metaphors, but Brooks suggests embracing Bechard's culinary provocations, which offer "in-your-face ideas with a refined precision." A rye berry porridge tastes like "risotto from the yurt" (presumably, a compliment); on the other end of the spectrum, cheeky comparisons to other carnal pleasures emerge: pigeon liver custard is dubbed "naughty," while other courses are described as passionate and ravished.
But the menu is often dotted with misfires. Duck carpaccio gets compared to chewing gum, acorn dumplings dubbed "sad lumps," and Bechard's somewhat infamous blood pancake tastes like "something your little brother made out of buckwheat and cough syrup. It made me want to dress like a goth. " Overall, "There's a meal to blow your mind with the right combinations here, but overall Roosevelt needs better execution of ideas and, most of all, more deliciousness." [PoMo]
SE Hawthorne's self-proclaimed neighborhood spot Township & Range gets two major reviews this week, both of them middling. First up, the Oregonian's David Sarasohn bestows the restaurant with a "C+" — emphasizing dishes' substantial portion size and hearty nature ("the cooking is not what you'd call nuanced"). Among the positives: a "massive" beer-braised pork shank, hazelnut-butter steelhead, creamy polenta, and the signature "Brookie" (a cookie baked inside a brownie). Elsewhere on the menu, many dishes "seem a bit clunky," and Sarasohn recommends avoiding the roast beef, chicken liver pâté, and fried chicken, whose "chicken and crust swiftly separate from each other." [OregonLive]
The Mercury's Chris Onstad, meanwhile, similarly praises the kitchen's intentions but faults several attempts at execution. Pork shank also gets props here (it's a "behemoth of tender, moist, perfectly cooked meat"), the roast beef similarly dismissed. Differences? Onstad is less enamored with the "Brookie," suggesting it's "best ordered for the kids," and the fried chicken preparation also sees a shift during Onstad's experience — in his visit, meat and crust "adhered well" to each other. But Onstad reserves the most praise for T&R's iceberg wedge salad: it "eats gratifyingly well, and it's the best I've had in town." [Mercury]
And finally, WWeek visits SE Morrison's Thai spot Tarad and dubs it "some of the best Thai food in the city." In short: "The place is a beautiful refuge; if you don't find your soul there, you'll at least know what soul tastes like." [WW]
· All Previous Weeks in Review [Eater PDX]