Photo of Racion courtesy Avila/EPDX
WWeek finds much to like at chef Anthony Cafiero's modernish tapas spot Ración, a spot that's not quite "innovative" but admirably ballsy: "building an entire menu from feta foam, charred octopus tentacles and frail game-bird wings takes cojones in a town that's still debating bistro burgers." Not everything works — a cheese plate in particular is dubbed "interesting but not satisfying," while a sous-vide egg salad "didn't quite come together." But the same sous-vide machine creates what writer Martin Cizmar considers "one of the city's best bites" (pork tenderloin with a "vivid flavor") and an abalone mushroom dish that was "possibly the most satisfying of all."
Pro tip: Visiting Ración during happy hour results in a $42, seven-course "tasting menu," and the playful cocktail menu gets a special mention for its mint julep, "one of the best cocktails in town." [WW]
Speaking of happy hours, the Oregonian's David Sarasohn visits the Pearl's two-year-old Brix Tavern, site of a near-constant "boisterous celebration" thanks to six hours of happy hour daily. The "B-" grade remains a bit vague on details: Sarasohn writes "there's a lot to be said" for recommended dishes like rotisserie chicken tacos and the prime rib (but says little else); shrimp on polenta are commended for "manag[ing] to retain their freshness and sweetness." On the more obviously negative side, a beef platter considered "inconsistent," fried chicken that lacked crispiness, and the pizza, deemed a "cracker-like version with reasonable flavor but minimal cheesy ooze."
Ultimately: "Food at Brix is ample if inconsistent, and at some times the prices can be particularly inviting." (Cocktails during happy hour are $4, and "halfway through any of them, you can understand why the atmosphere in Brix can get pretty audible.") [OregonLive]
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