Photo of Life of Pie courtesy Avila/EPDX
Time to catch up on a couple weeks' worth of reviews, starting with an auspiciously timed Pizza Week leftover: The Mercury's Andrea Damewood files her first slam just a couple weeks into the gig, targeting N. Williams pizzeria Life of Pie. Damewood sets the bizarre scene for her first visit: The restaurant came with an in-house metronome courtesy a "ponytailed man swinging an axe in the middle of the seating area." Between the twacking of wood and a burned, "obliterated" pizza, the experience left Damewood a "scorned, angry diner."
Follow-up visits proved better, if not unremarkable: Meatballs, a honey and salami pizza, and an arugula and kale salad are all deemed "good," especially considering the restaurant's fair prices (made even better during happy hour). But the pizzeria's use of truffle oil, a "greasy" bacon pizza, and lackluster crust don't impress ("by the time one reaches the end of a Life of Pie slice, life becomes labor"). Ultimately: "In the grand scheme of dough, cheese, and sauce, it's just ho-hum." [Mercury]
WWeek's Martin Cizmar channels his inner Ernest Hemingway for an epistolary review of Kyle Webster and Naomi Pomeroy's popular NE spot Expatriate. Addressing the review to his sister Anne, Cizmar writes from the faraway land known as the "Pale Continent," saying of the watering hole: "It's all a bit mottled and pretentious, I suppose, but in a manner I find endearing. I must admit it's been an inspiration to my writing of late."
In the "letter" that follows, Webster's cocktail menu (aka "imbibements") is described as "small but well-attended," with the No. 8 and Dorleac emerging as favorites. Pomeroy's food menu is simply described as "excellent." Corn dogs arrived in a "supple, flavorful breading," a Brussels sprout salad with smoky ground lamb is "sticky with umami," and a Myanmar-inspired noodle bowl is "finest of all." Cizmar adopts the Pale Continent's use of fake currency and argues: "At 14 bits, it is perhaps the most expensive such noodle bowl in this land, and yet I can think of none I'd prefer to it." Clearly, the spot takes people on a journey: don't forget to write. [WW]
Back at the Merc, Damewood rebounds from Lie of Pie with a visit to the Pinterest-ready Maurice, Kristen D. Murray's downtown pastry-luncheonette. There, Damewood discovers that "this isn't your fattyboombatty Cheesecake Factory fare ," praising everything from Murray's black pepper cheesecake to the savory poulet au pain to a praline tart, "served with what a never-condescending server described as 'fancy for orange blossom water.'" (The only dud was a fenugreek and carrot soup, described as a "blend of bitter mixed with unpleasant.") Portions are modest but forgivable, since "it's decadent fare" that helps save room, naturally, for more dessert. [Mercury]
· All Previous Weeks in Review [Eater PDX]