RENARD -- This week, Portland Monthly's Benjamin Tepler called Renard, which opened in the former St. Jack location on SE Clinton, "a solid neighborhood option" that offers "pleasantly superficial French cooking." But the waiters are "slow and unshakably Portland-casual," and the menu "looks suspiciously like a Cordon Bleu student manual." In short, Renard is "unintimidating local" but does not go "beyond modest ambition."
NACHOS -- The Oregonian's Michael Russell knows that it's "hard out there for a nacho fan," so he combed through the "wreckage of a half-dozen abandoned nacho blogs" with mostly "disappointing" recommendations and then hit the streets. His resulting list of the 10 best "classic nachos and 'not' chos" is:
Bollywood Theater Chaat and 'cho
Breakside Nacho classic
Bunk Alberta "Not"cho
La Bonita Con huevos
La Panza Cafe Southeast meets Southwest
La Taq Tex-Mex 'cho
Liberty Glass Delicious Triscuit crackers
Robo Taco Original Recipe
Xico Proto 'cho
BURRASCA -- One of the hottest restaurants in Portland right now got a visit from Willamette Week's Matthew Korfhage, who called it "no gimmick," "a true Tuscan restaurant of simple spice and humble presentation." His favorite plate was "housemade tagliatelle in lovely beef ragu," and the sformato di piselli appetizer was "another simple masterpiece." That simplicity however, sometimes "goes a little far," as with the "underspiced" and "soft" white-wine pork leg appetizer, whose "white wine less accentuated the flavors of the pork than tamed them." But "such problems are rare."
COQUINE -- After demolishing Broth Bar, the Mercury's Andrea Damewood headed to Coquine, where she got called out by the "guy at the next table" "for staring too hard at his food." "Roasted organic chicken to share" was the star, and "red and yellow heirloom tomatoes and arugula on a slice of French bread with chèvre" was "a study in simplicity and restraint." The restaurant had "some of the friendliest service" she'd "had in years," and soon, Damewood was "double fisting" cider and French rosé. The only distractions were that the duck wings were "a bit light on actual meat" and "black pepper molasses-lacquered pork short ribs" were "just a shade too sugary."