Update: 8/17/16: Tusk has pushed back its grand opening one day to Monday, August 22, due to unexpected delays.
Original Post, 8/15/16, about the previously announced grand opening date: This just in: PoMo reports Tusk will open at 2448 E Burnside St. this Sunday, August 21. Tusk will bolster Portland's
fledgling Middle Eastern dining options if all turns out as expected. Chef partner Sam Smith was the opening sous chef at Philly's Zahav, one of the nation's most renowned Middle Eastern restaurants, and the project is backed by Submarine Hospitality, the newly minted restaurant group by Ava Gene's Joshua McFadden and restaurateur Luke Dirks.
Tusk will serve dinner seven nights a week and late-night menus Monday through Saturday, and dining at Tusk sounds like a party fueled by whole grains and ingredients carefully sourced from Northwest farms. PoMo's Karen Brooks writes:
The joyously haphazard approach may be best captured by incoming bar ace Tyler Stevens, who recently shared his thoughts in an email: 'We will be bartending underneath a blow-up photo of Keith Richards wading in a pool for crying out loud. We are going to have fun and want our guest to have fun as well.'"
Prepare for menus of playful "snacks," house-made coucous and tagines, cooked-to-order flatbreads, and skewers of hearth-roasted meats. Dishes spotted on the restaurant's Instagram include skewers of halibut marinated with turmeric, verjus, carrot juice, and pistachios and served with pickled fennel and lime; seared halloumi beneath charred cucumbers, preserved lemon, mint, and nigella seeds; and sprouted walnut baklava prepared by up-and-coming pastry chef, Nora Antene (Le Pigeon).
Tusk's Middle Eastern brunch is still in the works. It should launch September 3. While you're waiting, peek inside to see how Tusk is transforming the former Levant space. Here's a recent shot from Instagram:
Update 8/17/16: The verbiage of the subheading in this post has been slightly altered since original publication to better explain Tusk's hopeful place in the Portland dining scene. Another sentence making a comparison to Aladdin was also altered due to its reductive nature.