POKE MON—The O's Samantha Bakall delivers the first review of Poke Mon, Portland's first dedicated Hawaiian poke restaurant. Bakall says it "looks straight out of California" and likes the kimchi tako (octopus) and the classic Hawaiian ahi bowls. But eating the "spicy, creamy sauce" on the ahi donburi is "like eating a heavy squirt of goopy spicy mayo with fish, instead of the other way around."
BAMBOO SUSHI'S THE ANNEX—PoMo's Benjamin Tepler visited Portland's second dedicated poke restaurant, The Annex, and says not to expect "your by-the-pound, Big Island seafood shack." The pros: The fish is "super fresh"; nontraditional ingredients ("fried shallots, candied Thai chiles, sesame brittle") are "great upgrades"; and the bowls are big, The Bamboo Bowl being the standout. The cons: High prices; nontraditional toppings like "hazelnuts, bee pollen, kale, and yams," which are not "friends to raw fish"; and, sad but true, the poke nachos ("a textural trainwreck").
FILLMORE TRATTORIA—The Merc's Andrea Damewood paid a visit to Fillmore Trattoria, the new restaurant in the troublesome NW 23rd Place venue formerly home to Le Vieux and Noisette. "Where Le Vieux offered overpriced, stilted small plates," writes Damewood, "Fillmore is warm, bustling, and there to feed you Italian-American calamari and veal." Prices are reasonable and standouts include "a stuffed artichoke," the "creamy but not too funky" fried goat cheese balls, and the red snapper with a "just-right peppery red lake" of tomato sauce.
BOTTO BARBECUE—WWeek's Martin Cizmar says he's unearthed "the finest" ribs he's "had in this city" at the Botto Barbecue food cart. And the brisket is "not yet equal to Matt's, the city's other great Texas-inspired barbecue cart, but it's closing fast."