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Is Farmhouse Kitchen Thai Cuisine Really Worth It?

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Portland’s most important restaurant reviews rounded up for convenience

Farmhouse Kitchen Thai Cuisine
Farmhouse Kitchen Thai Cuisine
Dina Avila/EPDX

Stay up to date on Portland’s latest restaurant reviews with Week In Reviews. This regularly updated column features opinions on Portland restaurants and bars from the city’s most respected restaurant critics.

Week in Reviews, September 21

GAME-CHANGING PERUVIAN—In his review in WWeek this week, former Oregonian critic Michael Zusman writes that La Lena “finally offers a solid Peruvian option for the central city.” The star dishes are “freshly roasted corn kernels known as cancha,” Portland’s “best seafood chowder,” and skewers of “succulent chunks of straight-from-the-grill beef heart.” That said, the rotisserie chicken is “more smoky than simply roasted and seasoned,” and the ceviche and empanadas both struggle, too. [WWeek]

DOWNTOWN MARRIOTT’S NEW MEXICAN RESTAURANT—After a disappointing brunch, on-the-move Merc restaurant reviewer Thomas Ross returned to the Modern Mexican spot Alto Bajo for a meal that did not disappoint... “at all, actually.” “The obvious centerpiece” of the menu is the Fiesta de Moles, especially the Amarillo y Langostino, featuring “huge, juicy, and meaty” prawns and a “smooth ochre Amarillo mole” with “a subtle chili heat” and “a nutty, downhome backbone” from Oregon hazelnuts. “A coal-fired half chicken” rivaled the prawns, and overall, Alto Bajo “might be capable of transcending the goofy hotel above it”; that’d be the Marriott’s Hi-Lo Hotel, Autograph Collection. [Mercury]

IS FARMHOUSE KITCHEN REALLY WORTH IT?—Proposing the theory “Portland might have the country’s second best Thai food scene after Los Angeles,“ WWeek critic Martin Cizmar visited the new San Francisco-based Thai spot on SE Hawthorne, Farmhouse Kitchen. Farmhouse has “impressed,” but the best Thai meal he had this year was at Pok Pok NW. “The one true break-out star” is “a slow-cooked beef short rib called panang neua [...] served bone-in, Flintstones-style, over a bed of bright blue jasmine rice and dressed with a punchy orange panang curry.” But Cizmar dod fond several other dishes worth his ink, including “the ‘24 hours beef noodle soup’” and “the ‘herbal rice salad.’" [WWeek]

Week in Reviews, August 12

RESERVATIONS AT POK POK NW—”Pok Pok is no longer the most exciting Thai restaurant in town,” writes the O’s Samantha Bakall in a recent Scouting Report, dethroning the iconic restaurant in preference for Earl Ninsom’s restaurant empire (Langbaan, Paadee, Hat Yai), but the new Northwest location “feels like it should have always been Pok Pok.” The dishes are “almost identical to what you'll find at the flagship restaurant on Division,” with new options that are also worth trying; especially the lon naem and muu paa kham waan. The biggest change? Reservations. [Oregonian]

JACKRABBIT TO THE MAX—The Merc’s lead restaurant critic Andrea Damewood took a trip down the Jackrabbit hole, the new restaurant by “noted offal lover and Top Chef Masters winner Chris Cosentino.” Focusing on the signature dish, “half a pig’s head, severed from mid-cranium down,” Damewood says Jackrabbit “aspires to be a rich, deluxe dining experience,” but like many of the dishes on the menu, that head “is very fatty” (it comes with “brainaise [that’s pig’s brain mayonnaise],” too). Ultimately, she thanks Cosentino for “bringing offal to the masses” and seems to be still holding out some hope. “Maybe there’s balance yet to be had.” [Mercury]

NE ALBERTA’S ‘JUGGERNAUT’ SAKE BAR—Offering “a near-insane 90 sakes by the glass,” Zilla Sake & Sushi is “a tiny juggernaut punching well above its weight,” writes WWeek critic Matthew Korfhage. After its recent remodel, Zilla “has become a monster — a circus made of fish and booze,” with sushi chefs Kate Koo and Sam Saltos sourcing “cold-grown scallops” and a “blooming sea urchin that shames the uni elsewhere” from as far as Hokkaido, Hawaii, and “Tokyo's famed Tsukiji fish market.” [WWeek]

Week in Reviews, July 10

GÜERO—In a dual review, Portland Monthly’s Karen Brooks weighs in on the Mexican food cart-turned-brick-and-mortar Güero, and Johnny Leach and David Haddow’s purposely inauthentic Mexican restaurant, Chalino. On the former, Brooks howls over Megan Sanchez and David Morrison’s ahogada sandwich, which she says “cartwheels across the tongue like a smiling demon,” which, combined with the space’s cacti, its music choices and its overall jungle decór, feels “like a David Lynch dream sequence.” That’s a very, very good thing. Wow Bob wow.

CHALINO—For the latter, Brooks writes that “Chalino takes more risks, but, alas, it’s a muddle.” The starters menu is gangbusters, she reports, adding that “the house chips elicit X-rated moans.” But “the carnitas vietnamita tostada “brandish[es] enough fish sauce to make Clint Eastwood squint,” adding that “no one from either Mexico City or Saigon is leaping to claim this one.” Still, she has confidence in the kitchen, but first “They must figure out, as Güero has, who they are and what we want to eat.”

BEST NEW FOOD CARTS—In their round-up of this year’s best new food carts, The Oregonian’s Michael Russel and Samantha Bakall wandered far and wide in search of the top cart dogs. The list is a stellar one, and it puts the fresh pasta cart Gumba as the pack leader. The spaghetti, they write “arrives firm and gilded in eggy carbonara-like sauce with blobs of stretchy cart-made burrata,” which they note is both “inexpensive and beautiful.” And the pappardelle, which comes with braised short rib sugo and olives and cheese is “an earthy stunner dusted in pecorino and breadcrumbs.”

Week in Reviews, June 30

EARL NINSOM’S NEXT MOVEPoMo food critic Karen Brooks published a “First Impression,” dissecting the new Issan menu at big-time Portland chef Earl Ninsom’s PaaDee. Could it be the chef’s “next move” since Hat Yai and Langbaan? The special menu delivers Northeastern Thai dishes on Mondays and Tuesdays only, and after declaring “bring on the fish funk,” Brooks writes, “Finally! A Portland menu that is not willfully inauthentic.” PaaDee’s Issan “is already more interesting than most Portland Thai eateries,” its laab a “standout,” especially the Thai omelette laab’s “fluffy egg strips and full-on scream of heat and citrus, shallots, and mint.” [PoMo]

ANOTHER CHALINO TAKE—Following up on the Merc’s review earlier this June (below), WWeek’s Martin Cizmar tackles four-month-old Chalino, “the latest fancy Mexican spot run by an American-born chef situated among pricey new apartments.” It’s “a pretty good version of the tostaderia, though not yet the game-changer I'd love to see,” he writes. Its four "must-order items" are the paloma cocktail, wild nettle sopas, halibut ceviche, and roasted pineapple ice cream, prepared by Le Pigeon pastry chef Helen Jo. Cizmar could take or leave the tostadas and chips and guacamole, and the "batter-fried half chicken" still "needs some work." [WWeek]

BATTLE OF THE BOOZY SHAKES—The still newish Merc critic Thomas Ross visited two recently opened downtown restaurants that specialize in burgers and boozy milkshakes, Holsteins Shakes and Buns and Rock and Roll Chili Pit. In a time when people “need escapism,” both restaurants provide just that. Rock and Roll Chili Pit’s “burgers certainly hold their own,” but Holsteins “feels a bit like a cavernous P.F. Chang’s inhabited by a crew of semi-sentient 3D printers programmed by a CBS set designer to make ‘cool street art, subcategory: cows.’” Ross ultimately concludes Rock and Roll Chili Pit’s “casual intensity is the right way to do an insanely deep theme job: to acknowledge that it’s ridiculous without even coming across as self-deprecating.” [Mercury]

Week in Reviews, June 13

NOODS AND DUMPSPoMo’s James Beard-awarded food critic, Karen Brooks, found the “most fun and satisfying menu in town right now” at Han Oak, and while the reservation-only prix fixe Korean dinners are “too muted” — “nothing to haunt your dreams” — the nine dishes on the inexpensive Sunday and Monday night “Noods and Dumps” menu don’t have a “loser in the bunch.” Brooks recommends the dumplings of “bombastic pleasure that speak directly to the reptilian brain” and Korean-style fried chicken wings whose “titanic crunch” could do “hand-to-hand combat with medical marijuana.” [PoMo]

KILLER PIG—The O’s restaurant critic Michael Russell gave the Woodlawn neighborhood’s new Grand Army Tavern a “First Look,” and while it isn’t a full restaurant review, the reportage found “built-for-summer cocktails,” a snacks menu with “a surprisingly robust lineup of ‘GF, Veg’ options,” and “a killer pig plate,” aka a “meaty choose-your-own adventure of pork products” made “from whole animals broken down in Kaden's kitchen.” [Oregonian]

EARNING TRUST—After three visits to Mexico-inspired Chalino, long-time Merc restaurant critic Andrea Damewood learned to “trust” chefs Johnny Leach and Dave Haddow. They defy the mold set by other restaurants in the Fremont/Williams neighborhood — “ambitious concepts with poor execution” — “with inventiveness and new flavors sure to surprise even the most jaded palate.” Damewood recommends the "gorgeous halibut" ceviche, "whose firm flesh stands up to bitter oranges and the crunch of watermelon radish"; the carnitas vietnamitas; the smoked trout; the wild nettle sopas, or "masa cups turned emerald"; and any of the desserts by former Le Pigeon pastry chef Helen Jo. Just skip "the pig head tostada," which came "inedibly salty" with the "texture of cold fat." [Mercury]

Week in Reviews, April 7

PORTLAND’S ‘DREAM’ TORTA SHOP—Starting his recent flurry of reviews, Russell visited Guero No. 1 Tortas on NE 28th, identifying its go-to dish: the ahogada torta, a point of pride for the owners that comes “stuffed with tender carnitas” and “doused in an achiote-tomato sauce.” The desayuno torta is “a merry mess”; the burger is “a reverse translation on the Mexican street hamburgerosa” (and works); and the vegetarian options shouldn’t be overlooked. [Oregonian]

‘SUB NOSTALGIA’ AT THE BAKER’S MARK—Quietly opening two months ago on the corner of SE Division and 12th, the “laid-back” sub shop The Baker’s Mark lets you build your own sandwiches and is reminiscent of a Subway, “only with higher-quality ingredients,” Russell writes. Find hot and cold sandwiches, plus signature options, too. The “golden rolls are the highlight,” but “the crumb doesn't totally hold up in the hot sandwiches, though that's a minor complaint.” [Oregonian]

RENATA’S FIGLIA—Russell wasn’t “completely bowled over” by the sandwiches here because Figlia’s house-baked bread takes “away as much as it adds,” and the only one he’ll “be coming back for” is the Grab & Go, “a thin, Parisian-style baguette lined with prosciutto, Ancient Heritage Dairy cheese, and Calabrian chile butter“ on Little T Baker bread. Instead, the SE Grand cafe's "early strengths" are its soups and salads, and if you add a Going Green smoothie to the mix, you'll be “eating better than 98 percent of the city." [Oregonian]

TWO OF PDX’S BEST SANDWICHES—Despite being the first restaurant by chef Gabriel Pascuzzi, Stacked Sandwich Shop feels like it has a “seasoned restaurant group” behind it, says Russell. Some of the more ambitious sandwiches "look better on Instagram than they actually taste," but among the options are two sandwiches that are “as good if not better than anything else” in all of Portland: the $13 braised oxtail French dip, which "is probably Portland's best new sandwich," and the $14 roasted lamb leg. And don’t forget Stacked just launched happy hour this week. [Oregonian]

CONIN ‘COULD USE SOME TINKERING’—The O’s Samantha Bakall visited the four-month-old, homestyle Mexican restaurant Conin, located at 9111 S.W. Barbur Blvd. While it "may have more promise" than other new Mexican options in the area, "inconsistency, especially among the entrees, makes it something less than a destination." [Oregonian]

XLB SHOWS PROMISE—The Merc’s restaurant critic Andrea Damewood reports Jasper Shen’s XLB could one day "provide dumplings worthy of other West Coast cities,” but they’re currently just “fine.” The soup dumplings "stray toward being inexpertly thick at the top" and the filling lacks "any major sort of flavor pop." Major misses include the “bok choy in oyster sauce,” “five-spice popcorn chicken,” and “Shanghai pork and shrimp noodles,” but the “garlic eggplant with tofu and peas” (add rice) "hold their texture." [Mercury]

‘THE BEST KEBABS IN PORTLAND’WWeek food critic Martin Cizmar says Los Angeles-based Spitz’s first Portland outpost serves the best kebabs around, thanks in part to being “one of the only places slicing meat off slow-spinning cones.” The "heart of the menu" is the Berlin döner, which is "roughly the size of a road flare," with "thin slices of beef and lamb, chicken, or a blend of beef, lamb, and chicken,” as well as tzatziki and a classic "house Berliner sauce—a harissa made in-house with poached garlic, tomatoes, and chili paste." [WWeek]

Week In Reviews, February 24

GUERO NO. 1 TORTASPoMo food writer Benjamin Tepler says the former food cart’s new brick and mortar “is a whole different beast,” with a decor of “Mexican thrift finds and old family heirlooms,” and a menu “expanded tenfold.” In addition to the already popular tortas, he recommends trying Guero No. 1 Tortas’ new "burger-style hamburguesa" and the breakfast sandwich, involving braised beef, queso fresco, and eggs, on bolillo. [PoMo]

SHAWARMA CITY—Journalist and Racist Sandwich co-founder Zahir Janmohamed visited Portland's "Shawarma Square," the 10 shawarma food carts near SW Washington and Alder and SW 9th and 10th. Drawing upon his experiences going to school in Egypt and backpacking across the Middle East, he identified the “best” shawarma “by a long shot” in his review for the Merc: chicken shawarma at Sam’s Saj. [Merc]

JOEY HARRINGTON’S STEAKHOUSE—The Merc’s lead restaurant critic Andrea Damewood reviewed Pearl Tavern, "a man cave for those who drink Bulleit and not Bud." It's "a sports bar" but also "a pretty darn good steakhouse." She says not to miss the burrata appetizer and the General Tso's lamb ribs, but there were "a few serious failures," including the Chinese broccoli side and a trout entree. [Merc]

BAGEL CRAWL—The WWeek team hit the streets to blind taste the bagels at 14 shops. Who had the fairest bagels of them all? Bundy's Bagels, Bernstein's Bagels, and Kenny & Zuke's Bagelworks were the top three (in that order). [WWeek]

SUSHI BURRITOSWWeek critic Matthew Korfhage sampled the sushirrotos at the fresh-faced Teppanyaki Hut food cart and writes, “[It] has the potential for fast-food brilliance, with none of the gut-bomb feeling caused by classic burritos.” Korfhage recommends starting with the Black Widow, made with crab salad, soft-shell crab, lettuce, cabbage, cucumber, and carrot, wrapped in nori and "tempura-crisped" rice, and garnished with black tobiko roe. [WWeek]

Week In Reviews, February 9

BREAKING BREAD—In this case, it’s not so much breaking bread as it is breaking the news of bread. PoMo’s incomparable Karen Brooks says the freshly baked breads at Trifecta Annex are “Pine Street Market’s buried treasure.” Portland baking icon Ken Forkish’s Field Blend #3 comes “slathered with peanut butter and brown sugar” and the spelt croissants are “transformative.” [PoMo]

KOI FUSION’S CART LABThe O’s latest Scouting Report tackles Cart Lab, the two-month-old food hall just south of Waterfront Park. Writer Samantha Bakall says it's "no secret" the nearby area lacks lunch options and "there's something for everyone at Cart Lab," including "a potential breakout hit in FoMo Chicken." Just “don’t be turned off by the emptiness.” [Oregonian]

LANTERN SETTLES INThe Mercury’s Andrea Damewood visited Lantern this week, writing it “won’t have every item you want, but it’s got what you need.” The "service has been all over the map"; the "food is also highly variable"; and the "drinks stray sweet, but in this case are also refreshing." Sandwiched between Kachka and Dig A Pony, it’s a good spot for cocktails, Bo Kho, the sauteed bok choy, and skewers of beef-filled la lot leaves. [Mercury]

Week In Reviews, January 24

IS ‘SEATTLE’S BEST FRIED-CHICKEN SANDWICH’ UP TO PORTLAND STANDARDS?The Oregonian’s lead critic, Michael Russell, published a conflicted review of the fried-chicken sandwiches at Sunset Fried Chicken, the restaurant housed inside of two-month-old Rachel’s Ginger Beer.

Despite its Seattle reputation, the battered chicken on the first visit was “as tough and smooth as a well-oiled catcher's mitt.” The second try was much improved, but Russell writes, “If there are superlatives to be thrown around, they might be for the sides.” [Oregonian]

DANWEI CANTING IS ‘CRACKLE-CRISP,’ ‘UNEVEN,’ AND ‘PAINT-STRIPPING’Portland Monthly's Benjamin Tepler visited three-week old Danwei Canting to try its regional Chinese plates. While the la zi ji fried chicken is a "must-try," with "minefields of mouth-numbing Sichuan peppercorns" and "crackle-crisp nuggets," the menu overall is “uneven” but “already” worth a trip.

Go for the "fat, fried green beans," Chinese "street burgers," and the fact that it's "prime drinking food" in a neighborhood of pubs. Skip the jiaozi dumplings and the drinks made with the "paint-stripping" baijiu spirit. [PoMo]

SE GRAND’S NEW FRENCH-VIETNAMESE DRINKING LOUNGEWWeek’s Matthew Korfhage says Lantern, the two-month old lounge next door to Kachka, is "a time machine to an Old Portland nightclub," even with a menu of mostly $10+ cocktails. It's a "red-neon tunnel" "fueled" by "ginger-lemongrass cognac cocktails ($12) and $9 cardamom-lotus-leaf gimlets.”

The food is "up and down," but the "tuna three ways" is "a world of welcome flavor for $11," and one of Korfhage’s favorite bar snacks "this year." So much so that he believes Lantern could be “the sleeper bar of the summer.” [WWeek]

Pearl Tavern

231 Northwest 11th Avenue, , OR 97209 (503) 954-3796 Visit Website

Zilla Sake House

1806 NE Alberta St, Portland, OR 97211 (503) 288-8372 Visit Website

Danwei Canting

803 Southeast Stark Street, , OR 97214 (503) 236-6050 Visit Website

Paadee

6 Southeast 28th Avenue, , OR 97214 (503) 360-1453 Visit Website

Holsteins Shakes and Buns [PDX]

1139 NW Couch St, Portland, or 97209 Visit Website

Han Oak

511 NE 24TH AVE, Portalnd, OR 97232 Visit Website

Grand Army Tavern

901 Northeast Oneonta Street, , OR 97211 (503) 841-6195 Visit Website

Guero No.1 Tortas

200 NE 28th Ave., Portland, OR Visit Website

Chalino

25 N Fremont St , Portland, OR 97227 Visit Website

Pok Pok NW

1639 Northwest Marshall Street, , OR 97209 (971) 351-1946 Visit Website

Jackrabbit

830 Southwest 6th Avenue, , OR 97204 (503) 412-1800 Visit Website

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