“We’re going to treat Ash Bar like a separate restaurant,” says Ryan Fox, co-owner of the recently opened Nomad.PDX brick and mortar. Ash Bar is one of three dining options at Nomad.PDX, and it’s the most causal. Whereas the chef’s tasting menu is 20 carefully plotted courses by reservation only, the 12-seat Ash Bar welcomes walk-ins and serves its own separate á la carte menu of small plates (see below).
Nomad.PDX’s modernist approach will still be in full effect in Ash Bar—along with its high quality and often rare ingredients. A recent soup featured abalone, and a dish simply named “seared cabbage” actually takes a week to prepare. It begins with the very center of the cabbage, which is put through lacto-fermentation, then seared in coconut oil, glazed in miso beurre monté, and spiked with pickled garlic between each layer.
Like the Feast-famous fish sandwich on the bar menu, other plates move more toward guilty-pleasure dining. With an assist from pastry chef Eve Kuttemann, the Nomad.PDX burger comes on a fluffy, house-made potato bun, and the 100-gram patty is sous vide and cast-iron seared. It’s topped with Tillamook cheddar, white American cheese, house pickles, bacon, smoked shallots, and Kewpie mayo. If you order fries, they come with chicken liver paté for dipping.
“It’s a mashup of two of my favorite burgers: the burger at Cafe Castagna and Burgerville,” says Fox. “It comes with one, but we’ll stack as many patties as a customer wants.”
Bartender Jen Rae has put together a cocktail menu featuring 10 cocktails, with three low-proof options. The No. 1 features Suntory Toki whiskey, Braulio amaro, Atxa blanc and Maurin dry vermouths, and grapefruit-oolong bitters.
Not every dish in the bar is a legit small plate, but Ash Bar recommends on average three to four plates per person. The bar is open Thursday through Sunday, from 5:30 p.m. to “12:30ish” a.m. Crush, Nomad.PDX’s $40-all-you-can-eat industry night, has returned, and you can now find it on Sundays, from 10 p.m. to 1 a.m.
Here’s a recent Ash Bar menu: