Bon Appétit’s love affair with Portland has had its ups and downs, but right now, the publication is crushing. Hard. Of its 50 finalists for Best New Restaurants of America 2017, Bon App gives Portland four spots (up from just two, last year). They are: Tusk, Guero, Afuri, and Dame.
Of Tusk, Bon App bubbles, “go here for Sam Smith’s takes on the best seasonal produce, served up in a chic, airy, succulent-filled space that feels more Palm Springs than Portland.” The magazine says to head to Guero “to fully appreciate the pleasures of Mexican tortas,” like the desayuno breakfast sandwich “that involves scrambled egg, queso fresco, braised beef, and avocado.”
And the Afuri nomination reveals a new side to Portland. Bon App writes:
Go here to find out why we would put a chain restaurant — albeit a Japanese one — on this year’s list. Look, we love small quirky restaurants, especially PDX ones, as much as the next tattooed, fixie-riding barista. But there’s no denying the pure pleasure of slurping a bowl of expertly crafted ramen and “researching” our favorite saké while staring at one of the most baller kitchens we’ve ever run across. Chain or no chain, Afuri is an eye-opening beauty; the day one comes to your town, you’ll be thankful.
Finally, Dame makes the list for its “intimate and cozy” atmosphere and natural wine list, but the nomination may give some pause, as the restaurant has been in a constant state of evolution since opening in September 2016: Co-founder, big-time sommelier Dana Frank, and its opening executive chef, Eli Dahlin, both left the restaurant in 2017.
Last year, neither of Portland’s two finalists — Coquine and Pizza Jerk — were able to crack Bon App’s ultimate list of the 10 Best New Restaurants in America. Fingers crossed the mag will slather this city with hot, buttery love this year.
- Best New Restaurants in America 2017 [Bon Appétit]