Portland is making it rain with the openings this year, but now that Portland nabbed itself new dumplings, a rock-star-owned bar, a daiquiri and Cuban spot, and so much Italian food, the new question becomes “Are they worth a visit?” Time to trawl the review sites and Twitter; here’s the gist on what people are saying about Portland’s new restaurants.
Yong Kang Street
What it is: The new Portland location for a national dim sum chain, spotted in cities like New York and Las Vegas.
When it opened: March 28
What people are saying: Yong Kang... isn’t doing well. It has three stars on Yelp, with such review gems as “This place is absolutely horrible” (Andre M.) and “They really, really, REALLY need to step up their game” (Ra Z). Bee F. says it best: “This is typical mall-quality food.” The critics aren’t thrilled, either; The Oregonian’s Michael Russell shared this forlorn tweet after a recent visit: “House of Louie had to die for this?”
House of Louie had to die for this? pic.twitter.com/WUsTUUiOg9— Michael Russell (@tdmrussell) April 5, 2018
The Porter Hotel restaurants
What it is: A set of four restaurants within a new downtown hotel, including two Italian concepts, a global restaurant and bar, and a grocer.
When it opened: It’s still a process, but the first restaurant, Terrane Italian Kitchen & Bar, opened April 5.
What people are saying: Samantha Bakall, local food journalist on the prowl for bad culinary appropriation, seemed less than impressed by Xport, the restaurant’s globally inspired bar featuring such menu items as “arepes” (??) and “tiki aloo” (a potato fritter floating in a rum drink, we’re forced to assume). “I haven’t felt a hatred this pure in many moons,” she tweeted. Yelp was much more forgiving: “I have to say the space is really cool,” wrote user Charlie P. “Even though it was their very first night, the drinks were on point!” Mark F. wrote a love poem for the joint... read it for yourself, but I’m not going to repeat it.
Lol what is this menu??? Arepes? Pronto Pub? Tiki Aloo? “Baconless brined mushrooms”? “Peru’s aphrodisiac”? pic.twitter.com/HeCJgJz3qo— Samantha Bakall (@sambakall) April 14, 2018
What it is: A daiquiri bar and Cuban restaurant by hotshot bartender Ricky Gomez.
When it opened: April 2
What people are saying: Palomar seems to be as hot as it was expected to be. “The flavors are fire!” user Das K. said. People like the drinks, although some say they’re a little small. Jocelyn K. had a few critiques of the food, writing that the Cubano needed “more filling and less bread,” and that the drinks were “awesome, albeit tiny.” Critics have been less vocal about the spot.
What it is: The new high-end sushi counter from the folks behind Hokusei.
When it opened: Dec. 12
What people are saying: If it’s not Bistro Agnes, Nimblefish might be the critical darling of the season. Andrea Damewood at the Merc loves it and Benjamin Tepler at PoMo gave it a serious thumbs up. Meanwhile, on Yelp, users are complaining about the usual nonsense. Allegedly the sushi counter ran out of rice, and Krista S. was not having it. “How does a sushi restaurant run out of rice? Also it smelled really fishy in there which is not a good thing,” she wrote. Boone H. was livid that he was seated next to a loud family: “Never been so disappointed in a restaurant.” You’ve been living large, Boone. Duct-tape those baby mouths, parents!
What it is: Isaac Brock, the frontman for indie rock band Modest Mouse, opened this bar with the help of co-owners Matt Brown (Bunk Bar) and Jessica Williams (formerly Chefstable) in Kerns.
When it opened: March 12
What people are saying: Good news for people who love mixed reviews — Isaac Brock’s bar is getting a resounding “meh” on Yelp, but not for the pizza. Pop-up in residence Ranch Pizza is, of course, divisive (ranch, fluffy crust, pineapple... rule-breakers, all), though the reviews have been pretty flattering: Matt E. called Ranch’s pizza “maybe the best in Portland,” though he couldn’t name much else he liked (“Well... they’ve got cool lamps?”). Mainly people seem confused by Brock’s eclectic style, which is described as “kinda junky” and “strange.” “Interior sort of seems like someone just bought a bunch of knick knacks and hung all of it up,” user Tessa R. said. That’s kind of what happened, honestly.
• Yong Kang Street [Yelp]
• All Yong Kang Street coverage
• Michael Russell [Twitter]
• All Porter Hotel coverage
• Porter Hotel [Yelp]
• Samantha Bakall [Twitter]
• Nimblefish [Yelp]
• Nimblefish Brings the Art of Sushi Back to the Basics [PoMo]
• Nimblefish: An Almost Epic Sushi Experience [Merc]
• Poison’s Rainbow [Yelp]
• All Poison’s Rainbow coverage