When Kristinn Vilbergsson, the founder of Reykjavík’s hip hotel Kex, first started visiting Portland, he saw many similarities between the Rose City and Iceland’s capital. So when it came time to open a location in Portland, he wanted to celebrate the common ground between the two cities — especially on the menu of the hotel’s restaurant.
Now, eight days away from the opening of Kex Portland, the restaurant has released its menus — and it seems NE MLK’s Dóttir has delivered on its promise. With a produce-heavy menu of seafood, mushrooms, and hearty lamb, the new Icelandic-Pacific-Northwestern restaurant incorporates the flavors of both countries.
Culinary director Ólafur Ágústsson and executive chef Alex Jackson built the menu at Dóttir together, leaning on the fall-and-winter produce available at the time of opening: The kitchen will be throwing pickled chanterelles in mushroom soups, roasting whole cabbages served with whey caramel, and tossing chicories in butternut squash vinaigrette. Of course, the two cities’ shared love of pickles means much of the menu uses preserved and fermented elements, from a pickled currant on chicken liver toast to to a pork burger topped with, in their words, “all the pickles.” Seafood also plays a big role on the Dóttir menu: Bay scallops with horseradish milk, smoked mussel skewers with pickles and radishes, and shrimp sandwiches with the Icelandic cultured cream skyr all make appearances on the menu.
On the more Scandinavian side of things, Dóttir plans to serve two smorrebrod, or open-faced sandwiches: One with salt-baked beet and house-made cheese, and another with braised lamb, caramelized onions, and sauteed greens. Lamb is also one of the two large-format dishes at Dóttir, served four ways with spiced lentils and flatbread.
As for beverage, the bar will have 24 taps, 12 of which set aside for beer — Kex will have its own beer brewed for the restaurant and hotel at the local Kex Brewing, with collaborative beers made with Gigantic and Mikkeler. The restaurant will also have an expansive wine-by-the-keg program, for the sake of sustainability; major players like Ovum, Cameron, and Bow & Arrow have created wine kegs specifically for the hotel bar.
Explore the rest of Dóttir’s menu below:
Updated November 27, 2019 at 2:55 p.m.
This story has been updated to show that the name of the restaurant has changed from Vivian to Dóttir.
• Kex [Official]
• Dóttir menu [Official]
• The Icelandic-Themed Restaurant Within the Kex Hotel Finally Has an Opening Date [EPDX]
• Previous Kex Portland coverage [EPDX]