Beastly

It was a Wednesday.

A debilitatingly hot and muggy Wednesday where I once again found myself amidst the serious consideration of saving on waking hours and petrol burnt during my work commute by booking an air-conditioned room at The Nines. Then of course, I came back down to earth and realised that twenty minutes of traffic and spending another night sleeping with ice packs on my feet was a far better decision than pawning $200 to sleep in a Tiffany-hued air conditioned room for seven hours.Wiser at twenty-three, already. $200 saved, my friends. Or not spent…but I prefer to consider my resistances of meticulously thought out temptations as a form of savings.

The day got better. I was wearing a subpar floral chiffon day dress purchased at Mango pre-2010 and my beloved Epi Speedy 30 to add some street cred to the otherwise ‘5 minute-could-not-care- less,’ weekday ensemble. Plus, my birthday gift from Anne was coming to fruition that night and I felt a need to at least attempt to aesthetically express my appreciation

After a good 46 minutes in traffic, I finally made it to Killingsworth and 30th, parallel parked between two Subaru Forresters like a champ and walked over to Naomi Pomeroy’s Beast for their legendary six-course supper

As expected, Anne and Erica were dolled up in Trina Turk dresses and Kate Spade heels and enough bronzer to make me look like a sun-phobic cream cheese heiress…but whatever, this was Anne’s super thoughtful and thoroughly appreciated birthday gift to me and I was wearing Mango which people in America fawn over once they return from their study abroad programmes.

I have been to Beast once before earlier in the summer for brunch with David and Anne; however dinner is really where it’s at…mostly due to the featuring of the notoriously luscious foie gras bon bons (we’ll get to that in a moment)…

The menu changes weekly at Beast; dinner is served Wednesday-Saturday with two nightly seatings at 6 and 8:45; it is also a very meat-heavy menu and tends to feature much pork. As I do not eat pork, I was thrilled to find out that the only pork products were easily pickable (the fried prosciutto bits in the soup and pork pistachio pate)

There is also a wine pairing at Beast in which you receive an accompanying half glass with each course; we being aspiring Connoisseuresses did elect to go with the pairing.

Fresh Spanish white bean soup: Summer savory and fried prosciutto topped with marinated summer chanterelles

The soup was delicious; robust with the flavours emitted from the herbs and umami chanterelle influence; it was however as previously mentioned a debilitatingly hot day and the warm starter did little to alleviate that

Charcuterie Plate (from top): Foie gras bon-bon with sauternes gelee, Chicken liver mousse atop a lead lard cracker, steak tartare topped with quail egg on toast, pork and pistachio pate (pawned off to Anne), Duck rillettes, a simple salad with champagne vinaigrette atop tete de cochon cheese

Beast’s signature is this charcuterie plate and now I know why. It is ludicrously ridiculous (is that a tongue twister or what) that if I were to marry a Beast chef, I would have no reservations with sacrificing my already-sort-of-high cholesterol to have a platter of this on the daily. You are supposed to save the foie for last since it’s not only the best part, but also at it’s prime texture. I admit I was not nuts about the rillettes, but everything else was succulent. Now I have an accurate idea of how hyenas in a butcher shop must feel.

And the foie…pure bliss; the creamiest most decadent globe of mousse atop a sliver of shortbread. Erica also was enamored by the foie. What can I say, we’re not hard to please once you know that bird livers are what tickle our fancies.

Grapefruit sorbet palate cleanser. I could have used an entire course of this.
Lava Lake Lamb Leg Roast: Eggplant, half dried tomato & sheep’s cheese tian, mint & pickled onion sauce vert, topped with crispy fried baby artichokes–Take 1
Take 2: A better view of the scrumptious tian

This very well may have been my favourite course due to a high presence of my favourite ingredients (meat, aubergine, cheese, artichoke); the lamb was tender and succulent and the tian reminiscent of a Moussaka fusion

Olive Oil poached Oregon Albacore: French beans, olives & cherry tomatoes, doused in a sumac vinaigrette and topped with anchoide (an anchovy based herby sauce)

This was beyond exquisite, a lighter and higher quality version of Salade Nicoise if you will- the anchoide however was the highlight; we’re saucy, what can I say

Selection of Cheeses from Steve at Cheese Bar; with champagne poached apricots, fried almonds, cardamom shortbread, and wild flower honey

I cannot remember which cheese was which; one was a cow’s milk from Ireland…the rest who knows; but it was all delightful as has been my experience with all the high calibre cheese’s I have had from Cheese Bar

Lemon verbena Creme Brulee topped with Vrinidian Blueberry Compote

The perfect way to end a stimulating meal; I had been apprehensive that the dessert was going to be something cakey and heavy; however save for the soup, Beast did an exquisite job at taking into account our lucky streak of summer weather in curating the menu. The crème brûlée was just the right tinge of sweet to indicate the ending to an epic meal.

I was impressed; thoroughly impressed, but then again I expected nothing less out of one of Portland’s (and America’s) most prestigious meals. The timing between dishes was just right; enough to allow the palate to be cleansed of the prior dish’s excitement and to anticipate the next course without reaching for the exquisite loaves of bread placed table side. Dining at Beast is an event however; not a place to go every week (or month), but perhaps to celebrate a birthday/new job/going to hot yoga consistently for a week or just as an excuse to make Wednesdays less mundane. And yes, by Portland standards this quality comes at a high price point ($75 per head with an additional $35 for the wine pairing), but if food is your thing- it might be worth spending the next week with scrambled eggs and generic brand yoghurt.

Thank you, Anne!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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