Starting Sunday March 1 2015 Portland will be kicking off Portland Dining Month 2015. During this month, more than 100 participating restaurants all over Portland will be offering a special menu of 3 courses for $29 in order to entice you to visit and see what that restaurant is all about.
Almost all the restaurants will also have their regular menu available, so your dining party doesn’t all have to eat the Dining Month menu, though several of the Dining Month menus offer multiple choices for each of the courses as well so you can all dine at that price.
In terms of the Portland Dining Month menu items, make sure you do ask for it because sometimes the restaurant lists it on a separate menu from the regular menu. Other times, it is part of the regular menu because it’s an item usually on their list but in many cases is priced special only for that month, thus lets you have one of the signature dishes of that restaurant for cheaper than normal.
On the other hand, some restaurants create new items especially for Portland Dining Month and so the special is only for this month!
Furthermore, about 1/3 of those restaurants will additionally have curated a beer pairing or incorporated beer into their dish in some way to highlight a local brewer.
If you are an OpenTable user where you can make reservations for your dining party with just a few clicks of a button, about 60+ of the restaurants on the Portland Dining Month list are also available on OpenTable to make your online reservations.
I wanted to highlight my personal picks for some restaurants that are participating in Portland Dining Month and what their dining month menu offers. There are many, many, many wonderful picks on the list, I’m just pointing out a few based on value or what the menu choice item is to my taste.
Aviary had me at their first course option… Their food is consistently good and surprising with their twists on Asian inspiration mixed with unusual flavor combinations. And, they take reservations on Opentable. Update! I went and posted a photo recap here
- First course (choose one): Dungeness crab chawanmushi with bone marrow, sea urchin, Asian pear, snap peas and truffle vinaigrette -OR- Warm vegetable salad with romanesco, pumpkin, Brussels sprouts, lime-pickle vinaigrette and black garlic
- Second course (choose one): Miso-braised beef short rib with taro root, Asian pear, yuzu kosho slaw -OR- Pan-seared salmon with cauliflower, saffron, green apple, trout roe and American caviar
- Third course (choose one): Chocolate tart with banana ice cream and cocoa nibs -OR- Baked meringue with huckleberries and Meyer lemon sorbet
- First course: Roasted cauliflower arancini with radicchio caponata, roasted red pepper aioli and arugula
- Second course: Ten-hour braised beef shoulder with potato pancake, warm oyster mushroom salad and beef jus
- Third course: Honey panna cotta with candied fennel and fennel seed brittle
Nedd Ludd not only is a fantastic restaurant in terms of food and charming atmosphere, but with participating in Portland Dining Month are offering you a huge value because their dinner plate mains are already usually already in the 20 dollar range, so you are getting a bonus that you’ll be getting 3 courses! And, you even get a choice with your first or second courses, and the option is vegetarian friendly so I can take my vegetarian F.
- First course (choose one): Escarole salad with lemon, egg, olives and crouton -OR- Charred broccoli raab with sumac, za’atar, pomegranate and yogurt
- Second course (choose one): Chicken breast with leek and mushroom ragout, preserved lemon and green olive -OR- Vegetable gratin with walnut-parsley sauce and spring greens
- Third course: Bourbon-buttermilk panna cotta with cocoa nib crumb
Based on last year when I went to a Portland Dining Month dinner at Park Kitchen, I would recommend Park Kitchen as an option for you. Besides just casually dining near the table of Gabe Rucker, the dinner was one of my favorite of all the Portland Dining Month dinners I went to last year. Make sure you get those chickpea fries! And, they take reservations on Opentable.
- First course (choose one): Chickpea fries with squash ketchup -OR- Salad of escarole, radishes, red onion and buttermilk dressing
- Second course (choose one): Ayer’s Creek corn grits, mushroom gravy and Hoppin’ John -OR- Payne Family Farms pork roast with collards, red-eye gravy and cornbread dressing. Last year they offered the grits as a vegetarian option as well, but I went with the pork, which last year was this Milk braised pork with Your Kitchen Gardens leeks, curds and whey so I think this year’s Pork Roast will be just as good.
- Third course: Double-chocolate tart with salted caramel and hazelnuts
Lincoln or Sunshine Tavern
While Dumpling Week was going on, I had an amazing dumpling dinner (in which the dumpling was Malloreddus tossed in sea urchin butter with mint and preserved lemon) at Lincoln Restaurant. That it was phenomenal shouldn’t be a surprise, especially given that chef Jenn Louis has just released her book Pasta by Hand: A Collection of Italy’s Regional Hand-Shaped Pasta. Based on the fantastic experience I had at that small dinner, I would highly recommend Lincoln for Portland Dining Month, especially since she is showcasing another pasta, and this pasta by itself is usually $18 on their menu. And, they take reservations on Opentable. For a more casual option, consider Sunshine Tavern with it’s list of 8 different sandwiches as your second course.
- First course: Baked hen eggs with cream, Castelvetrano olives and herbed breadcrumbs
- Second course: Spaccatelli pasta with smoked tallow, speck and sherry
- Third course: Brutti ma buoni cookies
- First course (choose one): Salad of romaine with fried capers, Parmesan, croutons and garlic vinaigrette -OR- Iceberg wedge salad with buttermilk blue cheese, roasted tesa pork and sieved egg -OR- Chopped salad of lettuces, pepperoncini, provolone, French fries and salami
- Second course (choose one): Chicken burger with provolone, radicchio and arugula -OR- Crispy oyster sandwich with fennel, cabbage and tartar sauce -OR- Monte Cristo sandwich with fried egg and Marionberry preserves -OR- Fried chicken sandwich with blue cheese dressing, celery, red onion and chili mayonnaise with spicy chicken lacquer -OR- Duck-egg sandwich with pimento cheese, spicy pickles and arugula -OR- Pork burger with Swiss cheese, preserved cabbage and brown mustard -OR- Jambon beurre royale with butter, fleur de sel, radishes and fennel -OR -Pork belly medianoche with ham and spicy pickle
- Third course:Soft-serve ice cream
Little Bird is giving you a deal as well for Portland Dining Month, since their entrees are usually in the $20s and the appetizers in the $15s so you are making out for a mere $29. That choice of chicken fried trout is enough for two people. And, they take reservations on Opentable.
- First course (choose one): Soup du jour -OR- Salad of frisée, citrus, pistachios, olives and sheep’s cheese vinaigrette -OR- Goat cheese gnocchi, celeriac, mushrooms and Le Chevrot
- Second course (choose one):Chicken-fried trout, pickled carrots, fine herbs, radish, Dijon and gribiche -OR- Cider-braised pork shoulder with cabbage, carrot and apple slaw, toasted walnuts and bacon vinaigrette
- Third course: Chocolate mousse cake with pistachio, Meyer lemon and nougat -OR- Ice cream -OR- Sorbet
Fogo de Chao
Another example of a huge value, the dinners at Fogo de Chao are usually $49 for the salad bar, sides, and meats. The Portland Dining Month menu gives you a more limited selection of the meats, but it’s 8 of them and most importantly includes what I think is their best meat cut, the Picanha. The Portland Dining Month menu excludes the Costela (beef ribs), Beef Ancho (ribeye), Filet Mignons and Lamb Chops. The price you are paying with Portland Dining Month is usually the cost of the salad bar alone during dinner! And, they take reservations on Opentable.
- First course (choose one): Fresh seasonal salads, rare and exotic vegetables, imported cheeses and cured meats
- Second course (choose one): Brazilian cheese bread (pão de queijo), caramelized bananas, garlic mashed potatoes and crispy polenta
- Third course: Fire-roasted meats carved and served tableside, including Picanha, Alcatra, Fraldinha, Cordeiro, Linguica, Costela de Porco, Lombo and Frango. Check out what these meat cuts really are here, and I covered the restaurant opening so have some photos and descriptions also here at “Grand Opening: Fogo de Chão Portland Churrascaria”
An excuse to visit classy Paley’s Place for an intimate, romantic dinner!
- First course: Salad of kale and roasted acorn squash with chèvre and balsamic vinegar
- Second course: Red wine-braised elk, soft polenta and orange gremolata
- Third course: Warm gingerbread with roasted rhubarb and crème fraîche
- Rogue Ales beer pairings for an additional $15 or house wine pairings for an additional $20
Take a mini-vacation to New Orleans by visiting Acadia and enjoying Creole cuisine.
- First course: Deviled egg with blue crab meat
- Second course: Louisiana barbeque shrimp with lemon, black pepper, white wine and butter. I’ve had this dish before and you will want to spoon the sauce onto your bread
- Third course: Bronzed wild-caught Louisiana sheepshead with buttermilk cornbread purée, green tomato relish and brown butter. If you haven’t head sheepshead before, it has a texture that is almost creamy but not fatty, and some describe it as “crab-like” which is interesting because the fish’s diet is comprised heavily of shellfish and bivalves. When I had it came with different sides but was still bronzed
I love the Northwest freshness at Accanto, which I had blogged about previously for a Portland Dining Month visit in a previous year and also when I went for an amazing brunch (they take reservations for brunch! No waiting in line!). And, they take reservations on Opentable.
- Antipasto:House marinated olives and fried almonds with rosemary
- First course (choose one): Soup of the day -OR- Escarole salad, goat’s-milk feta and oven-dried olives with burnt orange vinaigrette
- Second course: Rigatoncini, water buffalo ragù, broccoli raab and ricotta salata
- Third course: Tiramisu
Above photo taken by my brother and his Canon EOS 60D camera
Everyone thinks of Besaw’s for brunch, but they still utilize the bounty of their garden and local fresh Northwest ingredients at dinner as well. For their Portland Dining Month 2015 menu, they are offering an entree that also celebrates local Oregon brewer Deschutes Brewery.
- First course: Grilled prawns with cornbread croutons, arugula and chili aioli
- Second course: Fontina- and chard-stuffed pork roulade with soft polenta and Deschutes Cinder Cone Red jalapeño chutney (YUM)
- Third course: Rhubarb crisp with vanilla whipped cream
Meriwether’s suffers from a similar fate as Besaw in that people think of them too often for brunch and not for all the other goodness they get from their own Skyline Farm. As a plus, I love pointing out Meriwethers has their own parking lot, so is great not only to meet with others (including out of towners) but also if you have a family. Their menu offering includes an amazing entree (note that it utilizes local Reverend Nat’s hard cider) and dessert. And, they take reservations on Opentable.
- First course: Salad of arugula with shaved fennel, olive oil-fried almonds, feta and preserved huckleberry vinaigrette
- Second course: Braised pork cheeks glazed with Reverend Nat’s Hallelujah Hopricot hard cider, Roy’s Calais flint corn polenta and braised early spring greens
- Third course: Butterscotch pot de crème
Which of the Portland Dining Month 2015 restaurants is calling to you? Check out the list at Portland Monthly or the Eater PDX PDM List for their picks, as well as picks from fellow blogger friend Erin at Bakery Bingo and from Annie of Serious Crust and Kristi from Kristi Does PDX (who overall has lots of fun guides of things to do in PDX – not just eating). Blogger friend Meredith at Martha Chartreuse also had put together a great way to break down as you’re reading the list, how to make your own picks!