Wildwood   Leave a comment

This was my third visit to Wildwood, and as before, their seasonal menu had lots of items that intrigued me, and based on my sampling of my plate and some that were not my own, I stand by my original impressions. They are still executing consistently and their presentation and flavor profiles always a expert mix of complex and simple and beautiful but comfortable and approachable while learning new taste combinations. I believe this is one of the best restaurants in Portland, with impeccable friendly and knowledgeable service that looks and treats like a fine dining destination but feels intimate and casual, merging both a relaxing yet hip atmosphere that reflects the Northwest just like its cuisine; clean and understated with a nod to the environment and style.

Wildwood's seasonal specialty cocktail of a Pomegranate Caipirinha with cachaca, house grenadine, muddle lime, and regan's orange bitters. I would have expected this to be better in the summer. And served by the pitcher :X

Meanwhile, "An Apple a Day" was made with calvados, tuaca, fresh lemon,
egg white, rosemary, and apple gastrique. Very light- I think I was
expecting more of a cider taste to it.

On all the food though they were getting base hit after base hit. One hit out of the ballpark was the appetizer of puree of butternut squash soup's depth of flavor was elevated by the guajillo creme fraiche and toasted pumpkin seeds and the soft and fresh foccaccia bread plate was refilled 3 times to ensure it was all wiped clean. Also the bread was just good.

I'm not usually a salad person, but I liked my salad of winter chicories with grana padano, toasted walnuts and lemon-garlic vinaigrette. It was dressed just enough but yet all over- amazing sleight of hand in execution that is sadly often rare in restaurants.

The Draper Valley Farms Chicken Pot Pie with beecher's cheddar crust, smokey ham hock, turnips, alby potatoes and a surprisingly robust butter lettuce salad that could have been item on the menu itself was better than anything from home. The slow cooked fennel stuffed pork belly sandwich on a house made roll with pickled chile cream cheese, grilled onion, butter lettuce, and kennebec potato chips sounded like it should be overly rich (Portland kitchens love pork belly if you haven't noticed reading menus all over town), but they know how to trim to show off the best cut and taste here at Wildwood. The dining companion who always is able to hold herself back and take some of lunch home for later was the first to completely polish off her plate of grilled hawaiian ahi tuna with frisee, grilled prarie creek farm potatoes, san giuliano olives and lemon aioli.

My personal choice this time was braised cattail creek lamb stuffed crepes with carrot puree, sauteed lacinato kale, frisee, almonds, goat cheese and minted meyer lemon yogurt. The picture pretty much sums it up, with all those textures tastes on the human tongue of salt, sweet, sour, bitter and savory were blending together here. If only I had a spicy cocktail to go with this, I wouldn't have been able to ask for more.

I did end up with a spicy cocktail later after a wine tasting at Wine Unwind (an adorable wine shop with handwritten tasting notes on the wine bottles they have for purchase and they also have wine flights and music or movies to inspire a visit to a certain region's wine), followed by a very light meal at Olive or Twist so I wouldn't stumble home. A tuxedo'd Sinata-like singer crooned as I sipped The Peruvian, a martini with Mazama Pepper vodka, mango puree, and lime juice. It looked almost like it was healthy carrot juice with only a little jalapeno floating as a hint to the warm fire it held for me. What a really great day that was! 

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Posted January 28, 2010 by pechluck in Uncategorized

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