Dinner at the Picnic Table, Portland, OR

Decided to do a short series on Portland restaurants that we visited back in March. In general I think Seattle has more restaurants and better options, but then I also have had more opportunity to eat at great places in Seattle and not so much time when I’m in Portland.

We’ve actually been back to this place twice already, since the interior is so fascinating! It’s like a mini cabaret where the tables are arranged on the ballroom floor and the ceiling is impossibly high; you can even see boxes where people used to sit and watch the show. I don’t know how to find out what the previous tenant of this space used it for, but it’s really near the symphony hall so perhaps this was a performance district? Fair warning, the food is only average and the service can be reaallly slow even if it’s not a full house.

March 2016
Their cheese board was really good! Roquefort, chevre, and some garlicky boursin-type cheese with various crackers and chips. That day we were eating with Michelle, who brought me some of the crackers from her wedding (Fita, very similar to Ritz but less salty) so when we ran out of crackers we just used hers.

March 2016
The pork rillette and smoked fish board was also amazing! Served with pickled onions and capers, the whipped smoked salmon mousse was really smooth. I’m going to have a go making this for my english tea soon!

March 2016
Meatloaf terrine – part of the restaurant week menu too. It was alright I guess, very tomatoey and sweet. It tastes more at home in a diner than in a fancy restaurant.

March 2016
Their fried chicken was crispy and a little greasy but the star of the dish was really the roll. I think they make it in house! It was soft and sweet, just like a fried mantou.

March 2016
Broccoli and brussels sprouts, since we had lots of veggie lovers dining that day. These were really greasy too though, there was a puddle of oil at the bottom after we finished it. The brussels sprouts could be better caramelized too.

March 2016
Ordered the poached salmon salad for Z’s mum since it has both lots of veggies and fish, her two favourite foods. The salmon was overcooked! I think it would be better if they tried to do this more like a nicoise with anchovies and things. And maybe if they just seared the salmon like in aburi sushi. But then I bet this was frozen and not sashimi grade.

March 2016
The beef wellington was probably the best dish here. Soaking in gravy and sprinkled with peas, it was very similar to a sunday roast you get in the UK, only the beef is not prime rib and the puff pastry is not a yorkshire pudding. Still, the veggies were well roasted and the meat was pretty tender.

March 2016
S’more cake, kindly donated to the girls by Z’s dad. It had a peanut butter mousse filling and a marshmallow sauce top, which they torched. Very nice! I like how spherical it is.

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