Saturday evening arrives and we are at the restaurant and I was pleased to see that they seated us against the wall as I had requested. Alas that was the only good thing about the evening. The waitress approached us, handed us the menu and informed us that with large groups they prefer to do the tasting menu. I opened up the menu and was surprised to see that the price was now $55.00 per person. Based on the blog we read we figured that there would be enough food to share and placed our order with the waitress. The response was "I don't know, we prefer that you all have your own." to which one of my friends asked "well could you find out?"
At this point we should have got up and left. I was seething. I watched her as she asked the Chef and there was lots of pointing and huffing. After a while she came back and informed us that it would be fine. Two of our friends chose not to have the tasting menu, but have their own entree. At no point were we told that the food portions are only enough for one, or is it on their menu.
Our friends Becky and Beau (Becky from a local vineyard in Oregon) bought along a bottle of her Brut and wine to share. Corkage fee was $20.00 per bottle. In most restaurants around the country corkage fee is waived for industry because that is what we do to form better relationships with the people who are most likely to be asked when pouring their wines, "Could you recommend a place for dinner?" It is all about helping each other out.
Now this is where it got to be fun. First plate plonked down in front of us were three mussles on a bed of rocks. Yup, rocks. We all looked around and Bear asked the waitress what we were supposed to do. Her response, "those are to share." So I took one mussel, cut it in half and shared it with Bear. I was so dumb founded I forgot to take a picture. Becky was then in charge of the camera.
We arrived at 7:00pm and food started coming out at around 7:35pm. I am noting the time as it is an important part of the tale.
Next up was the pickle plate. The tasting portions were for three people. Remember we are all sharing. One plate was for 3 people. Hopefully this will clarify any confusion. We were not given three individual plates with individual tastings.
|Pickle Plate, how adorable one sliver of pickle each.|
Next was the country ham rillettes, green tomato mustard and toast.
|Tasting portion for three people|
Crispy pork snacks , buffalo style. Sorry no picture and I am to blame. I was so damn hungry that when the plate was put down I would grab and pass along. Suffice to say this was no more than thinly sliced pork skin deep fried.
Ken's Bread and Butter, which I cannot remember and Sunchoke Tot and sorrel cream were to follow. Again no picture, but you can now imagine what the portion size was.
|Parsnip, Carrot, Rye berries, brown butter, sage|
|Crab Louie sauce, cucumber, grape|
|3 clams, Sunchoke, Chowder, Seaweed|
|Braised sunflower seeds, Peppers, Cheddar, Chicory (sunflower seeds were like boiled peanuts)|
|Egg, Chanterelle, Bone Marrow, Onion|
|Sweet Bread, Cabbage, Horseradish, Dill, Bacon (that little piggy was hiding)|
Finally the LARGE items, the Salmon was half the size of my palm. Our friends at this point received their food as well.
|Salmon, Pumperknickle Spatzle, Brussel (leaves only) Red cabbage (hiding under Salmon)|
|Lamb, Beets, Quince, Buttermilk|
|Pork, Fried Rice, Persimmon, Turnip|
While training in the hospitality industry I was fortunate to work under some of the greatest chefs. Chefs who belong to the Chaîne des Rôtisseurs As the waitress was putting down the samples and explaining what the dish was, the phrase my Chef would say came to mind, 'keep it simple.'
There is obviously a market for The Bent Brick in Portland, alas it is not us. I really do feel that their wait staff need some training. Let's start with the diner that just sat down worked hard for their money. Make their experience an enjoyable one. We did try to speak with the manager at the end of our meal, last dish being served to us at 10:15pm. She had left. The cost for three tastings was $165.00.
As the waitress put down our checks she said "Thank you for celebrating my birthday with me." So it was her birthday as well.
I should have responded "Thank you for almost spoiling mine."