FX Excursions

FX Excursions offers the chance for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in destinations around the world.

A Repeat Visit

Aug 12, 2017

A trip north to Portland from our home in Southern Oregon always provides the opportunity to check out the culinary scene for which the city is known. While we enjoy visiting places we’ve never been before, we also like to go back to tried-and-true favorites. Such was the case on our most recent trek to the Rose City, when we dined at clarklewis in the Central Eastside Industrial District. First opened in 2003, the restaurant garnered several accolades right from the start (Best Restaurant of the Year, Oregonian; 10 Most Notable New Restaurants of 2004, The Wall Street Journal; 10 Hottest Restaurants, msn.com) and continues to hold a respected place for its locally sourced, organic, sustainable, seasonal menu in a town where it seems every restaurant makes those claims.

Two of the most challenging aspects to dining out in Portland may be the traffic and parking. No longer the mellow little burg where I grew up, the city experiences the negative aspects of its popularity in almost around-the-clock snail-paced travel times and not enough parking slots in the greater downtown area. Uber provides some relief and convenience, but this evening our 7:30 reservations meant traffic was lighter, and after 6 p.m. the clarklewis building’s parking lot out back and surrounding spaces are free and open to patrons.

On that warm summer evening the entire front façade of the restaurant was open to the street via large overhead doors, and diners filled the contemporary/industrial space, with many having a view into the open kitchen and its wood-fired oven and grill. (Large stacks of firewood greet guests at the entry.) Our party of six was tucked away out of the flow of traffic, and after several minutes with no greeting, my husband roused a server for some water. We all thought this might be a foreshadow of dismal service to come, but throughout the remainder of the evening we received friendly, prompt service from our young waiter, with whom we shared a little of our bottles of wine we brought with us.

After starting with a few plates of artisanal cheeses (all delicious), Harry started with a cup of  soup and we shared the house market salad which included hazelnuts, berries and Portland Creamery’s oh-so-lovely chevre. Harry went right back to his favorite entrée from our previous visit: a savory, rich lamb ragú tagliatelle which was just as good as he remembered. clarklewis restaurant, Portland, Ore.  I opted for the pork chop served with heirloom tomatoes and capers. clarklewis restaurant, Portland, Ore.  It was disappointingly tough and a bit dry; not a choice I’d make again.

A few of us were game for dessert, and I’m glad we ordered. All of the desserts at clarklewis are made in house, and the freshness was clearly evident. We chose the berry trifle (nothing is better than Oregon summer berries); a light yet rich chocolate & porter cake: chocolate mousse with chocolate and porter ice cream, pecan praline and chocolate sauce; clarklewis restaurant, Portland, Ore.  and a lemon tart. Our delightful server gifted us a fourth dessert, a trio of deeply flavorful berry sorbets, as a thank you for being a “fun table” and sharing the wine. clarklewis restaurant, Portland, Ore.  All four plates made the rounds of the table, with the six of us managing to consume every last delectable bite.

Nearly three hours after we arrived, we finally pushed away from the table and made our way back out into the warm and pleasant evening. With as many restaurants as we still have to sample in Portland, I wouldn’t mind a return visit to clarklewis.

— Patty Vanikiotis, associate editor/copy editor

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FX Excursions

FX Excursions offers the chance for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in destinations around the world.

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