La Fraternite du Bondage Gastronomique's Restaurant Reviews

"Bound to Eat!"

- outstanding (Abraham Lincoln) | - really good (Theodore Roosevelt) | - pretty good (Harry Truman) | - so-so (Dwight Eisenhower) | - lacking virtue (Richard Nixon) | 0 stars - execrable (George W. Bush)
 

Nostrana - 11/7/17 (SE) photo

QUALITY QUANTITY SERVICE ATMOSPHERE VALUE
+ + +

We'd bonded at Nostrana twice and not been disappointed; the latest episode in this series was no exception. Nostrana's salad versions are reliably excellent and rather huge. We had both, guaranteeing an excellent start. Goat cheese-stuffed pappardelle was tasty and suitably al dente. Ordering a pizza to share is a must, if only to be sure that Nostrana's standards haven't dipped and to maintain our pizza shearing skills. The salumi - salami, tomato, provolone, mozz, peppers - proved both standards and skills intact. We all had the roasted pork entree. Another standout. Portions were somewhere between large and jumbo. Our server met the standard of excellence we've come to expect here. Nostrana is a lovely place in which to enjoy a meal. However, it's also a crowded place, which means noise. Even tucked away in a corner, hearing each other took effort. After twelve years in business, Nostrana has achieved iconic status on Portland's restaurant scene. Deservedly so. Whatever the occasion, it's a great option and a solid value.
 

Chin's Kitchen - 10/24/17 (NE) photo

QUALITY QUANTITY SERVICE ATMOSPHERE VALUE
+ + +

Chin's has been around since 1949, yet no one we knew had ever eaten there. A recent change in ownership spurred a couple of glowing reviews. Said reviews caught our eye, especially the glowing parts, so we decided to be the first ones we knew to venture into this Hollywood hole-in-the-wall. We're happy to report back that those reviews were spot on. We agreed with them and among ourselves that the dumplings are just about perfect. At least that was the case with the pork and cabbage and pork and leeks versions we shared. The surprise was in our mains - broccoli chicken, cumin beef, and shredded pork. Each was somebody's favorite, and all four of us enjoyed all three of them. The purple rice was another surprise, though that was owing to the color, not anything special about the taste or consistency. Portions were fairly enormous. Any time the number of main dishes it takes to stuff us is less than the number of us, it's clear that portionage is excellent. Service at CK isn't so excellent, though. It's slow, even when it comes to getting the check. And we had to ask for serving spoons for the larger dishes. The plain as plain can be atmosphere befits a 1949 hole-in-the-wall. But the takeaway on Chin's is really about the food. It's better than good, there's a lot of it, and you will leave satisfied. (Dessert at New Seasons.)
 

Aviary - 9/19/17 (NE) photo

QUALITY QUANTITY SERVICE ATMOSPHERE VALUE
+ +

Refreshingly unassuming, Aviary is creative in the best way. Lots of interesting choices, a minimum of verbiage and ornate uselessness. The menu is just a medium sized list of dishes and their ingredients with no classification regarding starters, entrees, etc. We started at the top, where the smaller portioned items were. Foie gras hum bao, bigeye tuna crudo, and tamarind braised lamb ribs were all terrific, but the fried chicken skin salad was terrificest. Braised goat and pork short rib were our mains until, still riding high with the thrill of success, we just had to share a rabbit braised in miso. Aviary's portions are generally adequate, occasionally a tad larger. Our service was simply superlative, leaving no room for improvement. The casual atmosphere was comfortable, and we could both see and hear. If you've got out of town visitors, Aviary is an easily accessible example of what makes Portland's food scene special. And if you don't have visitors, it's a great place to remind yourself of the same. (Dessert at Petite Provence.)
 

DarSalam - 8/17/17 (NE) photo

QUALITY QUANTITY SERVICE ATMOSPHERE VALUE
+

DarSalam's Iraqi inflected Middle-Eastern dishes were generally good, with a couple of high points. Said high points were the mixed dolmas and the lamb salad. It should be noted that the latter was not simply salad with some lamb on top. Rather, it was a heap of shredded lamb with some salad on the bottom. Our chicken mezza, though, was pretty forgettable. For mains, we all had the lamb shank. Hefty and tender, but not extraordinary. Portions were enormous. Our servers, personable and good humored, did a good job of keeping their eyes open when we needed more pita, more water, more napkins. We had the good fortune to eat outside on a lovely evening, but inside looked rather dark and forbidding. DS is a good value and worth trying. Even though you're unlikely to be blown away, it's almost certain that you'll leave satisfied. (Dessert at Petite Provence.)
 

Walkabond (NW, N, NE, SE, SW, NW) - 7/8/17

Seventeen stops again. Also once again, the absence of one bondee for most of the day prevented total success. Click here to see this year's itinerary.
 

Laurelhurst Market - 6/13/17 (NE) photo

QUALITY QUANTITY SERVICE ATMOSPHERE VALUE
+ +

Laurelhurst Market has a terrific reputation; based on our experience it deserves only a good one. And good but not great describes nearly every aspect of our dinner. The Caesar salad earned points for having filleted anchovies, though the rest was pretty ordinary. On the other hand, the harvest salad was inspired, thanks mainly to romesco sauce, sunflower seeds, and citrus vinaigrette dressing. Too bad it had no company in the spotlight. Our pork chop and hanger steak mains were well executed but fell well short of memorabilitude. Sides didn't fare all that well either. Quality french fries, yes, but still only french fries. Bland marinated asparagus. Portions were a half-size above okay. LM's service was, frankly, a disappointment. Dutiful and competent, with almost zero trace of personality. The atmosphere was fairly loud. Hard seats didn't elevate our enjoyment. Nor did a surprisingly pricey wine list. You'll find good meat dishes at LM, and it's probably worth checking out if you're a steak lover. (Dessert at Pambiche.)
 

Bellino Trattoria Siciliana - 5/18/17 (NW) photo

QUALITY QUANTITY SERVICE ATMOSPHERE VALUE
+ + +

All good things must end. No, not bondage, but Bellino. About a week after we visited, PDX's only (as far as we know) Sicilian restaurant abruptly shuttered. And that's too bad, because our take was positively positive. After splitting an antipasto and salad, we each had one of the primi and secondi, followed by dessert. For the first time in bondagedom's annals, we each ordered the same in every category. This wasn't the fault of a menu lacking in choice. Rather, it seemed there were dishes that seemed off the beaten track, promised tastiness, and called our names. Beginning with arancino, a rice ball stuffed with lamb bolognese peas and mozzarella. It was better than it sounds, unless it sounds really good to you. The insalata umberto, with fennel, oranges, celery, olives, and cherry tomatoes was a bright departure from the usual. Our pasta course was probably the star of the show, busiati alla trapenese. The busiati were mixed with a Sicilian red pepper pesto, along with almonds and sun dried tomatoes. Braciole di carne - beef rolls stuffed with almonds, raisins, parsley, and mozz, topped by tomato sauce - followed. Another original, and also excellent. Chocolate almond torta all around for dessert. Not original, but well executed. Portions were pretty good. Our server was terrific. She offered solid advice and managed the pacing well. Bellino's atmosphere is - oops, was - much better than expected, given its Pearl District location. The dim (not dark), relatively quiet, wood accented interior lent a somewhat rustic vibe to the atmosphere. We rated Bellino a solid value, certainly worthy of the follow-up meals we can no longer look forward to.
 

Old Salt Marketplace - 4/17/17 (NE) photo

QUALITY QUANTITY SERVICE ATMOSPHERE VALUE
+ + + +

After we bonded at Old Salt in September 2013, we gave good ratings to the food and service but poor ones to the dark, uncomfortable, and rather loud atmosphere. Either things have improved or we've grown more tolerant. Given the a priori impossibility of the latter, we'll say OS is doing better. One thing which contributed substantially to our increased enjoyment was taking advantage of the "let us cook for you" option. This is a great idea and is not - repeat NOT - the equivalent of the standard prix fixe chef's tasting menu. OS allows customers to pick a price point, beginning at $30 per person. We were tempted to up the ante to $50, but our waiter convinced us that we'd be happily sated at $40. And he was right. From the snack listings we had pork rinds and a pickle plate. Starters were represented by chickpea fritters, grilled chicories, beet salad, and beef tartare. Ling cod with cauliflower (unanimously chosen star of the show), ham hock with braised greens and polenta, and flat iron steak with braised broccoli almost finished us off. Almost, but not quite. Even though dessert isn't part of the "let us cook for you" deal, we were unable to resist chocolate cheesecake. Overall, the dishes were just a notch below excellent. Generous application of salt became too generous in a couple of instances, particularly the ham hock. We should note, too, that OS's short wine list, while adequate for our meal, isn't going to impress anyone who cares greatly about what they drink with dinner. Portions were significantly larger than expected, another departure from the usual tasting menu approach. Our friendly server was low-key but made sure our meal was perfectly paced. As with our previous experience, we found the hard seating rather uncomfortable for a long meal. On the other hand, the lighting, though on the dim side, was adequate enough to easily read the menus. The word "cavernous" never came up. The noise level, too, seemed discernibly subdued compared to our initial experience. We heartily recommend OS. For those who approach dining with an adventurous spirit and a healthy appetite, "let us cook for you" is the way to go.
 

Renata - 3/20/17 (SE) photo

QUALITY QUANTITY SERVICE ATMOSPHERE VALUE
+ + + *

We chose Renata for Portland Dining Month based on curiosity, good reviews, and its selection as 2015 Restaurant of the Year by the Oregonian merely weeks after opening. Our verdict, expressed as a single word, is....almost. What Renata did best was to provide great tastes. All of us had the mixed lettuce salad and mixed grill pork from the dining month menu. Because we wanted a fair comparison with other Italian restaurants we've been to and because we didn't want to leave hungry, we added a communal salsiccia pizza and papardelle with braised beef shank. Everything was delicious, but the salad and pizza approached transcendence. Portions, though, were almost but not quite generous. Service was almost exemplary, save for the issue of bringing our gratuitous pasta course with, instead of before, the secondi. Renata's atmosphere is almost wonderful. A large, airy space, nicely lit and unpretentious, graced by unusual and quite functional tableage, made for pleasant surroundings. The ceaseless din, though, detracted from our ability to enjoy it. By virtue of Dining Month pricing, Renata is almost a great value. The asterisk appended to our value rating represents a caveat indicating a good value for the other 11 months.
 

3 Doors Down - 2/2/17 (SE) photo

QUALITY QUANTITY SERVICE ATMOSPHERE VALUE
+ + +

3 Doors Down has a problem: its name. No innocent passing by would have any idea that this unprepossessing neighborhood eatery offers rather terrific Italian food. Perhaps that's by design, and who are we to argue with a restaurant that's been successful in the same location for decades. Especially here in Portland. Our dinner can be summed up in two words, entirely pleasing. Piquillo peppers stuffed with tuna salad, while hardly high cuisine, got dinner off to a bright start. Eggplant "meatballs" tasted better than one might think. Our roasted red pepper gnocchi was as soft as gnocchi fans would hope. Caesar salad was accompanied by genuine anchovies, a plus. We enjoyed the dressing, even if it wasn't the "classic" the menu led us to believe. Entrees shone. The porchetta special was hardy and, quite properly, suitably life-shortening. But in a good way. Though not so hard on the arteries, a fairly hefty pork chop was moist and nicely accompanied by mashed potatoes, Brussels sprouts, and bacon. All this plus dessert took about three hours, just right for a solid Italian meal. A special grace is 3DD's wine list. Good sized and great values. Portions were short of humongous but still large. Our server was personable, knowledgeable, and displayed an excellent sense of humor. We enjoyed the casual, unpretentious atmosphere. It's cozy but not cramped, nicely lit, and pleasingly quiet. All told, 3 Doors Down is just what you'd like in a neighborhood Italian restaurant that's not trying too hard to make a statement. An excellent value.
 

Genabond @ a Cena - 1/12/17 (SE) photo

QUALITY QUANTITY SERVICE ATMOSPHERE VALUE

December's snow-out of our traditional year-end feast was nearly repeated in January. With the help of an intrepid taxi driver, though, it wasn't. Which means we can report that our 2016 Genabond was an unqualified success in spite of taking place in 2017. We consumed nearly but not quite an unconscionable quantity of food. Not our fault, of course, given that most of the menu was irresistible. Antipasti consisted of romano and finocchio salads. Garganelli alla Norcia and tagliatelle would have served nicely as our pastas, but a cavatelli also found its way to the table. We managed to exercise a bit (don't get too excited; it was only a bit) of self-restraint and limited ourselves to just one pizza. That was a salsiccia, and if you have only one thing at aC, have that. All of the above were split among us. Not so with the secondi. And those were a capesante (scallops), a short rib special, and two pork chops, also from the evening's specials. Not wanting our secondi to feel lonesome, we welcomed contorni of Brussels sprouts and roasted beets to the table. Desserts included budino, affogato, and spumoni. All of the above were generously portioned. As was the case during our first visit, service was perfect. No elaboration needed. AC's atmosphere is understated and probably insufficiently appreciated in a time when loud, stark, and statement-making seem to dominate design elements in trendified restaurants around town. To us, it felt homey, comfortable, and entirely unpretentious. Conversation was easy, something that should always be the case in an upscale eatery but too often isn't. (Are you listening Ava Gene's?) If you're considering dinner for a special occasion, a Cena is a terrific value. And if you're just looking for a good dinner for a non-occasion, a Cena remains a terrific value.
 

Broadway Grill & Brewery - 12/8/16 (NE)

First Trump, now this. Genabond had to be called because of the weather. A Cena, designated site for our annual feast, closed for the evening because of snow. The same weather that sealed our fate with a Cena also sealed Elmer's fate with us, keeping him stranded at home. The rest of us convened at the Broadway Grill and sort of enjoyed a sort of dinner. It didn't feel like bondage, so we decided against the usual ratings, review (though it'd be wise to avoid what they claim is pizza), and photo. We expect to celebrate Genabond next month. Meanwhile, we're pondering the circumstances that led to consecutive sub-par bondages. One set may have adverse consequences for the nation, but all we can say about the other is it's too early to assess Trump's victory.
 

Electabond - 11/8/16 (Steve's house)

Dismay followed by disappointment followed by despair followed by desolation.
 

Vancouver, British Columbia, Bondage - 10/5-9/16

International bondage didn't start World War III, even if other events were underway that may yet succeed. This is the official, unabridged, unadulterated, gluten-free, non-GMO, handcrafted, exquisitely curated account of our five days as US ambassadors for food consumption.
 

Nicholas Restaurant - 9/6/16 (NE) photo

QUALITY QUANTITY SERVICE ATMOSPHERE VALUE
+ + + +

Nicholas is pretty much what you'd want in a neighborhood restaurant: low on flash and pretension, high on value, and reliably OK. Our starters were sambousik, stuffed grape leaves, and baba ghanouj. The first two were excellent, but the baba lacked sufficient garlic to lend character. Exhibiting a pitiful lack of audacity, we all had the same entree - hummus with lamb. (It's the same as the lamb platter, but with hummus instead of rice; it's also a couple of bucks less.) Certainly tasty, but it fell short of excellence because of the tough meat. Pita loaves were inconsistent. One was rather doughy, especially around the edges, while the other was perfect. Portions exceeded generous. Service offered no cause for complaint, and our food arrived promply. Nicholas offers a well lit room, packed pretty tightly. This means a fairly high noise level, and a lowish ceiling makes it feel somewhat close. Low prices, large portions, a broad array of choices, and reliability make Nicholas a better than solid value. (Dessert from New Seasons.)
 

Screen Door - 8/22/16 (E) photo

QUALITY QUANTITY SERVICE ATMOSPHERE VALUE
+

Our fifth visit only confirmed what we already knew - Screen Door is dependably terrific. At least it is if you crave well prepared Southern fare delivered in massive quantities. Which we do. We opted for the summer salad special, mainly because we felt it necessary to have one dish that wouldn't shorten our lives. That it was actually good was a bonus. We didn't need the communal side of bacon and ham hock collard greens, given that each entree comes with two sides, but we didn't want the communal cornbread, which we also didn't need, to feel lonely. Our entrees - two pork shoulders, one brisket, and one fried chicken - plus their accompaniments - were outstanding. Not to mention nearly overwhelming. But only nearly, which meant dessert was inevitable. Lavish pecan pie and mud cake with raspberries left us just a bit more than totally full but still able to walk. Just what a Southern food experience should be, except, perhaps, for the walking part. As noted above, portions were authentically huge. Our server was helpful in the advice department and reasonably efficient. The only complaint we can offer is with regard to SD's loud atmosphere. Not really their fault, given that, even on a Monday, the place was full the entire time we were there. OK, that means by virtue of SD's well deserved popularity it was their fault. Regardless, it was difficult to hear each other, even though we'd been lucky enough to score a booth. Screen Door is a super value, especially if you're willing to sacrifice a bit off the end of your life so you can revel in high-caliber gluttony.
 

Walkabond (NW, N, NE, SE, SW, NW) - 7/16/16

Seventeen stops, a marked improvement from last year's performance. And visiting several new places merits consideration of Walkabond 2016 as a triumphant marriage of consumption and reconnaissance. But for the absence of one bondee for most of the day, we'd have enjoyed total success. Click here to see this year's itinerary.
 

Ned Ludd - 6/21/16 (NE) photo

QUALITY QUANTITY SERVICE ATMOSPHERE VALUE
+ + +

A thoroughly enjoyable meal. Perhaps because everything achieved successful tastiness and creativity, nothing in particular stood out. We sampled plates from four of NL's six menu sections, beginning with vegetables, both pickled and marinated. A zesty start, though we thought the bread accompaniment could be improved. The asparagus salad may have been the closest to what we can identify as a single taste highlight. From what are called "warm plates," we opted for the charred kale and boquerones. A few more boquerones and it would have been the highlight. We went for the rabbit and flat iron steak large plates; everyone was pleased. Portions were acceptable, though short of hardy. Our server was wonderful. Beyond basic competence and sound menu advice, she added substantial brightness to our experience. NL's atmosphere is an excellent version of spartan. No pretense or flourishes, but ultra-functional, not too noisy, and well lit. And the background music kicked ass. Ned Ludd isn't inexpensive, but it's definitely worthy of a high value rating. (Dessert from Whole Foods.)
 

Swagat - 5/2/16 (NW) photo

QUALITY QUANTITY SERVICE ATMOSPHERE VALUE
+

Swagat would probably stand out in most towns, but here in Portland it's just a solid good. The best of what we had were the lamb samosas - terrific, actually; the chicken biryani - an ode to pungency; and the lamb karai. On the other hand, the goat in the goat curry was tough and bony and the naan undistinguished. The heat level was better than acceptable; medium truly was medium, not the usual slight upgrade from insipid. Portions were at least reasonably adequate, though the biryani bordered on enormous. Service was friendly but not terribly helpful. Our server had been on the job for only a week, so we should cut her some slack. The quiet, moderately lit atmosphere was functional. Swagat isn't anyone's idea of an exciting place for dinner, but it's dependable. A good value. (Dessert at Papa Haydn.)
 

Navarre - 4/5/16 (NE) photo

QUALITY QUANTITY SERVICE ATMOSPHERE VALUE
+

You'd think a small place like this would offer a pretty limited menu. And you'd congratulate yourself on being right when you looked at the shortish list of basic dishes. But when you see the specials - about 25 are on offer - your self-satisfaction will turn to concern regarding what and how to choose. Lucky for you, though, it almost doesn't matter; whatever you ask for will in all likelihood be a winner. That's how it was for us. Highlights included country pork pate, duck breast, potato cake, and salads centered on brussel sprouts and cauliflower. Rabbit in horseradish cream sauce and lamb braised with red wine and orange juice were even higher highlights. The Basque cake we fondly remembered from our first visit, back in 2008, was on the menu. It's still a must-have. Portions were robust. Our server had a winning attitude and provided excellent guidance. (We'll pass along one useful tip she offered. To order, diners fill out a simple form. All the dishes on a given form come out at the same time. Therefore, it's a good idea to fill out a series of forms instead of putting everything on a single one. It makes for excellent pacing and, given the array of options, you'll be able to judge just what and how much you can handle. You're welcome.) A nicely lit atmosphere accompanied by a relatively modest noise level only added to our enjoyment. Navarre is an iconic Portland eating experience: great flavors, originality, ample choice, options for sharing, and personable service, all done with an informal, intimate vibe. One of Portland's very best dining values.
 

Fogo de Chao - 3/22/16 (SW) photo photo2

QUALITY QUANTITY SERVICE ATMOSPHERE VALUE
+ *

Taking full advantage of Fogo requires either careful planning and self-discipline or substantial intake capacity. We don't claim to be particularly good at the former, but we're world class at the latter. Maybe legendary. The Fogo routine is pretty straightforward: multiple trips to the salad bar and saying yes to persistent offerings of meat, carved tableside, until you've lost all self-respect. At which point you're ready for a fairly humongous dessert that you probably can't finish and definitely don't need. In other words, FdC is made for us. Now, you probably just breezed by the term "salad bar" above. It's our duty to let you know that Fogo's version is, shall we say, expansive. Yes, we shall say expansive. We shall also say black bean and sausage stew, bacon, assorted cheeses, and smoked salmon. We could go on, but you get the idea. Of course there are several types of salads as well, put together and deconstructed. All in unlimited quantity. But this is supposed to be a Brazilian steakhouse, so let's mention the meats. Yes, there's steak. And chicken. And pork. And lamb. With multiple takes in most categories. And no sooner than you're barely into a portion of one when a server laden with something new and different appears at your side, waiting for you to say - wait, you can't say anything because your mouth is full - nod ok. There are unlimited sides, too, but decorum requires that we don't dwell on them. All told, the salad bar is stellar. Meats go from quite to very good. Desserts are well executed and large enough to require their own photo. Portions go to 11; hence the "*". Service isn't meant to be warm and fuzzy. Rather, it's meant to be efficient and relentless, and it is. Though FdC is large and busy, the noise level was quite acceptable. Ditto for the lighting. We visited during Portland Dining Month, and our value rating reflects that. But even at regular prices, Fogo's a great deal if you've got an appropriate appetite.
 

Pok Pok Noi - 2/16/16 (NE) photo

QUALITY QUANTITY SERVICE ATMOSPHERE VALUE
+ + +

It's great when things reputed to be great actually turn out to be that way. Such is the case with Pok Pok, PDX's most well-known eatery and home of Thai street food you're likely not to have had. We opted for PP's noi (small) version, figuring it'd be easier to get in. The trade-off was fewer menu options. No problem; plenty of choices, of which we had several. The iconic Ike's fish sauce wings and a special salad involving peanuts and shrimp were our favorites. Chicken, pork, beef, and salad dishes all demand praise, though; there were precisely zero disappointments. We came away in agreement that each plate was distinctive. The flavors were top-notch throughout and the spicing, though not overwhelmingly hot (maybe not even whelmingly), exuberant. Portions were decent, the service ultra-casual, and the environment functional. If it's your first time, be sure to bring at least a couple of friends. It would be a pity not to get through at least four selections. One other bit of advice: don't wear anything you're afraid to get a bit of sauce on. Things can get pretty messy pretty quickly. Pok Pok is without question an excellent value and worth a visit or three. (Dessert from Whole Foods.)
 

Tabla - 1/19/16 (NE) photo

QUALITY QUANTITY SERVICE ATMOSPHERE VALUE

Some things never change, some deteriorate, and others get better with age. We decided to revisit one our old favorites to see just where it fell on contingency's spectrum. Happily, we can report that Tabla has managed to improve, even though it began from a pretty lofty perch. What made Tabla stand out wasn't any one thing. Not the food, terrific as it was, from the octopus and chorizo salad, to the pasta - goat cheese gnocchi, radiatore bolognese, linguini with clams, mussels, and shrimp, to the mains - tombo tuna and duck confit. Not the portions, which were generous. Not the service, which was always available and pleasant. Not the atmosphere, which made it easy to see and was actually conducive to conversation - an unfortunate rarity in Portland's newer restaurants. No, what made Tabla special was just how effortless all this seemed. The menu offers sufficient choice without attempting to overwhelm. The food is allowed to speak for itself. The prix fixe option allows one to make decisions without regard to financial consequences. The service and atmosphere provide just the right flow and never get in the way. In recent years, Tabla has flown somewhat under the radar. It's deserving of higher regard, but this can work in your favor if you want to take advantage of terrific food without the buzz. Or the work.
 

Genabond @ a Cena - 12/8/15 (SE) photo

QUALITY QUANTITY SERVICE ATMOSPHERE VALUE

After three years of looking around, we finally may have found a suitable venue to replace dear, departed Genoa for our annual year-end feast. Everything we ate at a Cena was excellent. As were the portions. As was the service. As was the atmosphere. We could elaborate, but not without help from a quality thesaurus chock full of adjectives expressive of exuberance, accomplishment, and delight. Instead, we'll just tell you what we had and advise you to try this place. Antipasti: polpettine (meatballs), followed by romano and spinaci salads. Pastas: al forno (in this case lasagna) and amatriciana. Mains: osso buco all around. (Please excuse us for not trying other secondi. We're pro-choice and that's what each of us chose.) Dessert: cannoli and gelato. It's probably the case that by Portland standards a Cena isn't breaking new culinary ground. But it's certainly the case that what they do they do exceedingly well, entirely without pretension or theatrical fuss. It's also certainly the case that the service is, we believe, unsurpassed and deserves special mention. (For example, try dropping a utensil at your favorite restaurant and see how long it takes to get a replacement. We did - accidently, of course - and found a server standing by with a new one just barely after we'd gotten the dropped one back on the table. That was no happy accident. Every staff member checks out every table every time through.) By the time we left, we were perfectly full and felt as if we'd spent the past two and a half hours bathed in simple comfort. We intend to return to aC for Genabond 2016. If that feast mirrors this one, Genabond will be renamed aCenabond. And that's the highest compliment we can pay.
 

Nonna - 11/10/15 (NE) photo

QUALITY QUANTITY SERVICE ATMOSPHERE VALUE
+ + +

Our brazenly thorough excursion through Nonna's menu was unsuccessful in unearthing anything that wasn't delightful. We each had our favorites but agreed that consistent very goodness was the common theme. Take the house charcuterie plate, for example. Not up to Olympia Provisions level, perhaps, but a lot better than average. Our brussel sprouts and roasted carrots dishes were equally well above the bar. Pasta, too, reached that level. In our case it was agnolotti and gnocchi. (One minor demurral in the interest of honest reportage - the former was a tad overcooked according to one of us.) And the same goes for the mains, meatballs and teres major. Portions were just a bit smallish for the pasta and a bit generousish for the mains. No complaints. Service was friendly, though the pacing was uneven. Our early dishes were delivered promptly, but there was quite a lag between the veggies and pasta. We were impressed with the atmosphere - comfy, unnoisy, well but not harshly lit. A standout value. (Dessert from New Seasons.)
 

Olympia Provisions - 10/15/15 (SE) photo

QUALITY QUANTITY SERVICE ATMOSPHERE VALUE
+ +

If you don't begin with charcuterie at this shrine to charcuterie, you're probably hopeless. We're not, though we admit to experiencing some confusion as to which iteration to choose. Opting for the Spanish board, we were not disappointed. Little did we know the best was yet to come. That best arrived in the form of our main courses, braised short rib and garlic sausages. It may not be possible to execute either any better. Small plates arrived late, after the mains. Octopus salad compensated excellently for the tardiness, though the Fuji apple with fennel lacked luster. Generous portions, especially for the mains. Our servers were terrific - personable, helpful and around when needed. Were it not for messing up our small plates order (handled gracefully), we'd rate them a full complement of service stars. And OP's atmosphere earned that full complement. Comfortable, perfectly lit, and a noise level we could easily live with, even with a wide open window and the occasional blare from a passing train. All told, a terrific value.
 

La Taq - 9/29/15 (NE) photo

QUALITY QUANTITY SERVICE ATMOSPHERE VALUE
+ + + +

With proper seating, i.e., one of the three booths, La Taq is transformed from thunderingly loud bar into a merely loud but more than serviceable restaurant. As such, it's genuinely good for chasing tacos. Said tacos and accompaniments tend toward heat without overdoing it. And there's a nice variety to choose among. We particularly recommend anything with brisket or pork. Quantitatively, our servings were on the generous side and well packed with meat. Service was capable. As mentioned, LT's atmosphere depends on seating. Expect noise; don't expect relaxed comfort. Quite a good value. (Dessert at Petite Provence.)
 

Cafe Castagna - 8/27/15 (SE) photo

QUALITY QUANTITY SERVICE ATMOSPHERE VALUE
+ +

CC got off to a terrific start - "share plates" of grilled peach with lamb ham, tomato cucumber salad with serrano peppers, and grilled eggplant were tasty and showed imagination. Unfortunately, mains were inconsistent. Seared albacore was excellent. One of the two lamb entrees was a bit overcooked on the sides, the other overcooked throughout. Portions were adequate. Our server was excellent and handled the overcooked lamb issue expertly. We can't complain about the noise, mainly because there were too few customers to provide much. But hard surfaces abound, and we will stipulate that there's significant din potential. A decent value and worth trying. (Dessert at Rimsky-Korsakoffee House.)
 

Walkabond (NW, N, NE, SE, SW, NW) - 7/11/15

Eleven stops on a beautifully cool day. Even though we wimped out on hitting a respectable number of eateries, we successfully consumed more than usual at those we stopped at. Unfortunately, one of us decided to quit after just one quadrant, rejoining the group for our pizza, dessert, and movie. Click here to see this year's itinerary.
 

Apizza Scholls - 6/15/15 (SE) photo

QUALITY QUANTITY SERVICE ATMOSPHERE VALUE
+

We can't say much more about our favorite pizza joint than we've said before, most recently in our November 2011 review. Just know that perfect crust (perfect meaning thin, firm, and properly charred) combined with quality toppings is worthy of our highest level of adoration. We went with two "build your owns": sausage, black olives, Mama Lil's peppers; and salami, green olives, anchovies. We chose well. But you should also know that it's possible not to choose well. That's because pineapple has made it onto AS's list of toppings. Technically, we can't downgrade them for this, given that one can simply not order it. Still, it detracts from Apizza's purist rep. One other note of mild dismay - the toppings, while not skimpy, fell short of hardy. The beer list is not as formidable as it had been, but it remains excellent. Wines are reliably good and priced to please. Our server was efficient, smart, and good humored. In other words, perfect. The atmosphere is quite pleasant for a crowded pizza palace. Even though we didn't have a booth and the place was (as always) crowded, we could hear. And the buzz is fun to watch. Apizza Scholls is, as ever, a splendid value. (Dessert at New Seasons. Don't mock us; ice cream sandwiches as AS's only dessert option required desperate measures.)
 

Nostrana - 5/4/15 (NE) photo

QUALITY QUANTITY SERVICE ATMOSPHERE VALUE
+

Nostrana is more than an excellent place to eat, it's a reliably excellent place to eat. In part that's because its menu allows for dining simply or elegantly. In part because it allows for grazing among a generous array of antipasti, pasta, and pizza or saving some room and digging into the well thought out selection of secondi. But execution counts, and Nostrana shines there, too. We opted for a pizza/secondi combo and reaped rewards both expected and surprising. The surprising part was the pizza. As certified pizza nazis, we're unaccustomed to encountering worship-worthy pies outside of Apizza Scholls or EfNY. But without question the alla fiamma and salumi versions belong in that category. The former ranks as the best non-cheese pizza we've had. The glorious kickass sauce makes it work. The salumi pie represents a marriage of meat and cheese made in heaven. Among the unsurprisingly excellent secondi, we opted for lamb leg saltimbocca, grilled pork chop, and grilled speck wrapped halibut. All told, wonderful combinations and culminations of flavor. Finally, it's pretty hard to go wrong with any dessert you pick. Except perhaps for the saltimbocca, portions were better than generous. Service was adept and efficient. Nostrana is a lovely place, spacious and not overly trendified, but it does get noisy. Good spacing between tables helps ameliorate that. You can eat a reasonably inexpensive meal or you can splurge. Either way, you'll find it a terrific value.
 

People's Pig - 4/21/15 (N) photo

QUALITY QUANTITY SERVICE ATMOSPHERE VALUE
+ + +

We'll begin with a caveat: the Pig isn't Podnah's. That said, it's still awfully good and well worth a visit or three. Smoked pork - ribs and shoulder - and smoked lamb were successfully succulent. Unfortunately, the sauce accompaniment was a bit too sweet and lacked that kickass quality necessary to move the needle from good to great. We had to sample the smoked chicken, too. Not bad, but you can do a lot better elsewhere. Sides of greens, beans, slaw, and potato salad were tasty, though one of the bowls of greens lacked any pork chunks. Portions were sufficiently generous, though they didn't make it to impressive. For an order-at-counter/delivery-to-table place, the service was surprisingly good - personable and prompt. PP is small and kinda retro in style, an atmosphere that holds a certain charm. Great prices justify a top value rating. (Dessert at Petite Provence.)
 

Park Kitchen - 3/5/15 (NW) photo

QUALITY QUANTITY SERVICE ATMOSPHERE VALUE
+ + *

We chose Park Kitchen for Portland Dining Month, during which participating restaurants offer three course dinners for $29. But even with not much to lose, we "lost." Overall quality was acceptable, maybe a bit better depending on which one of us you ask. Our radish salads were tasty, though on the conservative side. The redeye gravy, collards, and cornbread dressing complemented the pork main well, even if the meat itself was insufficiently warm. A double chocolate tarte ended our meal on a moist, rich note. In short, all the tastes were good, none memorable. Given PK's reputation, that means disappointment. Portions fell a bit short of good. (Yes, we have high standards for portion size. And we're proud of that.) Our disappointment with the food was trumped by almost vast disappointment with the service. We'll cop to the fact that we've become pretty accustomed to good, often great, service. (Check some of our previous reviews for proof.) Thus, we were mystified by PK's version - cold, not terribly efficient, lacking evidence of pride and care. And undertaken with zero personality. Seats were comfy, lighting adequate, noise not too bad. Given the normally high prices and given that one can't eat name recognition, we must say PK just isn't a decent value. However, if you go during PDX Dining Month, it's almost justifiable, if only for research purposes. Hence the "*" appended to our value rating. (Postbondage extra courses at Cassidy's. photo)
 

Firehouse - 2/3/15 (NE) photo

QUALITY QUANTITY SERVICE ATMOSPHERE VALUE
+ + +

Firehouse's menu is far from vast, but it's large enough to warrant more than one visit. We did our best to consume a broad sample of what was available. The result was good news and bad news. The good news was that we loved all we tasted. The bad news was that, owing to the good news, we consumed a lot more than was reasonable, even for us. Beets and fried cauliflower were our favorite small plates. A winter salad - kale, celery root, pears, and more - was perfect. Ditto for the version made with farm lettuces, Humboldt Fog cheese, currants, and hazelnuts. We were forced to order a savoy cabbage/sunchokes/fingerling potatoes side, because, well, because it was there. We were rewarded for our lack of self control. Similarly, we were forced to sample a pizza, our choice being a mozzarella/fennel sausage/onion combo. The mozz and onions were applied generously, the sausage with too light a touch. (Warning to fellow pizza nazis - Firehouse's pies are Sicilian, meaning thin but soft crust.) Hanger steak and cavatelli mains were tasty enough, while the hearty meatballs were memorable. Desserts were yet another highlight. Bread pudding, pot de creme, and ice cream cake competed for best in show. Blue ribbons all around. Generous portions, though the steak and pasta entrees were closer to modest. Exemplary, simpatico service, including orchestration of a last minute addition to our previously placed orders while maintaining proper pacing and sequence. A corner booth made for a pleasant, almost intimate atmosphere. However, after a largish group was seated nearby, it was clear that the noise level could increase dramatically. A neighborhood place that deserves patronage from well beyond the hood, Firehouse is a fabulous value.
 

Tasty n Sons - 1/15/15 (N) photo*

QUALITY QUANTITY SERVICE ATMOSPHERE VALUE
+

A generous smoked trout board, an equally generous radicchio salad, and a tart n textured (our "n") octopus n prawn (their "n") cocktail started us off on what turned out to be a glorious food fest. It would be easy to rave about the brined pork chop's massive size, but its deep flavor and tenderness were impossible to overlook. The flat iron steak was perfectly prepared (medium rare is exactly that) and richly sauced. Cajun meat loaf was rather light on the cajun spices; on the other hand it was luxuriantly moist. Each entree was accompanied by two sides. Fried cauliflower, broccolini, cast iron stuffing, n (ours) mac n cheese (theirs) were the greatest hits in that department. Portions ran large, excepting the smallish meat loaf and, at the other end of the spectrum, the pork chop. Frankly, the pork chop may have been beyond the spectrum. Our principal server deserves immediate pantheonization. (Think canonization, hold the brocade.) Simply put, she was one of the best waitri we've ever encountered. Beyond the usual plaudits (check other reviews for laudatory adjectives), she demonstrated patience, good humor, and enthusiasm to a degree rarely encountered. Beyond that, she was assertive in the best possible manner, helping us navigate among difficult menu choices and being candid regarding which options shone brightest and why. Our two other servers, both adept and efficient, also contributed to our enjoyment. TnS was crowded most of the time, but we were able to hear each other without yelling. Lighting was just bright enough not to be called dim. Regardless of where you sit, you'll be close enough to get some entertainment value from the action around you. Everything considered, TnS is a super value. * You'll notice there are only three of us. That's because Elmer "Free Range" Zook has opted for half-time status. We honored his penchant for lemon desserts by bringing a lemon. Our server took it from there, as you can see from the plate nearest the camera. Add creativity to the qualities she brought to our table. Again - pantheon.
 

Genabond @ Le Pigeon - 12/16/14 (E) photo

QUALITY QUANTITY SERVICE ATMOSPHERE VALUE
+ +

We were forced to look around for a suitable site for Genabond, and Le Pigeon got us off on the right foot. In spite of our best intentions, we didn't go with the chef's tasting menu; there were just too many things we had to try. Which we did, and with results that were almost stupefying. Starters included smoked mackerel (excellent), duck bolognese (excellenter), foie gras (politically incorrect but perhaps excellentest). On to entrees, which meant pork coppa (almost great), duck breast (genuinely great), beef cheeks bourguignon (don't ask, just order). But we also had to add the swordfish special (insufficient adjectival armamentarium; even had the swordfish been missing, it would have stood out). If available, do not pass it by. One caveat to all this wonderfulness: portions are on the small side. In some cases, pork coppa for instance, irritatingly so. Absolutely splendid service - quietly attentive, always available, knowledgeable, patient, good natured. Better than expected atmosphere, considering the small space and communal seating. In other words, we could see well and usually hear each other. Splurgish but well worth it. BTW, if there are more than two of you, it may be even better worth it to give the tasting menu a pass, opting instead to share with each other. More choices, less money.
 

Electabond - 11/4/14 (Steve's house)

Near disaster required prodigious consumption. We decided to make impending doom a bit less onerous by avoiding the drive to EfNY (you ought to know by now) and resorted to Straight from New York for pizza and salad. Not quite a random pick, as the place was recommended by a genuine New York City pizza nazi. The verdict (re pizza): acceptable as genuine pizza, though not quite up to either Escape or Apizza Scholls. The verdict (re election): not as bad as 2000, but then neither is ebola.
 

TarBoush - 10/21/14 (SE) photo

QUALITY QUANTITY SERVICE ATMOSPHERE VALUE
+ + + +

With almost too much to choose from, TarBoush's menu offers an embarrassment of riches. Said riches don't include the hummus (required for baseline testing purposes) - too bland. Nor the pita - overdone, dry, and too thick. Happily, they cover everything else we tried. Our starters included mhammara, zesty and dense, and a lively tarboush foul mauddamas. One note of caution - unless you're familiar with Lebanese cuisine, you'll be surprised to find that the latter is a soup; the menu doesn't bother with that detail. Among entrees, lamb shawarma was nicely spiced and on the very side of good, the lamb shank just a notch below. Portions were generous, except when they were larger. Service was hospitable and accommodating, even if it could have been a bit more attentive. A comfortable, well lit, homey atmosphere added to our enjoyment. An excellent value, particularly if you take advantage of any of the several dishes not typically found elsewhere. (Prebondage beer at Cassidy's. Dessert at Rimsky-Korsakoffee.)
 

Laurelhurst Market - 8/21/14 (E) photo

QUALITY QUANTITY SERVICE ATMOSPHERE VALUE

First things first. You'll note two August bondages. No, it's not that we can't get enough of each other. It's simply that overlapping travel plans precluded getting together in September. On to the food. Laurelhurst Market's decidedly cow-centric fare offers a decent selection within that genre. The brisket empanadas set an impossibly high standard for the rest of our meal. Said standard was met. Steaks, both Denver and hanger, as well as chicken under a brick were uniformly excellent. The single large Nicoise salad we split, laced with hefty hunks of albacore, was enormous and enormously tasty enough to deserve its own sentence. We stayed for dessert. A wise decision, highlighted by cheesecake with chocolate rum sauce. Service was quite good - personable, knowledgeable, and available - even if our bread and salad took a while finding their way to our table. It's hard to go wrong dining outside on a perfectly lovely evening, but it makes rating LM's atmosphere difficult. That won't stop us, of course, but be warned that our judgment in this area isn't quite as righteous and just as it is elsewhere. Not inexpensive, but a better than good value.
 

Podnah's Pit - 8/12/14 (NE) photo

QUALITY QUANTITY SERVICE ATMOSPHERE VALUE
+

Our review from January 2013 will tell you almost all you need to know. Almost, but not quite all. First, be sure to order the frito pie, even if it doesn't sound terribly appealing. (Of course, if you find yourself at Podnah's, it'd be unusual if that were the case. But you need to make this a priority. You're welcome.) Second, our previous experiences led us to expect unexceptional service. This time, though, our server was wonderful in every respect. Third, banana pudding has been added to what had been the only dessert choice, pecan pie. Not our kind of desserts, so we can't help out any further. And finally, don't lecture us on the unconscionable amount of meat on our table (see pic). We all ordered the brisket, but we all wanted some ribs. There was no choice. (Dessert at Petite Provence.)
 

Walkabond (NW, N, NE, SE, SW, NW) - 7/12/14

Eighteen stops on a hot - as in 93 deg. - day. Not all of us could finish. Click here to see this year's itinerary.
 

Kachka - 6/27/14 (SE) photo

QUALITY QUANTITY SERVICE ATMOSPHERE VALUE
+

We expected comfort food; what we got was more interesting. Far more interesting. Highlights (OK, they probably can't be highlights, given that they include nearly everything we had, but that's what we're calling 'em): eggplant pkhali rolls, herring under a fur coat (order this or be ashamed of yourself), blintzes, Siberian pelmeni for appetizers; cabbage rolls with pork (golubtsi), stroganoff with beef tongue for mains. Portions varied; all were at least adequate. Pantheonic service - available but not intrusive, good humored, knowledgeable, graceful. While the background music was both loud and obnoxious, we could still hear. And decent lighting meant we could see. More significant perhaps and certainly more memorable, the bathroom decor manages to integrate Stalin and tampons. Tastefully. We chose to have dessert elsewhere, but we had to sample the oreshki, billed as "cookies that could change your life." We'll get back to you on that. Good value, leaning higher if you're a vodka fan. (Prebondage beer at Cassidy's. Dessert ((totally superb again)) at Nostrana.)
 

Teote - 5/13/14 (SE)

QUALITY QUANTITY SERVICE ATMOSPHERE VALUE
+ + +

It's pretty hard to go wrong here, foodwise. But beware of ordering too much - the enormous masa nosh is billed as a small plate. On the other hand, it's easy to err on the opposite side; the cenas, which are supposed to feed three people, are more appropriate for two. They're also a bit light in the meat department. However, everything we tried was tasty, even if nothing stood out as exceptionally flavorful. Service was on the good side of acceptable, given that you place your order before sitting down. Comfy atmosphere with a number of seating options. All told, an excellent value. (Prebondage beer at Cassidy's. Dessert ((totally superb)) at Nostrana.)
 

Taqueria Nueve - 4/15/14 (SE) photo

QUALITY QUANTITY SERVICE ATMOSPHERE VALUE
+

The phoenix has risen, which means the new TN is every bit as good as its original incarnation. We had no complaints about anything we tried. And so... Among the botanas, order the panuchos. Wild boar carnitas are a must, but be sure to consider the roasted beef tongue for its rich crunchiness. You can't go wrong with the mole poblano on the a la carta side, but we must admit that the lamb carne del dia was equally tasty. Sides of asparagus and spaghetti squash were a bit more generously portioned than the mains and entirely pleasing. Our server was efficient, helpful, and friendly. Even though hard surfaces abound at TN, the noise level was no problem. Bare metal seats, perhaps selected for their trendified style, may make sitting for more than an hour difficult for some. All told, a splendid value. (Attempted dessert at Bread and Ink, where we were summarily turned away because they couldn't be bothered to stay open until their posted closing time of 9 PM. And, yes, "summarily" accurately describes, not embellishes, their attitude. Actual dessert at Laurelwood Brewpub.)
 

Baby Doll Pizza - 3/18/14 (SE) photo

QUALITY QUANTITY SERVICE ATMOSPHERE VALUE
+ + +

Good quality pizza joint. Excellent (NY style) crust and a nice selection of toppings. Too bad said toppings were a bit on the sparse side; what was there was tasty enough, if not outstanding. Our caesar salad lacked both character and authenticity, though it was redeemed somewhat by the anchovies we requested and its generous size. The service was prompt and low key, just what one expects in a place where orders are placed at the counter. The atmosphere is what one expects in small pizza joint. Relatively low prices make BD a better than solid value. (Dessert at Pambiche.)
 

Lucky Strike - 2/11/14 (SE) photo

QUALITY QUANTITY SERVICE ATMOSPHERE VALUE
+ + +

Our second time here, and we were eager to see if LS was as excellent as we recalled. It was - almost. Among the appetizers, don't bother with the less-than-satisfying-but-still-OK spring rolls. Do bother with the thinly sliced pork with garlic sauce and the leopard skin jalapeno peppers. Drunken belly, twice cooked pork, and braised spicy ginger eggplant excelled as mains. We raved about the cumin beef on our first visit (see our review for April, 2012); in the name of science, we were forced to sample it again. It qualified as a paean to secular cuminism, which means there was a bit too much spice this time around. Be sure to check the previous review for LS's use of prickly ash to prevent the heat from interfering with the flavors. Service was personable and competent, though our main courses took longer than expected, given the smallish crowd. We appreciated the relatively quiet atmosphere, but a gigunda TV too easily diverted the attention of those facing it. All told, Lucky Strike is, by PDX standards, an original. A superb value. (Dessert at Pied Cow.)
 

Trifecta - 1/2/14 (SE) photo

QUALITY QUANTITY SERVICE ATMOSPHERE VALUE
+ + +

One thing everyone (that includes us) can agree on is that there's no danger of confusing Trifecta's fare with health food. Unanimity should also be expected in praise for the side dishes. Roasted carrots, brussel sprouts, and fried cauliflower provided tasty intros. Brioche oyster buns added character. Our pork chop and crispy pork shank entrees were better than good, if not memorable, while the potatoes boulanger that accompanied them just about reached memorabilitude. One caveat: there weren't terribly many choices that made for suitable entrees, at least by our standards. We felt lucky that the pork chop was one of the specials on the night of our visit. Though we had to wait nearly fifteen minutes after our reservation to be seated, subsequent service was excellent - accomodating, unobtrusive and properly paced. A warm, comfortable, pleasantly lit atmosphere helped us enjoy ourselves. Thanks in no small part to a rear booth location, we found the noise level quite acceptable. A solid value that will meet the demands of most discerning diners.
 

Genabond @ Ava Gene's - 12/3/13 (SE) photo

QUALITY QUANTITY SERVICE ATMOSPHERE VALUE
+ + + +

An unnecessarily challenging menu, insufficiently aided by a non-alphabetic glossary. That said, most of us really enjoyed most of what we sampled, and we sampled a lot. Opinions on our three salads were somewhat divided - a couple were too salty for some, each heavenly to others. Pasta dishes were superb, but you better like your pasta al dente . Wagyu beef was splendid, too, as were beef tenderloin and beef short ribs. Desserts shone. Salad portions were merely adequate, but we were almost cosmically disappointed in the meager pasta servings. No complaints regarding the secondi portions, though. Service was gracious, knowledgeable and available when needed (menu translation, for example). Pacing, too, was appropriate, though our salads took surprisingly long to arrive. AG was too noisy for our tastes/ears (even on a Tuesday evening), though pleasant lighting and reasonable table spacing helped amelioriate the decibels' effects. A reasonable value if you want potentially excellent food and you've got the money to splurge. By the way, we know you're concerned. How can it be Genabond if we're not at Genoa? The answer is that Genabond is a December tradition, this was in December, and we uphold, venerate and insist on tradition. Therefore...
 

Sok Sab Bai - 11/12/13 (SE) photo

QUALITY QUANTITY SERVICE ATMOSPHERE VALUE
+

Portland's only Cambodian restaurant is interesting in a really good way. As in lots of flavors, textures, and degrees of uniqueness. Low prices demanded we sample lots of dishes. We succeeded and found each one worthwhile. After spirited discussion regarding which plates stood out, we decided that reaching a decision was too difficult. Instead, we'll recommend that, if in doubt, go with dishes labeled "chef's choice." If doubts remain, just order more. SSB's prices make it an exceptional value, especially if it's your introduction to Cambodian cuisine. (Prebondage beer at Cassidy's. Dessert at Rimsky-Korsakoffee.)
 

Serratto - 10/15/13 (NW) photo

QUALITY QUANTITY SERVICE ATMOSPHERE VALUE
+ + + +

Lots of menu options, mostly in the good to great range. Kale salad, now obligatory in most decent restaurants, stands well above most. Osso buco was properly tasty, though one serving was rather on the fatty side. The pork chop was of daunting but not unconquerable heft. Accompaniments to the main dishes were outstanding. We apologize for not sampling the pasta and promise to correct that oversight on our next visit. Our server was thoroughly professional, managing to be attentive but unobtrusive. Pleasantly lit and not too noisy, the atmosphere enhanced our enjoyment of the food. Unique men's room audio enhanced our enjoyment of....well, you know. (Sorry, we can't speak for the women's side.) Overall, an awfully good value. (Prebondage beer at Cassidy's.)
 

Old Salt - 9/12/13 (NE) photo

QUALITY QUANTITY SERVICE ATMOSPHERE VALUE
+ + +

A story of highs and lows. Though beets with watercress and whipped chevre underwhelmed, the gnocchi excelled. On the whole, appetizers tended toward worthwhile, if on the small side. Our lamb and roast beef entrees were tasty and well prepared. The chicken fared less well. Generous portions all around. Service was helpful, attentive and genial. Languorous as well, fitting the "supperhouse" theme. Said theme apparently requires dim lighting, unpadded wooden seats and, when modestly crowded, a fair bit of noise. All that detracts somewhat from what otherwise would be an excellent value. (Prebondage beer at Cassidy's.)
 

Luce - 8/27/13 (SE) photo

QUALITY QUANTITY SERVICE ATMOSPHERE VALUE
+

Our food was superb. We sampled lots of appetizers; given their low price, small portions and all-around tastiness, we couldn't afford not to. Both rabbit and pasta entrees shone. Too bad the service didn't. Becasue Luce is small and popular, and because it doesn't take reservations, it helps to get there early. We tried but weren't early enough. Waiting at an outside table we ordered wine, bread and olives. The wine came, but even after thirty minutes the bread and olives were no-shows. Our server seemed purposefully inattentive; apparently she was waiting for us to move inside to save her the trouble of extra cleaning and moving. When a table finally opened up, she chose to sit two smaller parties, both of whom had arrived after we did, at adjoining tables, rather than put those tables together to accomodate us. Bad form. Mercifully for all concerned, she switched us to a new server. He was attentive and prompt. Luce's decor is spartan, perhaps because it doubles as a mini-market for olive oil, vinegar, and take-out. When it gets crowded, the noise level may reach an unacceptable level. It did for us. Given all that, the prices are better than reasonable. If you're looking for exceptional food at a modest price, Luce is worth trying. But if you're also looking for quality service in a moderately quiet setting, you'd better go early.
 

Walkabond (NW, N, NE, SE, SW, NW) - 7/13/13

Only sixteen stops, including a cart. But our goal was to find new places, while taking time enough to savor all of them. Which we did. Over and over and over.... Click here to see this year's itinerary.
 

Toro Bravo - 6/4/13 (NE) photo*

QUALITY QUANTITY SERVICE ATMOSPHERE VALUE
+ + +

Rather than tell you what to do and order, allow us to tell you what not to do and order. Do not be less than three people. Less than three means you'll be frustrated by too many choices and not enough mouths, resulting in failure to make a significant dent in the menu. Do not fail to be hungry. See above if this isn't self-evident. Do not fail to order something from each of the four general groupings. Your meal requires a certain symmetry. Do not order everything at once. Proper pacing is essential to enjoying the splendor of what you'll be consuming. Besides, there's only so much room on your table. What not to order? We tried our best to find something that was less than satisfying. Really. Really, really. Not only were we unable to succeed, we didn't come close. We could list and describe everything we sampled, but the Internet isn't big enough. Instead, we'll mention some dishes that surprised us, jaded as we are, with just how flavorful they were. Grilled spring onions with salbitxada. Fried Spanish anchovies. Sobrasada de Mallorca. Spring vegetable fideo. Service was efficient, knowledgeable (essential at T.B.), and friendly. Good lighting. Too loud for our tastes, though we were usually able to hear each other between grunts of pleasure. Excellent value, which only increases as you add people and adventurousness. (Prebondage beer at Cassidy's.) *photo by Janikka Byman
 

Nuestra Cocina - 5/14/13 (SE) photo

QUALITY QUANTITY SERVICE ATMOSPHERE VALUE
+ + +

There's a good reason why we had to wait for a table on a nondescript Tuesday evening, and it's not that Nuestra Cocina's too small. It's the food. Four different appetizers, three different entrees, and not a miss in the bunch. Not just good tasting, but interesting as well. Start with the stuffed poblano; close your eyes and let your fingers settle on as many other appetizers as you'd like. If you think this isn't particularly helpful, we'll provide even less guidance with entrees. Beef, chicken, and pork versions were all praiseworthy. Efficient, competent service, but perhaps too abrupt. Not as loud as one might fear; well spaced tables help. Beginning to end, everything was at least awfully good. An almost exceptional value. (Prebondage beer at Cassidy's.)
 

Tasty n Alder - 4/18/13 (SW) photo

QUALITY QUANTITY SERVICE ATMOSPHERE VALUE
+ + + +

Our biggest problem was choosing what to have. Everything looked promising, from small plates to large ones to sides and beyond. No matter, it was all good. Especially what we had. Standouts included a radicchio/lardons/manchego/egg combo (perhaps the overall winner); duck duck potatoes (sure to shorten your life, but not by so much as to justify passing them up); and the three main courses we sampled. Not that TnA (clever, no?) is beyond criticism. Our cavetteli sugo was deemed a bit too salty. Same for the apple brined pork chop, though that appraisal remains in dispute. Its hefty size is not. The rib eye a la plancha was also of good size, though some may prefer a thicker cut. Exceptional service, with one criticism. Everything is served family style, and each diner is given a small plate. Said plates get quite messy quite quickly, and our server should have offered to replace them without our having to ask. The atmosphere tends toward loudness, probably unavoidable when the place is packed. Beware the uncomfortable bench seats by the windows. Lots of genuinely great taste sensations at not unreasonable prices make TnA a better than decent value. (Prebondage beer at Cassidy's.)
 

Karam - 3/19/13 (SW) photo

QUALITY QUANTITY SERVICE ATMOSPHERE VALUE
+ + +

A rather enormous array of Lebanese and Syrian dishes to choose from. The eyecatching grilled eggplant appetizer is a must. There were two votes rating Karam's dolmas as the best ever; order a veggie mezza so you can also sample the unusually creamy hummus and garlicky baba ghannouj. Our goat entrees were tender and flavorful. Two lamb entrees ranged from good to great. Quantities were a bit more than more than adequate. Unobtrusive, efficient service abetted by a warm vibe. Low key, pleasant atmosphere. A superb value. (Prebondage beer at Cassidy's. Postbondage dessert at the Heathman Hotel.)
 

Nostrana - 2/19/13 (SE) photo

QUALITY QUANTITY SERVICE ATMOSPHERE VALUE
+ +

A former restaurant of the year, now a Portland mainstay. Fine dining, but also accessible. Outstanding radicchio salad. Pizza vongole was excellent (in the realm of pizza-like substance), though the crust could (i.e., should) have been crispier. We all had saltimbucca for our entrees (we know, we know); tasty and not ungenerously portioned. Service was prompt, attentive and helpful. The grand, eye catching atmosphere felt communal without being too close. Well spaced tables reinforced the pleasant vibe while helping damp the noise. Great value for upscale dining; good value for casual eats.
 

Podnah's Pit - 1/7/13 (NE) photo

QUALITY QUANTITY SERVICE ATMOSPHERE VALUE
+

It would be hard to find a more unapologetically meat-centric eatery than Podnah's. There's not just bacon, there's gratuitous bacon. (This is a compliment.) And where bacon belongs, in a Cobb salad, say, there's gratuitous brisket. (Also a compliment.) The brisket and ribs we had were, to say the least, perfect. A new word is needed to convey the portion quantities. Right now, we'll be understated and say massive. Competent, efficient service. Spartan atmosphere tends to be noisy. An exceptional value. Go when you're hungry, then wallow in hearty meat love. (Prebondage beer at Cassidy's. Postbondage dessert at Petite Provence photo.)
 

Genoa - 12/6/12 (SE)

QUALITY QUANTITY SERVICE ATMOSPHERE VALUE
+

Genabond XVII (give or take). Exceeded exceptional, with one minor demurral. Our elk loin entree was simply too delicious to be limited to two smallish pieces. Three would have been adequate, four appropriate for its place on the menu. That said, the pasta primi - agnolotti di maiale - was one of the best taste sensations we've encountered. And after turning five courses into seven and three hours of dining glory into four plus, we can't say we left hungry. As always, the service and atmosphere were unparalleled. Readers are urged, advised and beseeched to treat dining at Genoa as elegant gastronomic entertainment, not dinner.
 

Electabond - 11/6/12 (Steve's house)

Not quite up to 2008's stratospheric standard, but damned gratifying. And Escape from New York's pizza was as good as ever.
 

India House - 10/16/12 (SW) photo

QUALITY QUANTITY SERVICE ATMOSPHERE VALUE
+ + +

A venerable institution at which we've eaten several times, so we expected more. Lamb biryani was on the dry side, with less lamb than desirable and that of mediocre quality. Adequate portions. Competent, friendly service, though not particularly knowledgeable. Atmosphere well short of distinctive, but pleasant enough. Decent value by virtue of price. In a town with several good Indian restaurants, you can do better. (Prebondage beer at Cassidy's. Postbondage dessert at Steve's via Laurelwood Pub; second presidential debate examination and analysis required takeout. Impartial verdict: Romney left with severely dented ass.)
 

Tabla - 9/13/12 (NE) photo

QUALITY QUANTITY SERVICE ATMOSPHERE VALUE
+

This self-styled Mediterranean bistro is a must try, mainly because you can't lose: 3 courses - salad, pasta, main - for $28. Exceptional quality throughout the menu. Well staged courses meant a pleasant pace. The portions, while hardly large, were more filling than they appeared. More important, they were packed with flavor. Beet and peach salad is a must. We had three different pastas, all excellent. As were the smoked pork shoulder (though one of us deemed it a bit more fatty than necessary, given the size) and duck confit. Pleasant, competent service. Perfect lighting and not much noise earned high marks for the atmosphere. A value not to be missed. (Prebondage beer at Cassidy's.)
 

Ox - 8/23/12 (NE) photo

QUALITY QUANTITY SERVICE ATMOSPHERE VALUE
+

Billed as "Argentinian inspired Portland food," Ox is expensive but probably worth it. Outstanding meat, but don't misunderestimate (Thanks, Shrub!) the salads' taste and creativity. For the former, while the skirt steak trends towards excellence, the cocoa braised-lamb shoulder achieves it. On the salad side, we endorse the grilled radicchio, arugula, avocado, chevre, grilled corn, toasted garlic-anchovy vinaigrette version. The heirloom hominy with pork belly, cilantro, chiles and duck egg gives one something to talk about. Fabulous chimichurri is well worth dipping your bread into. Our waitress was exceptional, even by our standards. The word "aplomb" comes to mind. Friendly, knowledgeable, and helpful go without saying. Even though we were in a relatively secluded area, all it took was one largish party to raise the noise level to barely endurable. Worth the experience if you can put up with the noise. Warning: Ox is located in a restaurant "block of death." Try it before it goes out of business or moves. (Prebondage gimlets at Phil's.)
 

Walkabond (NW, N, NE, SE, SW, NW) - 7/7/12

A day that will live in infamy (not merely famy). A record that will endure. Twenty two stops. Twenty two stops! XXII STOPS!! Click here to see this year's itinerary.
 

Bluehour - 6/1/12 (NW) photo

QUALITY QUANTITY SERVICE ATMOSPHERE VALUE
+ + +*

We took advantage of Bluehour's participation in Portland's "dining month" - three course dinners for $25 at several high quality restaurants. Our evaluation is colored by the fact that we had no menu options. And also by the lower than normal price. For the most part, Bh lived up to its formidable rep. Sweet pea tortellini was wonderful, with perfectly done (one demurral noted) pasta literally bursting with flavor. Duck confit with rhubarb compote was awfully good, though not any better than you'll find at some other places around town. Dessert was an excellent strawberry almond galette with creme fraiche ice cream. Portions were not meager. Totally competent, friendly service, though maybe a bit over the top in the helpfulness department: only one piece of bread (and wonderful bread it was) at a time, dispensed by whatever you'd call a bread sommelier. Terrific atmosphere - open, but not noisy; perfect lighting; exceptionally well spaced tables; comfortable seats. An excellent value for $25, but if you're ordering off the a la carte menu, it may not be quite so excellent (hence the asterisk in our value rating). (Prebondage beer at Cassidy's. Postbondage excess - three courses weren't enough - also at Cassidy's.)
 

Cha'ba Thai - 5/11/12 (NE) photo

QUALITY QUANTITY SERVICE ATMOSPHERE VALUE
+ +

Though we'd heard great things from disparate sources about Cha'ba Thai, it doesn't quite stand out from the PDX Thai crowd. A couple of noteworthy dishes, miang pla tu (tuna, ginger, peanuts, etc.) among the appetizers and sea basa (not sea bass) among the entrees, earned our endorsement. If you like heat, be sure to specify level 4, the highest level of spiciness. We were unimpressed with level 3. Competent, efficient service. Pleasant atmosphere. A good value. Further notes: their website seems to be non-functional, at least for now. On the other hand, after 9 pm on a Friday, it was the only place on a block of Asian eateries - all open - that had people in it. (Prebondage beer at Cassidy's. Dessert at Laurelwood Pub.)
 

Lucky Strike - 4/21/12 (SE) photo

QUALITY QUANTITY SERVICE ATMOSPHERE VALUE
+ +

First, ignore the fact that Lucky Strike is located in one the the ugliest buildings in Portland. Once inside, it doesn't matter. Second, ignore the "No Spitting" sign (in English, Chinese and icon) you'll notice on the wall after you enter. We detected no saliva residue. Now you're ready to appreciate an unadulterated treasure for lovers of spicy (Sichuan) Chinese cuisine. The heat is on, without question, but it doesn't overpower the distinct flavors, thanks in part to judicious use of prickly ash. (Ignore the prickly ash comment if it makes you uncomfortable.) You should feel compelled to order the thinly sliced pork belly with spicy garlic sauce appetizer. If you're not pleased, consider yourself hopeless and leave. Among our entrees, the cumin beef stood out. Our server was helpful, knowledgeable and friendly. That LS was packed throughout our meal may have contributed to the pretty high decibel level. Beyond noise, the atmosphere was acceptable, though a bit dark in areas not close to a window. A stupendous value. (Dessert at Bread and Ink warrants a photo.)
 

Gruner - 3/9/12 (SW) photo

QUALITY QUANTITY SERVICE ATMOSPHERE VALUE
+ +

Alpine quisine taken to new heights, at least for Portland. We heartily recommend the tarte flambee as a splittable appetizer. The entrees we sampled - choucroute garnie, mustard spatzle with guinea hen ragu, sauteed liver - were terrific, though the spatzle was ragu light. We were forced to try the evening's special, duck confit ravioli. A sublime blend of textures and tastes, but disappointingly ungenerous (see photo) considering the price. Superb desserts, especially if one pretends those aren't donuts in the picture. Exceptional service left us devoid of suitable adjectives. Elegant, understated atmosphere. If you're looking for fine dining in the north end of downtown but want to avoid the Pearl, here's an emerging gem. It's a splurge, but you'll get your money's worth. (Prebondage beer at Cassidy's.)
 

Screen Door - 2/18/12 (E) photo

QUALITY QUANTITY SERVICE ATMOSPHERE VALUE
+

Unexpected circumstances dictated our first ever brunch bondage. We arrived ten minutes after opening, which resulted in an hour-long wait. Yes, it was a weekend. And yes, it was worth it. The brisket hash was extraordinary, the chicken waffle stupendous. Order the former if you want lotsa good eats. Order the latter if you want lotsa good eats piled on lotsa good eats. (Honesty requires admitting that one of us was unable to finish his chicken waffle, his claim that he could have but didn't want to notwithstanding.) Our server was efficient, knowledgeable (even explaining how the chicken waffle got THAT big), and good humored. The pleasant, open layout was not as noisy as it could have been; having a booth helped. An outstanding value, especially if you're looking at calories per dollar. And they're really good calories.
 

La Calaca Comelona - 1/16/12 (SE) photo

QUALITY QUANTITY SERVICE ATMOSPHERE VALUE
+ +

Quality central/southern Mexican cuisine, even if LCC tries a bit too hard to be something nuevo. Good flavors but not a memorable meal. Well spiced pork loin. Blackberry mole was really a pretty ordinary red mole with five blackberries on top, supposedly giving it a Northwest vibe. Friendly service, though more attention to sequencing would have helped. Everything we ordered arrived at once. Poorly matted skeleton prints detracted only minimally from the cozy atmosphere. Good value if you're looking to break free of typical Mexican-American fare and willing to pay a bit more. Perhaps an excellent one if you're into skeleton themed eateries and hungry for grasshoppers. (Yes, we tried them. It was during Walkabond 2010. Bitter.) (Prebondage beer at Cassidy's.)
 

Genoa - 12/3/11 (SE) photo 1 photo 2

QUALITY QUANTITY SERVICE ATMOSPHERE VALUE

Genabond XVI (give or take). An iconic dining experience! Thanks to our finely honed menu management skills, we transformed what would have been a "merely" exquisite dinner into a nearly 4 1/2 hour epic. Our five courses became eight, and we left with a feeling of having consumed precisely the right amount of sublime culinary preparations in an atmosphere both cozy and elegant. And we were assisted by a server who, in her first go with us, achieved near pantheonic status. As we said last year, "top to bottom, beginning to end, stem to stern, bumper to bumper, etc., our meal was superb." If you're wondering if Genoa is worth trying after its resurrection in 2009, wonder no longer. Just go. Now!
 

Apizza Scholls - 11/17/11 (SE) photo

QUALITY QUANTITY SERVICE ATMOSPHERE VALUE
+ +

See our laudatory review from 9/10, which will refer you to our laudatory review of 1/08. What's changed? The Caesar salad was anchovy-deficient, but that was remedied immediately when we called it to our server's attention. Our pizzas weren't delivered sequentially; our bad, because we hadn't made our preference known. Our server was even more spectacular than previous incarnations. What hasn't changed? The pizza. Still unbeatable. The beer selection. Still amazing. The absence of cannoli and its usurpation by an ice cream sandwich. Still a travesty. (Dessert - highly unrecommended - at the Sapphire Hotel.)
 

The Country Cat - 10/11/11 (SE) photo

QUALITY QUANTITY SERVICE ATMOSPHERE VALUE
+ +

Southerish cuisine. The chard starter was good but could have been edgier. Tasty but somewhat undersized entrees (not appropriate for Southern or even Southernish fare). On the other hand, relatively modest prices mean you can just order more stuff. The service, a bit on the slow side, was better than acceptable but well short of outstanding. The lamely updated 60's atmosphere was okay. Uncurtained windows give out on an ordinary, traffic laden street scene. Though the room threatened noise, the decibel level remained tolerable. The Screen Door remains our top Southern stop.
 

Brasserie Montmartre - 9/19/11 (SW) photo

QUALITY QUANTITY SERVICE ATMOSPHERE VALUE
+ + +

The deep fried frog legs appetizer we started with was too salty, but things soon took a turn for the better. Smoked sturgeon made up ground on the appetizer front, while the pork belly steak and duck breast entrees proved hearty and well prepared. We recommend the wilted spinach and green bean sides. Desserts, though, were merely okay. We appreciated the personable, helpful, non-pretentious service and the pleasant, easy on the ears atmosphere. Brasserie's third iteration may be the charm. A solid value. (Prebondage beer at Cassidy's.)
 

Wild Abandon - 8/5/11 (SE)

QUALITY QUANTITY SERVICE ATMOSPHERE VALUE
+

Goat cheese torta and sauteed mushrooms stood out among the appetizers. We all had the bacon wrapped pork loin; one was undercooked, one was good, two were great. Desserts were an excellent value, especially the chocolate oblivion, aptly described as a "fix." Service was slow and impersonal. Indoors it was a bit cramped, and overly zealous air conditioing didn't help. Note: we went to Wild Abandon because Amber Martin, whom we met when she was with House of Cunt, was back from NYC for a one night performance. She's unexplainable in this space, but don't miss her if you have a chance. Her performance may have accounted for the inconsistent preparation of the pork loin and the slow service.
 

Walkabond (NW, N, NE, SE, SW, NW) - 7/16/11

Only sixteen stops, but we didn't try terribly hard. Click here to see this year's itinerary.
 

Podnah's Pit - 6/14/11 (NE) photo

QUALITY QUANTITY SERVICE ATMOSPHERE VALUE
+ + + +

New location, same huge portions. Top-notch barbecue will satisfy even the largest appetites. We all had the brisket, a wonderful choice. Service was competent and friendly but not exceptional. Functional, somewhat noisy atmosphere is an improvement from the previous incarnation. Good value, verging on excellent. Warning: pecan pie, albeit excellent, is the only dessert. Further warning: no coffee. (Prebondage beer at Cassidy's.)
 

Accanto - 5/17/11 (SE) photo

QUALITY QUANTITY SERVICE ATMOSPHERE VALUE
+

Semi-casual dining at its best, i.e., Genoa's quality in a casual, unstructured, less expensive setting. Asparagus salad (a must), tongue, and octopus salad got us off to a tasty start. We each had a different entree - orecchiette, lasgana, pork loin and gnocchi. All were excellent. Our socialist server (not a political statement) was merely perfect. The trendified, hard surfaced decor seemed to create a significant potential for noise, but, even with a nearly full house, the decibel level was acceptable. An outstanding value on its own, plus an easy-on-the-wallet intro to Genoa. (Prebondage beer at Cassidy's.)
 

Little Bird - 4/14/11 (SW) photo

QUALITY QUANTITY SERVICE ATMOSPHERE VALUE
+ +

Ahhh! French bistro fare amped up a notch in elegance and creativity. We had great expectations, given the recent buzz, and LB delivered. Our evening's only gaffe was our own fault; we each ordered the duck confit. A bit too salty for one of us, but the others deemed it near perfect. Spectacular butter lettuce salad didn't look like much on paper, but we succumbed to our server's recommendation. He was totally right. Potato/bacon/morbier takes comfort food into a new dimension. Fennel au gratin excels. Desserts, too, were superb. Service was all that we could ask for - knowledgeable, pleasant, readily available but never hovering. We were fortunate to get a table upstairs and away from the noise. A splendid value for upscale dining. (Prebondage beer at Cassidy's.)
 

Kells - 3/8/11 (SW) photo

QUALITY QUANTITY SERVICE ATMOSPHERE VALUE
+ +

A menu with surprising range, but not necessarily in a good way. Quesadillas?! Hummus??!! Predictable or reliable fare, depending on POV. An interesting - not predictable - "Shannon spinach salad" is topped with fried onions. Alas, the portions weren't as generous as we'd hoped - or expected. On the other hand, the service was quite good - personable enough and highly efficient. The atmosphere in the restaurant (not the bar) was sorta weird. We get the wood and brick, but the two large TV screens were just plain wrong. (Our server was kind enough to turn off the one that was on after we asked.) Decent value, though we left with the feeling that Kells wasn't quite what it once had been. (Prebondage beer at Cassidy's.)
 

Vindalho - 2/15/11 (SE) photo

QUALITY QUANTITY SERVICE ATMOSPHERE VALUE
+

Nearly five years after our first visit, we returned to find that what was great before had become even better. The same was true of our meal; it started off superb and just kept getting better. We could rave about everything we tasted, but we'll give special props to two starters: lamb kofta and roasted yam/cashew samosas with red onion/date chutney. The massive pork vindalho must be mentioned. And the chocolate pistachio layer cake - moist, rich and substantial - deserves special praise as well. Most dishes were noticeably spicy but not hot enough to mar the glorious taste sensations. Our server was spectacular in every way. The hip interior was surprisingly not noisy. All told, an exceptional value. (Prebondage beer at Cassidy's.)
 

India House - 1/13/11 (SW) photo

QUALITY QUANTITY SERVICE ATMOSPHERE VALUE
+ +

One of our old reliables. An extensive menu means you shouldn't get bored with the same old, same old. Entrees were well spiced and aromatic, not overpowering. (Overpowering is a spicing option, though.) Our server was pleasant and willing to interact with us, though she had the whole room to oversee. Low noise, comfortable atmosphere. Good value. (Prebondage beer at Cassidy's. Dessert at Brasserie Montmartre.)
 

Genoa - 12/2/10 (SE) picture

QUALITY QUANTITY SERVICE ATMOSPHERE VALUE

Genabond XV?! Next year, we'll leave the "?" out of whatever punctuation we provide in announcing our most recent December pilgrimage. That's good; it'll allow us to more emphatically depict the duration of this tradition, independent of any overt qualms about its accuracy. But more important, it's good because it means we'll be coming back next year. And that's because, to our collective relief, Genoa is BACK! Top to bottom, beginning to end, stem to stern, bumper to bumper, etc., our meal was superb. As were the service, atmosphere, and all around good vibes that accompanied it. Our one lament is that the portions, though acceptable, remain too far from daunting to suit our appetites. Congratulations to Genoa for finding a great chef and sticking with him. Congratulations to us for sticking with Genoa.
 

Electabond - 11/2/10 (Steve's house)

The less said, the better.

FYI - we opted for Apizza Scholls, which now allows take out, instead of Escape From New York.
 

Bondage by the Coast - 10/1-3/10 (Northern Oregon Coast) teaser photo

Three days that changed the world, at least that part of the world which includes our waistlines. The official, authorized, unabridged, unexpurgated, unbowdlerized account.
 

Apizza Scholls - 9/20/10 (SE) picture

QUALITY QUANTITY SERVICE ATMOSPHERE VALUE
+ +

See our laudatory review from 1/08. If anything, AS has gotten better, except for dessert. The cannoli's been replaced by what's called an ice cream sandwich. There's simply no excuse for that. The spectacular service remains so. As does the pizza, with its better than perfect crust. As does the beer selection. (Dessert at the Sapphire Hotel.)
 

Irving Street Kitchen - 8/12/10 (NW) picture

QUALITY QUANTITY SERVICE ATMOSPHERE VALUE
+ + +

Overall quality ranged from awfully good to exceptional, with lamb and duck entrees at the upper end of the scale. The fried chicken would have been there, too, had we not tasted the Screen Door's version. Portions were larger than most, so we found them to be acceptable. Maybe better than acceptable. Exceptional service in all respects. We asked to be relocated partly through our meal (and after consuming our first course), and this was accomplished with minimum fuss. A mixup on our order, probably the result of our having moved, led to an offer of complimentary wine. And we moved because of the ISK's one great shortcoming - its atmosphere. Specifically, the noise level. As in LOUD. Intentionally so, presumably necessary to create the uber-hip vibe its Pearl District location seems to demand. Decent, not exceptional, value. (Prebondage beer at Cassidy's.)
 

Walkabond (NW, N, NE, SE, SW, NW) - 7/17/10

Twenty one stops - another world record! Click here to see this year's itinerary.
 

Screen Door - 6/21/10 (E) picture

QUALITY QUANTITY SERVICE ATMOSPHERE VALUE
+

Southerners don't deserve food this good, because they vote Republican. SD's fried chicken can't be beat, except maybe by the brisket. Don't neglect the sides, especially the local organic veggies. Portions range from generous to enormous. Spectacular service. No frills atmosphere allows you to concentrate on the food. A terrific value (unless you value losing weight). (Prebondage beer at Cassidy's.)
 

Trebol - 5/18/10 (N) picture

QUALITY QUANTITY SERVICE ATMOSPHERE VALUE
+ +

Our second great meal at this place. Definitely not your grandmother's Mexican food. Be sure to start with the taco sampler. If you want a lot, order the pork loin. Our untraditional pulled chicken enchiladas were tasty but disappointingly small. Friendly, competent service. High potential for noise, and the lighting wasn't great. If you're not into the food (or even if you are), there's a unique diversion to entertain you. We'll say no more. (Dessert at Alameda Cafe.)
 

Cabezon - 4/8/10 (NE) picture

QUALITY QUANTITY SERVICE ATMOSPHERE VALUE
+ + + +

Mussels and basil wrapped shrimp stood out among the appetizers. Our swordfish was impressive. We all had it, so we can't report on other entrees. Friendly service with generous flourishes, though there was some unnecessary clutter and it took a while for a second round of the delicious (Grand Central) bread to arrive. Perfect lighting and a low noise level, in spite of a nearly full room. Cushions on the benches would have made for more comfortable seating. A good value, it's worth checking out. (Prebondage beer at Cassidy's. Dessert at Laurelwood.)
 

Cafe Nell - 3/16/10 (NW) picture

QUALITY QUANTITY SERVICE ATMOSPHERE VALUE
+ +

Order the seafood charcuterie plate to start. Don't argue. Our entrees - lamb shank, pork chop, beef short ribs - were all great. And large. Superb, unobtrusive service, including detailed explanations from the personable executive chef. Unpretentious atmosphere, though somewhat noisy. (Prebondage beer at Cassidy's. Dessert at Wildwood.)
 

Toro Bravo - 2/16/10 (NE) picture

QUALITY QUANTITY SERVICE ATMOSPHERE VALUE
+

We tried lotsa stuff, maybe a quarter of the extensive, imaginative, wide ranging menu. It was all good, except for the stuff that was great. Which was most of it. Maybe all. Our waitress belongs in the FBG waitress pantheon. No need to elaborate. With the crowds you're sure to find, it would seem like TB would be pretty noisy. But it was fine for conversation, even with our communal seating arrangement. An outstanding value. (Prebondage beer at Cassidy's. Post-prebondage beer prebondage drinks at the Secret Society.)
 

Belly Timber - 1/19/10 (SE)

QUALITY QUANTITY SERVICE ATMOSPHERE VALUE
+ + +

Well rounded menu filled with interesting/unusual/startling combinations of flavors. Spectacular appetizers. Portions vary with what you order. Everything we tried was well prepared and tasty. Dessert menu tries too hard, somewhat disappointing. Competent, helpful, cheerful service. Pleasant, old house setting. An excellent value. (Prebondage beer at Cassidy's. Dessert at Bridgeport Ale House.)
 

Genoa - 12/3/09 (SE) picture

QUALITY QUANTITY SERVICE ATMOSPHERE VALUE
+ + +

Genabond XIV?! After a one year hiatus, Genoa reopened on 12/1/09. A significant interior redesign accompanied complete turnover in the kitchen and nearly complete turnover among the waitstaff. Good news, though - it worked! Not quite up to its glory days; the 5 (as opposed to 7) course meal wasn't as much of a feast. But the food was excellent. Ditto for the service. Ditto for the atmosphere. And the years-long slide toward increasingly smaller portions seems to have been reversed. We did miss the soup course and the detailed explanation of each item's preparation, though. A significantly lower price tag justifies a more than solid value rating, keeping in mind that Genoa offers more than an ordinary dining experience. Ultimately, it's highly refined entertainment.
 

Wong's King Seafood Restaurant - 11/12/09 (SE) picture

QUALITY QUANTITY SERVICE ATMOSPHERE VALUE
+ + +

The best Chinese food in town. Daunting menu makes selection a challenge. We'd need at least a dozen of us (or 18 normal appetites) to do justice to the offerings. Everything we ate - soup, appetizers, pork, veggies and fish - was distinctive, not always the case at Chinese restaurants. Unobtrusive, helpful service. Open, family oriented atmosphere, with lots of space between tables. A terrific value. (Dessert at Rimsky-Korsakoffee.)
 

Davis Street Tavern - 10/15/09 (NW) picture

QUALITY QUANTITY SERVICE ATMOSPHERE VALUE
+ +

Outstanding appetizers highlight an interesting, well-chosen menu. Good value if you go the prix fixe route. Generous portions, even with the prix fixe option. Impressive wine list, but not many moderately priced options. Wonderful bread pudding. Knowledgeable, relaxed service. Perfectly subdued atmosphere, not too bright, not too loud. Background music does what it's supposed to do. (Prebondage beer at Cassidy's.)
 

Esparza's Tex Mex Cafe - 9/22/09 (SE) picture

QUALITY QUANTITY SERVICE ATMOSPHERE VALUE
+ + + +

Tex-Mex at its informal, friendly, colorful best. Incredible wild boar nachos. Excellent, efficient service; always available, never hovering. Enjoyable all around. (Prebondage beer at Cassidy's. Dessert at Pambiche.)
 

Laurelhurst Market - 8/20/09 (E) picture

QUALITY QUANTITY SERVICE ATMOSPHERE VALUE
+

Meat-centric dining with a creative but somewhat pretentious menu. Beginning courses were great. The salt cod fritters were especially tasty, the nicoise salad especially hefty. Generous to large entrees. Some stuff, e.g., french fries (sorry, "pommes frites"), clearly overpriced. Service on the slow side, but our server responded graciously and competently to all our requests for information/explanation (see pretentious menu). Hard surfaces and open room contributed to a rather noisy atmosphere. (Prebondage beer at Cassidy's.)
 

Walkabond (NW, N, NE, SE, SW, NW) - 7/11/09

Twenty stops - a new world record! Click here to see this year's itinerary.
 

Carafe - 6/4/09 (SW) picture

QUALITY QUANTITY SERVICE ATMOSPHERE VALUE
+ + +

Well executed menu covers all the bases. Duck confit entree was on the salty side, perhaps a bit too much. Rabbit confit appetizer was excellent. Gracious sevice with a lighthearted attitude. Given constraints of the location, a pleasant and functional atmosphere. Most of us thought the chocolate dessert was great. One of us demanded lemon. picture (Prebondage beer at Cassidy's.)
 

Tara Thai - 5/19/09 (NW) picture

QUALITY QUANTITY SERVICE ATMOSPHERE VALUE
+ + + +

Extensive menu includes Laotian, Vietnamese cuisine. Though "medium spicy" is indicated for most dishes, blandness ruled. Mekong sausage stood out; everything else seemed variations on the same flavors. Service not particularly warm but efficient. Uncluttered atmosphere with a low noise level. (Prebondage beer at Cassidy's. Dessert at Papa Haydn.)
 

Fife - 4/16/09 (NE) picture

QUALITY QUANTITY SERVICE ATMOSPHERE VALUE
+

A diverse menu with tasty entrees. Good quality, though one leg of lamb was more fatty than necessary. Fife is closing in early May '09. Its demise will leave a hole in NE Portland dining. (Prebondage beer at Cassidy's.)
 

Trebol - 3/19/09 (N) picture

QUALITY QUANTITY SERVICE ATMOSPHERE VALUE
+ + +

Mexican food, but not what you think. Menu touches all the bases, including some you never thought of. Everything we tried was exceptional, including dessert. Service was efficient, friendly, knowledgeable, helpful. Atmosphere both intimate and open, with a unique TV diversion that works. (Prebondage beer at Cassidy's.)
 

Two Brothers Cafe & Grill - 2/19/09 (SE)

QUALITY QUANTITY SERVICE ATMOSPHERE VALUE
+ + + +

Serbia and Croatia may not be known for their cuisine, but the flavors are interesting. We were quite fond of the substanteous chevapis and their tasty accompaniments, particularly the ajvar (red pepper sauce). Good marks for the meza, too. It's pretty hard to find something that isn't bound to sclerose your arteries. We had a Greek salad. Undistinguished, but a good idea. You won't hear a lot of English here; to our ears that means authenticity. The service was good-natured and efficient. Worth the experience. (Prebondage beer at Cassidy's. Dessert at Pied Cow.)
 

The Screen Door - 1/20/09 (E) picture

QUALITY QUANTITY SERVICE ATMOSPHERE VALUE
+ + +

Inauguration Day for Barack Obama dictated American food. And what's more American than fried chicken? And where's the best fried chicken in Portland? By virtue of having bonded here in 2/08, we speak from experience. Our return visit confirmed our positive opinion. Check our previous review for additional detail. Our server's attitude - informal, low-key, and all around wonderful - deserves special mention. (Prebondage beer at Cassidy's.)
 

Slow Bar - 12/11/08 (SE) picture

QUALITY QUANTITY SERVICE ATMOSPHERE VALUE
+

High qualiity bar menu. Great burgers, with excellent meat and splendid onion rings. Top notch fries, if you want 'em. Salads are better than worthwhile, which means large enough, tasty enough, interesting enough, and, most important, they justify the damage you will do with the burgers, rings and fries. (Dessert at Perry's.)
 

Genoa - 11/20/08 (SE) picture

QUALITY QUANTITY SERVICE ATMOSPHERE VALUE
+

Genabond in November? Two bondages in one month? How can this be? It can be because, as of 11/23/08, Genoa no longer is. We felt a swan song was necessary, even though it entailed violating the bylaws we would have had, had not the bylaws we don't have now prevented us from having them.

This marked three consecutive years of significant turnover on both sides of the kitchen door. Service, preparation, taste and overall quality remained superb, however. Portions were smaller than we'd have liked, but we didn't leave hungry.
 

Electabond - 11/4/08 (Steve's house)

From New York Times columnist Roger Cohen on November 5, "The other day I got an e-mail message saying simply this: Rosa Parks sat in 1955. Martin Luther King walked in 1963. Barack Obama ran in 2008. That our children might fly." Glory! Glory! Hallelujah!

Full disclosure - we settled for convenience (The Blind Onion) instead of tradition and taste (Escape From New York). Not bad for pizza-like substance. The imminent prospect of once-in-a-lifetime great news dictated maximum viewing time for the returns.
 

Podnah's Pit - 10/16/08 (NE) picture

QUALITY QUANTITY SERVICE ATMOSPHERE VALUE
+ +

Pretty damn great barbeque. And it's not just the meat; the sides were sublime. Our server implicitly understood our appreciation for mass quantities. On top of that, she was friendly and efficient. No frills atmosphere. (Prebondage beer at Cassidy's. Dessert at Alameda Cafe.)
 

Roux - 9/22/08 (N) picture

QUALITY QUANTITY SERVICE ATMOSPHERE VALUE
+ + + + +

What Roux does, it does well. An almost extensivish menu, and food prepared with more than a little originality. Outstanding service - knowledgeable, witty, pretty assertive (in a good way). Warm, non-trendified atmosphere. (Prebondage beer at Cassidy's.)
 

Wine Down - 8/7/08 (NE) picture

QUALITY QUANTITY SERVICE ATMOSPHERE VALUE
+ + + +

They know their wines, but this isn't merely a wine bar. The food was wonderful and the choices well suited to serious eaters. The service had good mix of attentiveness, knowledge and helpfulness. Pleasantly low key, intimate atmosphere, but the live music was a bit too intrusive. (Prebondage beer at Cassidy's. Dessert at Pambiche.)
 

Walkabond (NW, N, NE, SE, SW, NW) - 7/19/08

Seventeen stops - ties our '06, '07 record! Click here to see this year's itinerary.
 

Navarre - 6/9/08 (NE) picture

QUALITY QUANTITY SERVICE ATMOSPHERE VALUE
+ +

A place for people who value good food over white tablecloths. We orderd a whole lotta stuff - the right thing to do in a small plates oriented place - and everything was great. Do not miss the Basque cake. Relaxed and friendly service matched the low key atmosphere. You can't go wrong. (Prebondage beer at Cassidy's.)
 

Sel Gris - 5/15/08 (SE) picture

QUALITY QUANTITY SERVICE ATMOSPHERE VALUE
+

An extensive and inventive menu guided us to a wonderfully prepared feast. We were especially taken with the appetizers and dessert. Special kudos for the duck confit and chocolate tangerine truffle cake. Impressive entrees, but small portions left us wanting more. Our server was superb - knowledgeable and attentive. The pacing was stately. Though the room was crowded, we never felt pushed. SG's atmosphere is restrained, not spartan, with a significant noise level.
 

Toro Bravo - 4/1/08 (NE) picture

QUALITY QUANTITY SERVICE ATMOSPHERE VALUE
+ + +

Stanabond VI. An outstanding foodie adventure. We sampled lots of things - pretty easy in a tapas eatery - and wanted more of everything. Friendly, competent service. Informal atmosphere suits the food. Not as noisy as it seems when you're standing around, waiting for a table. And you will wait. (Prebondage beer at Cassidy's. Post-prebondage beer prebondage drinks at Cafe Wonder. Dessert at Rose and Thistle Pub.)
 

East India Co. - 3/19/08 (SW) picture

QUALITY QUANTITY SERVICE ATMOSPHERE VALUE
+ +

A menu filled with interesting options led to four different entrees and three different appetizers, all well prepared. Our food was distinctly spicy but not overpowering. Non-Indian desserts - chocolate chilli cake, mango cheesecake - were a hit with us; purists may be offended. We felt well cared for from the moment we walked in. Friendly service and a nicely paced meal ensued. A wonderful atmosphere - elegant, understated, and a relatively low noise level. (Prebondage beer at Cassidy's.)
 

The Screen Door - 2/21/08 (E)

QUALITY QUANTITY SERVICE ATMOSPHERE VALUE
+ +

The menu offers complicated choices, but we mean this in a good sense. Generous portions, unless you order fried chicken. In that case, the quantity rating jumps to our first ever 5+. The fact that it's the best fried chicken ever should not be taken lightly. Great service - smooth and friendly. A plain, functional atmosphere that somehow wasn't too noisy, even with a full house. You get a lot for your money. (Prebondage beer at Cassidy's.)
 

Apizza Scholls - 1/15/08 (SE) picture

QUALITY QUANTITY SERVICE ATMOSPHERE VALUE

Outstanding!! The crust is amazing, the ingredients (including whole anchovies) fresh and tasty. This is serious pizza, and they give pizza Nazis a good name. The idea of pineapple on one of their pies would probably be met with a well deserved sneer. Unless they decided just to kick you out. The staff - all young and cheerful - provides way cool, knowledgeable service. Terrific beer selection for a small place. Cannoli, the only dessert, is merely perfect. We can't say enough!
 

Genoa - 12/6/07 (SE) picture

QUALITY QUANTITY SERVICE ATMOSPHERE VALUE
+

Our 12th Genabond? Nearly complete turnover on both sides of the kitchen door for the second consecutive year. But this time there are also substantial changes to the design of the dinners. The result is a bit more choice and one or two more plates, but fewer official courses. Though preparation and quality are as high as ever, portions are significantly smaller. One oyster, one raviolo, for example. Service remains exemplary.
 

Lagniappe - 11/15/07 (NE)

QUALITY QUANTITY SERVICE ATMOSPHERE VALUE
+ +

Duck and tasso ham gumbo stood out among a number of excellent appetizers. The menu offers a good selection oriented around Cajun standards. Portions ranged from hefty (an excellent pork loin) to huge (an excellent jumbalaya). B/t/w, "huge" means half the size of a bowling ball. Our waiter was competent and congenial, while the pace of service was on the stately side. The atmosphere's rather stark, with fair potential for noise. Hard to complain about Louis Armstrong playing in the background, though. The chocolate buttermilk cake reminded us of Ron Paul's famous buttcake. In fact, that's what it is; the dessert chef used to work for Ron Paul. (Prebondage beer at Cassidy's.)
 

Typhoon! - 10/11/07 (SW)

QUALITY QUANTITY SERVICE ATMOSPHERE VALUE
+ + +

Wonderful menu; based on our best efforts to sample as much as we could fit in (a not inconsiderable amount), it's hard to go wrong. Decent portions. Relaxed yet elegant atmosphere, though a malfunctioning light that constantly flickered could have induced an epileptic seizure. Attentive but not fawning service. (Prebondage beer at Cassidy's. Dessert at Mama Mia.)
 

Bondage by the Bay - 9/13-16/07 (San Francisco)

Roundtable Pizza vs. Roundatble pizza? "Cakeage" vs. cakeage? "Plouf" vs. Plouf? The official, unabridged account of our first out-of-state bondage provides enlightenment.
 

Le Bouchon - 8/16/07 (NW)

QUALITY QUANTITY SERVICE ATMOSPHERE VALUE
+ + +

Great food in a pleasant, low-key setting. Our two duck dishes were superb, and the saumon fume was rave-worthy. Reminds one of some of the better aspects of a French dining experience. Only one waiter - friendly, knowledgeable, suitably opinionated - for the entire place, but he spent quality time with us (and everyone else) without ever seeming rushed. (Prebondage beer at Cassidy's.)
 

Walkabond (NW, N, NE, SE, SW, NW) - 7/21/07

Seventeen stops - ties our '06 record! Click here to see this year's itinerary.
 

Navarre - 6/28/07 (NE)

QUALITY QUANTITY SERVICE ATMOSPHERE VALUE
+ + + +

Like going to a food spa - lots of little things done well, and you feel better afterward. Great fun romping through a meal that included buffalo, tuna and rabbit. Hint: it helps to have at least 3 people in order to take advantage of the array of menu choices. The single server was hard-pressed to keep up, but she did so with good humor and grace. A simple, ok, a spartan interior. Loud but not raucous. This foodie destination offers outstanding value. (Prebondage beer at Cassidy's.)
 

Karam - 5/10/07 (SW)

QUALITY QUANTITY SERVICE ATMOSPHERE VALUE
+ + + +

Sets the standard for Middle Eastern cuisine in Portland. Our batenjan mekle appetizer was especially fabulous. Karam's broad menu goes well beyond the hummus-baba g-kabab routine. We greatly enjoyed lamb shank stew and goat casserole (one of several goat dishes). Our good natured server was helpful and efficient. Tony, the owner, personally attends to the important details with uncommon graciousness. The result is consistent quality in a cozy, tranquil atmosphere. (Prebondage beer at Cassidy's. Dessert at Mama Mia.)
 

Lovely Hula Hands - 4/1/07 (N)

QUALITY QUANTITY SERVICE ATMOSPHERE VALUE
+ + +

Stanabond V. Creative, hearty starters. We were particularly impressed with the radicchio, brie, candied pecans combo. A somewhat limited choice of entrees, but there's something for everyone. Dishes feature unusual pairings, e.g., pork shoulder, mashed potatoes, pearl onions and prunes. Competent and personable service enhanced by the warm, homey atmosphere. Terrific value. (Prebondage beer at Cassidy's. Dessert at Alameda Cafe.)
 

L'Astra - 3/15/07 (NE)

QUALITY QUANTITY SERVICE ATMOSPHERE VALUE
+ + -

Surprisingly extensive menu for such a tiny place, but understaffing hurts. Excellent assortment of salads; we particularly enjoyed the rabbit terrine. Owing to a couple of kitchen mishaps, at least one of which was entirely avoidable, entrees took an awfully long time to arrive. When they finally made it to our table, we found them better than adequate, less than outstanding. Our server, on the job for only a month, was quite nice and well intentioned. With a bit of seasoning, she'll become more organized. Vinyl records congruent with the no-frills atmosmosphere. (Prebondage beer at Cassidy's. Dessert at Rimsky-Korsakoffee.)
 

Andina - 2/12/07 (NW)

QUALITY QUANTITY SERVICE ATMOSPHERE VALUE
+ + + -

Distinctive, extensive menu with a "novo-Andean" slant. Well executed from appetizers through dessert. Hearty but not humongous portions. Our unflappable waiter met our persistent questions with good humor and succeeded in finding answers. Suprisingly, the "Pearlified" hip atmosphere was quiet enough for easy conversation, even on a busy evening. (Prebondage beer at Cassidy's.)
 

Taqueria Nueve - 1/18/07 (NE)

QUALITY QUANTITY SERVICE ATMOSPHERE VALUE
+ +

Good eats. Tacos, especially the wild boar jobbies, deserve special mention. So do the octopus cocktail and the surprisingly tasty desserts. Best of all was the exemplary service. Our friendly waitress was close to perfect - attentive but not hovering; assertive but not obnoxious; knowledgeable but not condescending. An informal, not too noisy atmosphere helped. (Prebondage beer at Cassidy's.)
 

Genoa - 12/7/06 (SE)

QUALITY QUANTITY SERVICE ATMOSPHERE VALUE

Our 11th Genabond? Nearly complete turnover in the kitchen and out front. Nevertheless, the food was as good as ever, as was the service.
 

Electabond - 11/7/06 (Steve's house)

"...and God saw that it was good." (Genesis 1)

"So good, so good...." (James Brown)

Full disclosure - we settled for convenience (Pizza Schmizza) instead of tradition and taste (Escape From New York). The imminent prospect of good news dictated minimal time away from watching the returns.
 

Acadia - 10/24/06 (NE)

QUALITY QUANTITY SERVICE ATMOSPHERE VALUE
+ - + +

Good start with excellent pate and real anchovies on the Caesar salad. But for the way too salty jumbalaya, our entrees were better than good. Kudos for the humongous, tasty pork chop Toulouse. Competent but not enthusiastic service. (Prebondage beer at Cassidy's. Dessert at Alameda Brewhouse - bad food, worse service.)
 

Serratto - 9/22/06 (NW)

QUALITY QUANTITY SERVICE ATMOSPHERE VALUE
+ +

A pretty wide ranging, interesting menu. The Caesar salad had real anchovies (after reminding our waiter). The pizza was just ok; we had issues with the doughier than necessary crust. Strong entrees included an outstanding eggplant tagine and a hearty tagliatelle with wild boar. Complimentary wine while we waited longer than expected was a nice touch. Patient, competent waiter. (Prebondage beer at Cassidy's. Dessert at Via Delizia - a not good idea.)
 

Aja Pacific Kitchen - 8/17/06 (NE)

QUALITY QUANTITY SERVICE ATMOSPHERE VALUE
+ +

Given the Asian theme, a fairly diverse menu. Well prepared dishes; generous portions for the main courses. Service was good natured and accomodating, though not especially knowledgeable. Nicely paced meal. (Prebondage beer at Cassidy's. Dessert at Perry's.)
 

Walkabond (NW, N, NE, SE, SW, NW) - 7/15/06

Seventeen stops - a new record! Click here to see this year's itinerary.
 

Nostrana - 6/6/06 (SE)

QUALITY QUANTITY SERVICE ATMOSPHERE VALUE
+ + - +

An interesting menu that invites experimentation. We selected what was supposed to be an anchovy laden pissadella. Good though it was, there were no more than 5 anchovies on it. The prosciutto plate accompanied by mango chutney was superb. Our entrees were hearty, though it took more than a little while for them to arrive. Chocolate budino - wonderfully rich - ended an enjoyable meal. The service was fairly attentive, a bit better than good. Our waiter brazenly lobbied for a wine that he preferred to our selection. Props to him; it was excellent. A beautiful but way too noisy space. One caveat - check your bill. Carefully. Ours was wrong. After they "corrected" it, it was still wrong. By a lot.
 

Savoy Tavern & Bistro - 5/9/06 (SE)

QUALITY QUANTITY SERVICE ATMOSPHERE VALUE
+ +

An unassuming neighborhood eatery with a straightforward approach to dining. Kinda hip, with a surprisingly diverse menu; kinda old-fashioned, with a choice of traditional sides to accompany your entree. A good, affordable wine list and an excellent selection of beer. Friendly service. (Dessert at County Cork.)
 

Colosso - 4/1/06 (NE)

QUALITY QUANTITY SERVICE ATMOSPHERE VALUE
+ + +

Stanabond IV. Nice place to take a leisurely stroll through the tapas oriented menu. Unexceptional, indifferent service. Dark atmosphere; bring a flashlight. (Cheese course at Pizza Schmizza. Outstanding dessert at Epicure.)
 

Vindalho - 3/21/06 (SE)

QUALITY QUANTITY SERVICE ATMOSPHERE VALUE
+ +

Gracious service in a bright, unmistakably-but-not-pretentiously hip setting. The restaurant's name reflects Indian cuisine with "spice route" accents. Our entrees ranged from excellent (swordfish) to excellent (lamb) to excellent (pork). Outstanding selection of chutneys. (Prebondage beer at Cassidy's. Dessert at Pied Cow.)
 

Kells Irish Restaurant & Pub - 2/16/06 (SW)

QUALITY QUANTITY SERVICE ATMOSPHERE VALUE
+ + + +

A significant improvement on pub food ordinaire. Tasty corned beef cabbage and shepherd's pie appealed to our hearty appetites. Faux Irish selections (what's up with Irish quesadillas?) may offend purist sensibilities and offer the rest of us cause for concern. And speaking of purist sensibilities, our penalty for not ordering Guiness was a pinot noir that was much too cold. Our server was merely competent. (Prebondage beer at Cassidy's.)
 

Fife - 1/10/06 (NE)

QUALITY QUANTITY SERVICE ATMOSPHERE VALUE
+ +

Solid and repectable food from a menu that has pretty good range. Trendified (i.e., visually appealing open space with potential for noise) but unpretentious atmosphere. Our waiter was helpful and good natured. Exceptionally friendly staff, who pay attention to detail. Just don't ask for substitions on the dessert menu.
 

Genoa - 12/1/05 (SE)

QUALITY QUANTITY SERVICE ATMOSPHERE VALUE

Probably our 10th Genabond. Fabulous in every way, as always. Also as always, our initial choices covered only two of the three available entrees. But this time we were prepared, thanks to the hard work of our Double Secret Probationary Ad Hoc Genabond Entree Retroactive Planning Committee (DSPAHGERPC). We ordered an extra entree and thus got to sample the caccuccio. Our subsequent enjoyment proved it is possible to improve on perfection. Just add more.
 

Epicure - 11/8/05 (NE)

QUALITY QUANTITY SERVICE ATMOSPHERE VALUE
+ + +

Pleasant atmophere with perfect lighting. Exceptional service. Our potato pancake appetizer was fabulous. The duck breast was good but not great, while the lamb chops were great, not just good. We dug the bodacious wine glasses, too.
 

Ciao Vito - 10/20/05 (NE)

QUALITY QUANTITY SERVICE ATMOSPHERE VALUE
+ +

Somewhat pretentious and noirish atmosphere. Nothing particularly distinctive about the food; sugo of pork should have been called polenta with a bit of pork. Disappointing Caesar salad, allegedly a specialty. (Prebondage beer at Cassidy's.)
 

Esparza's Tex Mex Cafe - 9/29/05 (SE)

QUALITY QUANTITY SERVICE ATMOSPHERE VALUE
+ +

Tex-Mex with some unusual twists, e.g., ostrich and buffalo. Our food was tasty but not terribly spicy. Great portions, even though they wimped out on the mole on one entree. On the other hand, a Tex-Mex pork loin was thoroughly buried in its sauce. That's meant as praise. (Dessert at Il Piato.)
 

Equinox - 8/18/05 (N)

QUALITY QUANTITY SERVICE ATMOSPHERE VALUE

Creative preparations from a wide-ranging, interesting menu. NoPo hip vibe. If weather allows, eat outside. (Prebondage beer at Cassidy's.)
 

Walkabond (NW, SW, SE, NE, N, SW, NW) - 7/16/05

Thirteen stops. Click here to see this year's itinerary.
 

Lagniappe - 6/7/05 (NE)

QUALITY QUANTITY SERVICE ATMOSPHERE VALUE
+ +

Not health food, but tasty and, more important, plenty of it. (Too bad they were out of brisket.) Especially great cole slaw and desserts. (Drinks at Colosso.)
 

Cafe Zenon - 5/14/05 (Eugene) picture

QUALITY QUANTITY SERVICE ATMOSPHERE VALUE

Wonderfully eclectic menu, which changes daily - Moroccan, Indian, Asian, Italian, American and more. A mecca for chocolate desserts. Cheerful, highly competent service. Our first non-Portland bondage. (Breakfast at Grempsey's in Corvallis. Assorted eats and drinks at Taylor's and Max's in Eugene.)
 

Pasta Bangs - 4/1/05 (N)

QUALITY QUANTITY SERVICE ATMOSPHERE VALUE

Stanabond III. Pretty good food and lots of it. Friendly staff. (Dessert at Alameda Cafe.)
 

Montego Bay - 3/24/05 (SW)

QUALITY QUANTITY SERVICE ATMOSPHERE VALUE

Jamaican. They were out of some stuff, and the service was pretty slow. What we had was good, especially the appetizers. You won't find food like this at many places in Portland. (Prebondage beer at Cassidy's. Dessert at Pazzo.)
 

Basilico - 2/28/05 (NW)

QUALITY QUANTITY SERVICE ATMOSPHERE VALUE

Initial impression of pretense faded quickly. Wonderful Roman food, thoughtful menu.. Nicely paced, too. Andrea is among the most knowledgeable, professional and personable waitri we've encountered. Hurry in, because it's on one of Porltand's restaurant-corners-of-death (R.I.P. Zefiro & Zinc). Next year may be too late.* (Prebondage beer at Cassidy's.)

*Don't say we didn't warn you. Basilico closed its doors at the end of 2005.


 

Bombay Cricket Club - 1/18/05 (SE)

QUALITY QUANTITY SERVICE ATMOSPHERE VALUE

You can watch cricket while eating. Maybe a good thing, maybe not. (Prebondage beer at Cassidy's. Dessert at Rimsky-Korsakoffee.)
 

Genoa - 12/9/04 (SE)

QUALITY QUANTITY SERVICE ATMOSPHERE VALUE

Probably our ninth Genabond. As always, 3-plus hours of perfection. An experience that transcends dining justifies the expense.
 

Electabond - 11/2/04 (Elmer's house)

Even mass quantities of Escape From New York pizza couldn't redeem the disappointing election results.
 

Eleni's Philoxenia - 10/19/04 (NW)

QUALITY QUANTITY SERVICE ATMOSPHERE VALUE

Dark and pretentious. The food was pretty good, but not outstanding. (Prebondage beer at Cassidy's.)
 

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Send praise (lavish), suggestions (helpful) or comments (thoughtful) to sjteich@gmail.com. Criticism (we're beyond it) or reproach (we're above it) should be directed to heckuvajobbrownie@fema.gov. Please put "Bondage" or, if you're the shy type, "Boundtoeat" in the subject line.