Cuisine Type: Upscale northwest comfort food
Most popular offering: Pork loin, polenta, bacon and cherry sauce
Alcohol: Beer and wine only
Number of Tables: 11?25
Outdoor Seating: Yes
Parking: Metered street parking
Handicap Accessible: Yes
Pro Tip: Make a reservation. Metered street parking till 6 p.m. costs 60 cents an hour.
In your own words, how would you describe your menu?
Upscale Northwest comfort food, built from scratch with ingredients from local producers where possible.Dishes with few but well sourced ingredients, served with local wines, beers and ciders.
What made you want to work with food? When did you first develop that passion?
I want to teach people that there's so much more to food then just comfort and/or nutrition. Well prepared food will make your day, mediocre food stuffs your tummy and makes you feel guilty. I went to college and started to really like to create different dishes, classic and modern. Why not build a career out of something I love to do?
Are there any dishes on the menu you consider to be a hidden gem?not necessarily the most popular, but surprisingly delicious?
Speatzle. It is actually very popular, but a lot of people don't know the dish. [It] originally comes from countries that have the German language and border the Alps mountain range. It's a dish made with flour, eggs, and milk and [it] tastes great with any protein, vegetable, or simply bacon and cheese.
Is there anything else you want to add that we didn't cover?
Willem's interior is simple but well thought of, like the food that gets served in the restaurant. It has a semi private mezzanine that seats 16 people comfortably, great for business meetings [and] private lunches, brunches or dinners.
The chefs at Tommy O's Pacific Rim Bistro might be wizards. With local produce, wild-caught fish, and other ingredients culled from Vancouver's farmers’ markets, they conjure meals straight from Hawaiian tables. Their menu combines sake-wasabi oyster shooters from the raw bar with tropical dishes of slow-roasted kalua pork and calamari steak sandwiches doused in housemade tartar sauce. Bartenders stock their taps with beers from around the Northwest and shake specialty cocktails such as the FBI, whose blend of vanilla vodka, coconut rum, and pineapple juice was specially designed to look amazing in the hand of anyone wearing wraparound sunglasses. While diners take their taste buds surfing, their eyes soak up tropical decorations such as surfboards, palm fronds, and murals of surfers, all nestled comfortably in a dining room that hosts happy hours and jazz performances throughout the week.
Adults love to drink coffee. Kids love to play. But unless you have a frappuccino-filled swimming pool in your backyard, there aren't many places where both activities can take place. That's where Little Cups & Grownups comes in. Part cafe and part play-space, Little Cups allows adults to relax and converse as their children interact in a supervised area stocked with toys and books. Baristas pour Caffe D'arte coffee and espresso drinks alongside salads, chicken wraps, and turkey paninis, while parties provide kids with snacks and drinks of their own, including personal pizzas and juice.
When her two sons came back from Europe raving about the traditional liege sugar waffles, Mary did what any good mom and professional pastry chef would do: she learned how to make them. But Mary wasn't content with mere imitation––she wanted her waffles to be something unique, and so she spent several weeks crafting her own super-secret recipe that blended Belgian-style traditions with hard-to-source ingredients. After all that work, she knew her waffles were made for more than just maple syrup, and a slew of waffle-based dishes was born, incorporating toppings that include everything from thick-cut bacon and housemade salsa to scoops of small-batch ice cream and Guittard chocolate. Soon, she began serving the treats out of a converted Dutch-style door window in her husband’s Bread & Ink Café, and her waffles quickly gained enough acclaim to be featured in Bon Appetit, as well as an episode of the TV show Portlandia.
Now operating from two locations, the staff still gives diners the option to devour their waffles on the go, but welcomes guests to linger longer in the warmth of covered indoor- and outdoor-dining spaces. There, steaming cups of locally-roasted Kobos coffee and glasses of blackberry-basil lemonade help wash down the waffley goodness, while a full line of frozen take-home waffles await to be warmed in home toasters or Mrs. Butterworth's loving embrace.
The chefs at Chez Machin gather fresh ingredients from the land around them, from the wild tuna that careen down the Pacific coastline to the juicy berries that grow on local farms. Favoring natural beef from and humanely raised poultry from Draper Valley, they create a variety of salads, sandwiches, and traditional French specialties—such as the boeuf bourguignon stew with braised beef, bacon, and red wine. The chefs are particularly skilled when it comes to crepe making, whipping up paper-thin pancakes from Bob's Red Mill organic buckwheat flour before layering them with savory and sweet ingredients. Their fresh-lemon-and-sugar crepe was lauded by reporters from the Portland Mercury as "light, wondrous, and crispy."
Diners sip on microbrews and fine wines at red-checkered tabletops in the cozy dining area, stealing glances at chefs as they bustle about behind the counter. Soft light streams in through the front window, illuminating the vibrant paintings that speckle the walls. The cozy back patio is decorated with colorful murals featuring surprising images, such as a cactus floating in midair and a successful football player revealing that he is also great at knitting sweaters.
For Barrio Star's owner and chef, Isabel Cruz, her Latino family's large, frequent gatherings have always revolved around food. She taught herself how to cook with help of friends and family from Puerto Rico, Cuba, and Mexico—and growing up in Los Angeles, she was also influenced by Japanese, Korean, and Thai flavors. Today, she infuses her global, modern recipes into five eateries spanning two states. Within the vibrantly painted, chandelier-lit confines of Barrio Star, she incorporates unexpected influences into the menu of Mexican soul food; wild blackened-salmon tacos are adorned with thai slaw, pineapple, jicama slaw, and chipotle aioli, as well as cilantro and lime. Coconut permeates her Brazil bowl, loaded with rice, black beans, mango salsa, steamed greens, and a choice of meat. Isabel chooses local, organic ingredients whenever possible to forge her modern, healthier versions of traditional dishes. Her chefs make all the salsas from scratch, rather than rehydrating astronaut salsa, and hand press tortillas from just-ground corn.