The cooks at China Town Restaurant carefully pick fresh ingredients to use in their traditional Chinese entrees, striving to create healthy yet flavorful cuisine. Hot pots of stewed meats emerge from the kitchen alongside steamed spareribs and entrees with incendiary doses of sichuan sauce. Throughout each meal, servers also ply guests with small dim sum plates—including barbecue pork pies, deep-fried lobster balls, and stuffed jalapeños—from carts that navigate the dining room's red vinyl booths and warp tunnels dug all the way to China.
What began as a tradition of backyard seafood boils for the formerly Texan Nguyen Family has grown into My Brother’s Crawfish, a restaurant that serves up classic Southern seafood seven days a week. According to Douglas Perry at The Oregonian, two brothers oversee the kitchen, where crawfish, crab, shrimp, clam, and mussels swirl around in oversize pots of boiling water and homemade seasonings. They also craft classics such as jambalaya and gumbo and serve blackened and fried chicken and shrimp solo or stuffed inside a po' boy or standard-size envelope. The Louisiana theme extends to the dining room’s decor, where paintings of jazz musicians and colorful Mardi Gras masks line the long, burgundy walls.
Dan & Louis Oyster Bar, a 104-year-old Portland landmark handed down from fish-loving father to sea-faring son for five generations, boasts extensive menus of locally sourced seafood, a full bar, and an inviting, authentic atmosphere adorned with historical artifacts. Ancient ship wheels, old-timey nautical articles, fading photos, and sexy fishing photos from Davy Jones's high school locker surround diners as they munch on myriad undersea selections.
Cabezon dishes out a constantly metamorphosing menu of locally and regionally procured fish fares that vary based on season, availability, and the position of Orion as viewed through an astrolabe. The most recent menu leapt from the starting block with chive blinis with trout caviar and crème fraiche ($4) and Hood Canal oysters with champagne mignonette ($2). Heartier bites include the basil-wrapped gulf shrimp (apricot-almond chutney and tangerines, $11), wild king salmon (beets, salsa verde, fennel, and frisee, $20), and Mediterranean mussels ($12). Desserts such as Callebaut Belgian chocolate pot de crème ($7) and lavender and honey crème brûlée ($6) are just a few of the treats that have recently humbled sweet teeth. A list of West Coast and European wines accentuates the fresh bites the same way a top hat really brings out a magician's eyes.
It's not that the chefs at Portland Seafood Company dislike forks?they just see them as unnecessary. The teams at the Washington Square and Mall 205 restaurants designs many of their fresh seafood dishes to be eaten by hand, encouraging patrons to dig into platters of fresh-shucked oysters and buckets of Alaskan snow crab, crispy potatoes, and corn on the cob. They also fix up Baja-style fish tacos, oven-roasted crab melts, and fish and chips platters featuring cod, prawns, or halibut dipped into their signature Widmer Hefeweizen beer batter.
Each restaurant's decor takes inspiration from the nearby dockside fish warehouses, which also happen to be where the chefs source many of their ingredients. The staff also procures fresh bread from nearby bakeries, seasonal produce from local growers, and margarita mix from in-house. Bartenders serve these from-scratch margaritas alongside beer, wine, and other signature cocktails.
Stanford's Restaurant & Bar stays close to home, even as it explores and combines the diverse flavors of the US. In addition to buying fish from the Columbia River, its chefs obtain as many ingredients as possible from Washington and Oregon producers such as Inaba Farms, Ralph?s Greenhouse, and Dungeness Farm. The results: fresh grilled salmon with lemon-chive cream and a rib-eye steak that spends 48 hours marinating in pineapple and soy. As for their combinations, the chefs don't believe land and sea need to remain separate?just look at their Surf & Turf Kobe burger with dungeness crab, b?arnaise sauce, and roasted mushrooms. And both surf and turf tend spend a lot of time together atop the kitchen's wood-fired grill, too, soaking up the smokey flavor of the smoldering logs while coming to realize there aren't so many differences between them after all.