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.
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.
Constructed with wood milled from trees that once stood on the same soil, Riverview Restaurant’s sunlit space boasts high ceilings, exposed wood beams, and a stone-front fireplace, all which helped nab it a spot on OpenTable’s list of top 100 romantic restaurants in the country. Walls hung with original artwork surround linen-topped tables where diners savor plated steaks and seafood dishes tinged with miso, sesame, and other fusion flavors. An extensive wine list serves wine by the glass, bottle, or surreptitiously emptied flower vase, and bartenders swirl signature drinks such as pear martinis and pomegranate mojitos. Massive, floor-to-ceiling windows offer views onto manicured grounds, complete with a gazebo where patrons can reenact the scene in The Sound of Music where Rolf and Liesl cleverly disguise themselves as trees.
Having carved out its own elegantly understated space inside the Red Lion Hotel, Willamette Valley Grill recently restyled its menu to feature appetizers, entrees, and salads beaming with the bravado of classic American bistro fare. Inspired by local and seasonal ingredients, chefs entice palates with starter dishes of steamer clams sauteed with pancetta, leeks, tomato, garlic, and wine. Velvety bowls of butternut squash and gorgonzola ravioli create a symphony of spring flavors while aromas pan-roasted halibut and chimichurri ribeye mingle through the dining room. After dining and sipping on a range of Pacific Northwest wines, guests can trade the restaurant's tasteful ambiance for the colorful hues of the adjacent 3301 Ultra Lounge.