I have a drink or appetizer at Ten 01 at least every other week or so. The bartenders are great, always ready to suggest a drink I might like, or describe the new offerings on the bar menu. I haven't had a full dinner there since opening weekend in November (under a different chef) until last night.
A server at a neighboring table described the changes since Executive Chef Jack Yoss took over in May as "like working in a completely different restaurant". That's certainly reflected in the menu. Where previous menus were divided into mulitiple confusing sections, current ones are simplified into straightforward "Appetizers" and "Entrees". Instead of funky combinations like a kamut berry entree or crawfish pasta with kumquat cream, there's a roasted jumbo quail with wild mushroom stuffing and brown-butter potato puree and grilled spring lamb chops along side goat cheese gnocchi and fava beans. Yum!
My aunt and I sat upstairs in a comfy corner booth. Five or six booths line the wall of windows overlooking busy Northwest Tenth Avenue, with a few more interior booths and tables. The primo spot is the corner table that seats ten people or so and has a lazy susan for easy family-style meals. There's also a private dining room on that level that can hold 28 people.
We downed glasses of champagne while perusing the menu. Love those bubbles! We ordered and shared:
- Sashimi of Hamachi with green apple-celeriac vinaigrette
- Heirloom Beet Salad with arugula, belgian endive, shaved radish and tangerine oil
- Glazed Carlton Pork Belly with pickled spring onions and asparagus
- Sautéed Alaskan Halibut with fingerling potatoes, chanterelles, pearl onions, smoked bacon-sherry sauce
- Alaskan King Salmon with mussels, braised fennel, fregola sarda, lobster sauce
The chef sent out an amuse of sweet corn bisque, made with smoked mussels, chives, lemon-herb crème fraîche and served in a shot glass. Very sweet, fresh, corn flavor. It was piping hot, a nice change from the tepid soups I am usually served. The kitchen was nice enough to split every order into two plates for us. It really made the whole experience more enjoyable. The hamachi came first. Four or five slices of fat-marbled hamachi with a good amount of small dice green apple and celery root piled on top and scattered around. After the first bite, my aunt and I's eyes met in amazement; it was wonderful. The buttery fish melted in the mouth. I could eat this for days, truly one of the best things I've eaten this year. The beets in the salad were plentiful; I liked the golden ones best. The tangerine oil was a good flavor match. Auntie had never tried pork belly, so we had to order it. What came was a three-inch rectangle wrapped in bacon. I quite like the pork-on-pork action going around these days. The fat was all melty and good with the crisper bits.
The last two items we ordered as entrees, although we really didn't need any more food at that point. I really had good intentions of taking part of my salmon home, but that didn't happen. Damion, our server, had mentioned that it had been in the water not more that forty hours ago - that was pretty much the clincher. I had been leaning toward the stuffed quail or the rib eye. The salmon was cooked perfectly medium rare. "Slippery salmon," I called it. The skin was seared crispy with just a touch too much salt. The surrounding fregola were good but I wasn't so keen on the lobster sauce. It's hard to tell what lobster sauce is, as a diner. Is it creamy, is it brothy? In this case, it was tomatoey, brothy, salty. And there were mussels that tasted good, but I didn't think really went with the salmon. The fish was definitely my favorite part of the dish. My aunt's halibut was a winner all around. Very nice seared crust with a pile of chantrelles, onions and fingerling potatoes.
For dessert, we shared a slice of the flourless chocolate cake with chantilly cream and raspberry sauce. It was very dense, very chocolate-y and very perfect. A nice something sweet to cap off a mostly great meal.
1001 NW Couch Street
Portland, Oregon 97209
Dinner: Monday - Saturday from 5pm to close,
Lunch Monday - Saturday from 11am to 3pm
Happy Hour from 3pm - 7pm Monday - Saturday.