This post was written in November 2007 but never published. Why, I don't know.
As the new home of Portland favorite Chef Daniel Mondok - formerly of Carlyle and Olea, Sel Gris has to live up to some lofty expectations.
Ris de Veau: crisp sweetbreads, apple butter,“bacon and eggs”11. Melty-crisp sweetbreads were delicious. The "exploding egg pancake" that came with it impressed me with presentation, but I didn't care for the flavor. Too sweet. Brian scarfed it up happily.
Calamari “fritto misto”: Oregon rock shrimp, preserved lemon, green beans,Italian parsley, halibut gujonette, and walnut bagna cauda 10. I loved this - big chunks of halibut and shrimp lightly fried till crisp mixed with fried lemon and green beans sprinked with parsley. And the walnut bagna cauda is a warm dip of garlic, anchovies, walnut oil and cream. Luckily Brian was busy with the sweetbreads and let me have most of it. Hee hee.
Cauliflower Panna Cotta. Our server Tim brought this out gratis. Yes, it's Tim, the same server from Carlyle. He actually remembered us from our Valentine's Day dinner. That's a good server. Anyway, I loved this! It was cold, creamy and rich, tasting of cauliflower and cheese.
Duck Confit with baby chicories, Roquefort, sherry-shallot vinaigrette 12. Wow, great salad. I love duck, especially confited. This was the perfect venue for it - spicy chicory, intense Roquefort and the acidic dressing.
Endive salad with toasted walnuts, arugula, red wine spiced poached pears, Muscatel vinegar, under a "Humboldt Fog"9. What does under a Humboldt Fog mean? Something about cheese? It was good, too.
I wanted to order the salmon (pan roasted, crevette risotto, foie gras melted leeks, squid and crab "salad", butter poached prawn, coral oil), but I found I wasn't really hungry anymore. God, ya think? Brian went and ordered what would have been my second choice.
Diver Scallops: seared and bacon wrapped, polenta, foie gras béarnaise, figs and fennel 24. Decadence on a plate. The scallops were perfectly rare in the center, as expected, and the polenta and béarnaise gave each scallop bite a blanket of richness.
Daniel Mondok has hit his stride with Sel Gris. We are looking forward to seeing what other amazing creations come out of his kitchen.
1852 SE Hawthorne Blvd.
Portland, OR 97214
Dinner Monday - Saturday, 5:30 PM to close
Note: Sel Gris has recently been under attack by foie gras protestors. Please go as often as you can this month to support them. I will. (If you are anti-foie, don't bother spamming the comments; I won't publish your mis-directed diatribe.)