First Impression: A reading from a MySpace blog entry from 2008:
What a better way to celebrate a birthday then eating all of the aforementioned? Ok, I’m sure there are better… but, I couldn’t think of one this year. I’m in love with a restaurant. No, that’s not really doing it justice. I’m in uberlust with a restaurant. I can’t stop thinking about the food…. seriously, it’s frightening. We went to Evangeline on our birthday(last tuesday)…and I still can’t get it out of my head.
This was my first impression of Evangeline and it still holds…only now I’m a little less of a fucking dork about it. Every time the Mrs. and I are able to make it in, I turn into a fat kid at Friendly’s. I am Augustus Gloop when I walk into this restaurant. Thankfully for me, the full menu wasn’t offered or I probably would have passed out at the table from a full blown coma… I have no restraint there. And, truthfully I’m ok with that.
Cervelles de Veau:Crispy calf’s brain fritter • Cabbage • capers • Brown Butter • Bacon
Steak Frites: Roasted Culotte Steak • Creamed Spinach • Glazed pearl onions • Frites and Mayo
*Cheese: Jasper Hill Farms Caspian w/Sultanas, Local Honey
Dessert:Valrhona Chocolate Semifreddo • Pistachio Praline
My good FIF(friend-in-food) Kate did a wonderful summation of the steak in her review, so I will point you in her direction for any interest in that. I will disagree with her on the dessert as I loved the drier texture of the semi-freddo and the lightness it carried. The pistachios added a bit of nutiness and, truly, how can you go wrong with any dessert that starts out with the word “Valrhona Chocolate”?
Now, where my true desire, and highlight of the meal laid, was in the small dish of crispy calves brains. This, and the bone marrow, have been constants for me here and not once have I been disappointed. In fact, I would say that this time around was the best yet. The complexity of flavors(smoky, salty) married with the array of textures(crispy, buttery) are not easy to come by, as I recently learned while reading a recipe breakdown of the dish. A new found appreciation was found after reading that.
Breakdown: Ambiance: There are few restaurants in Portland more beautiful than Evangeline. Like Bar Lola, there is just something about the place that makes me feel comfortable the second I walk in the door. I absolutely love the wood used throughout the entire space, the mirrors that adorn the left side wall and the slightly open view of the kitchen. It is also one of the few white linen places where I’ve heard the Grateful Dead playing lightly in the background (the other was Bresca and “Stagger Lee” just the night before).
Service: Always impeccable and professional. While you could see the staff was getting antsy as we lingered at our table, they never directly made us feel rushed.
Food: Consistent as always without a single misstep in the courses. Again, I would have liked to have seen more than the RW menu offered but, perhaps it was for the best. The food fog weighed on my head (and, my god, my poor heart) by the time the last forkful was taken.
*This wasn’t a piece of Caspian… this was a whole Caspian, like it was a challenge… and I blinked.
So, the days are done. A spread out, three day over stimulation of a multitude of senses which, for the great majority of the time, were exceedingly wonderful and, for the best of moments, just exactly perfect. Truthfully, by the end of this I was ready to be done.
One thing that I noticed is that 3 of the restaurants didn’t officially participate in RW; 1 we didn’t even utilize the RW menu and the last had a different menu than what was listed on the RW website. So, what’s the moral of the story kids? Don’t use RW as an excuse to get out there, just go out and eat.