Monday, June 29, 2009

Evoe

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After enjoying some Willamette Valley pinot at Oregon Wines on Broadway, we needed a little fuel to tie us over until our late dinner reservation at Beast. With small plates ranging in price from $4.50 to $12, Hawthorne's relatively new establishment, Evoe, was both appetite and budget friendly. Settled into an extra space that specialty food store Pastaworks had used over the years for catering prep or storage, Evoe is casual and uncomplicated. Snacks are scrawled on chalkboards above the open "kitchen," which is equally straightforward--consisting of little more than Butcher Block counters, a griddle and an old school oven. The menu is constructed from the shelves of Pastaworks, and changes with the swipe of an eraser. My favorite detail about this "enlightened snack bar?" Customers can select a bottle from the retail store and pay a nominal $5 corkage fee to enjoy it at Evoe.

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Deviled Eggs

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The beginnings of an Artichoke, Fennel, and Guanciale Little Gem Salad w/Vinaigrette

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...and the end result.

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Peas on Toast

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Chevre Chaud with Arugula

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Pork Pâté

Front man/chef Kevin Gibson (formerly of Castagna) and his sidekick were not chatty by any means, but I'd venture to suggest that they may also be a bit misunderstood. Perhaps I have no right to say this, since we are alas just "visitors" to Portland and no longer call it home, but I think the handful of people who have flocked to web sites like Yelp to give this place the finger for being stuffy and pretentious just need to give it another chance. The gentlemen were indeed quiet and a bit reserved, and my initial reaction was to think our party was being vibed when we asked if we could sit at the counter and watch them work, only to be encouraged to take a table in the corner instead. But we were persistent and took up residence at the bar. After engaging them in conversation about their cutlery, kitchen and cuisine, we walked away feeling like these two are closer to being self-effacing bookworms than pompous foodies. In fact, the pâté was on the house.

- K

Evoe
3731 S.E. Hawthorne Blvd.
Portland, OR 97214
Noon to 7:00 p.m.
Wednesday - Sunday

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