Friday, November 13, 2009

Simpatica Dining Hall

Simpatica Dining Hall

Oh, Portland. Sweet, wonderful, complicated Portland. What it lacks in jobs it makes up for in restaurants doing really interesting things. Take Simpatica Dining Hall: billed as a "dining hall, supper club and food resource" this catering business moonlights as a cozy, Lower Burnside basement restaurant offering one seating of dinner service both Friday and Saturday evenings, and a comfort-food themed Sunday brunch. A mere $35 will get you four dinner courses, with the menu changing every week based on what's available through the Farmer's Market and local farmers and purveyors. But let the words "dining hall" serve as your guide: you may need to share the dish of Marcona almonds with complete strangers.

Razor Clams
Crispy Fried Razor Clams with Roasted Cauliflower, Venus Grapes and Capers

I loved getting things started with a hearty plate of seafood while J was enamored with the velvety roasted grapes.

Your Kitchen Garden Mizuna with Grapefruit Hearts and Roasted Spaetzle, Young Parsnips and Carrots
Your Kitchen Garden Mizuna with Grapefruit Hearts and Roasted Beets

Light, refreshing and the perfect palate cleanser in preparation for...

Braised Piedmontese Shortribs with Creamed Horseradish
Braised Piedmontese Beef Shortribs with Creamed Horseradish, Spaetzle, Young Parsnips and Carrots

Given my complex relationship with meat I am certainly not a connoisseur of shortribs. In fact, it is quite possible this course served as my shortribs deflowering. But the dumplings had me so giddy I found myself digging in, and the meat responded by literally sliding off the bone in silky strips...and right into my mouth.

Warm Beignets with Apple Confit and Caramel Sauce
Warm Beignets with Apple Confit and Caramel Sauce

The beignets arrived at our table still hot. While the coating of confectioner's sugar was a bit heavy (think choking on the cocoa powder atop a piece of Tiramisu) the caramel sauce provided relief in the way of some much-needed moisture.

The weekend dinner menu is posted every Wednesday and when you arrive at the restaurant the kitchen staff will take you on the journey of how they arrived at the evening's selections--and where everything was sourced from. Reservations can be submitted online or by contacting the restaurant directly. Don't forget to check out the recession-friendly wine list, with nothing over $39.


Simpatica Dining Hall
828 SE Ash Street
Portland, OR 97214

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Blogger Jeff said...

Love, love, love, Simpatica. And don't forget about their great brunch too. :) They also got a F&W Top 10 dishes mention too!

1:28 AM  
Blogger K and J said...

Can't wait to try the brunch! The photos of waffles on their web site always get me. Is the brunch menu done a la carte?

9:37 PM  

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