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>foie gras bonbon, ice plant salad, cassis caramel at Beast, Portland

The most delicious (or off-putting?) part of dining at Beast is that it feels like being invited to a small private banquet of a distant cousin. The small dining room/kitchen, all in one room, has only two communal tables, one seating twice as many as the other, for a total of only 20+ diners. You talk to the other diners at the table, all of whom you've just met, of course. It's a somewhat casual setting, despite its reputation as a "special occasion" restaurant, and yours truly showed up in jeans and tattered, (tattering, I guess) shirt fitting a dinner at a distant cousin's. No Portlanders seemed to mind.

(I wasn't going to take photos. These are taken with my phone.)

"Menu substitutions are politely declined." Everyone is served identical courses at the same time. This assembly line approach is smart indeed. Good food is prepared more efficiently at a more reasonable price compared to most higher end prix fixe tasting menus.

Their menu changes every day, so... here's the entire meal presented to me on July 8th, 2009.

curried carrot veloute
nasturtium and summer herb salsa verde

fried shallots
syncline underwood mountain vineyard gruner veltliner-2008

charcuterie plate:
foie-gras bonbon, sauternes gelée
steak tartare & quail egg toast
pork, pork liver, sour cherry & pistachio pâte
chicken liver mousse, pickled shallot

cor cellars columbia view sauvignon blanc-2008

baguette, fennel and sweet onion stuffed carlton farm's pork loin
local sour cherry demi glace
romano beans
syncline celilo vineyard pinot noir-2007

strawberry, arugula & ice plant salad
banyuls vinaigrette, marcona almonds & shaved sheep's cheese
strohmeier schilchersekt-nv

-selection of steve's cheese-
anise & fleur de sel shortbread
local honey, figs & candied hazelnuts
cor cellars celilo veneyard alba-2008

currant brown butter tarts
vanilla bean ice cream
cassis caramel
texier o pale viognier-2007

Go with low expectations. Don't expect first class techniques. Expect first class ingredients. Be prepared to be charmed. I was.

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