Portland >Food & Dining > Park Kitchen
422 NW Eighth Ave, Portland, OR | Directions 9720945.526272 -122.678468
Happy Hour 5pm-7pm at the bar
Neighborhoods: Pearl, Neighbors West - Northwest
You might be tempted to pass on the soup in favor of something more adventurous off the ever-changing menu at this North Park Blocks favorite, but I never miss it—it’s both delicious and surprising every time, and a reminder that this seemingly humble dish really is the litmus test of a great chef.
Just spent $600+ for 5. Great service and drinks. Food was poor so thank goodness for having the friends and drinks to make it okay. Not worth the money.
Will not be returning to PK – Wow. We strayed from our usual collection of awesome PDX restaurants for a birthday dinner at PK with our group of five. Bad idea.
We waited about ten minutes for the server to say hello, so we ordered two glasses of wine and an assortment of "small" plates in one fell swoop. I'll say this right off the bat: the author of the menu got the section titles right, although "nano", or "micro" would have also worked.
Our plan was to try an assortment of dishes and then order second and third servings of the ones we liked best.
In hindsight, it was a sign: before me sat the only white plate on the table - the others were brown - and right there in the center was a food smear best described as a gray, one-inch version of Haley's Comet. I tested it with my fingernail as little dried bits flaked off, so I pushed it aside and wondered which menu items would leave a mark like that? And who had set that table without noticing the streaky thing? In any event, I had mixed feelings as our server replaced the plate with a new one, which was now brown. Dark brown. It did make me wonder.
As the two bread plates (priced at $4.50 each) arrived, I tried to think back to the last time I had paid $9.00 for bread and olive oil. Oh, and little crackers. I thought we had erred by ordering two servings of bread, but au contraire. It was actually pretty good, and we would soon to learn, in fact, that it was to be the highlight of the evening.
Then arrived two nano-cones of fried green beans and bacon-things priced at $11.00 per serving. Not terrible, but also a long way from magical. For an extra $0.50, a diner can enjoy a savory, grass-fed burger from Toast. Add a buck and score a killer pizza from Nostrana's amazing oven. Or go to Higgins' bar and order almost anything.
Next up, three brown balls of scalding fish paste served fresh from the fryer ($9.00) and known to the staff as Salt Cod Fritters. With careful dexterity we cut each one of the little spheres into quarters, but this proved unnecessary as final morsels went unclaimed. No calls for seconds on the fish balls.
After that, the "Flank steak with blue cheese, parsley and sherried onions" arrived, which should actually be renamed, "Wet steak salad tartare". This would have been a good time for a fondue pot. Sadly, the little plate kept circling our table, again and again, willing someone to finish it. Again, no seconds required.
Our final nano-treat would be octopus something-or-other, a delicacy we would later call "Octo wafers" during our hysterical drive home. Strike-three.
To wrap things up, we canceled an overdue glass of wine for the birthday girl, and we decided to cut our losses. We would eat dessert elsewhere.
And then the darndest thing happened. The check arrived sporting an "automatic", pre-calculated 20% gratuity. I'm not making this up. It occurred, presumably, because we were a group of five, but we didn't take the time to ask. We just wanted to leave.
So, we paid the bill without complaint, but it was an appropriate conclusion to a (hopefully) forgettable meal, and we will never get back the 90 minutes of our lives we wasted at PK.
Do yourself a favor: do not eat here unless you're really craving a good plate of bread. Oh, wait, that's what Grand Central serves. And Great Harvest too.
Overrated way overpriced – Have to say I have not had such a bad dinning experience in a long time. Slightly creative takes on NW style of food. Small portions, very overpriced. My dad is a vegetarian but they had no veggie options on the menu. The recommended chickpea fritters with an egg on top and a side salad. Thats what he got. $31 for the both.
Funny thing was it was the best tasting thing we ordered.
Please spend your money elsewhere.
Worst PDX Food Experience – This is my first review, and I feel compelled to let people know about my experience at Park Kitchen. I specifically made this reservation to take my mother who was in town for the weekend. I am a complete foodie, and have been to the best of the best in Portland (Beast, Bluehour, Paley’s, etc.). Park Kitchen, regardless of everything I heard about the menu being wonderful and focused on local ingredients, was unfortunately a huge disappointment. We ordered a bottle of wine to start, and then ordered the $50 small/large plate sampler, thinking we would get to try a wider variety of rather than ordering individual entrees. The menu was chosen by the chef, which is a fun idea, I give them that. The portions, however, were ridiculously small (two cold salads were eaten in five bites, the cracker dish had three crackers), and every single one of the dishes delivered had the same rhubarb sauce, making every dish taste similar (I was completely surprised that the chef chose to do this). Ugh. Despite all of this, the worst part of the while night was that each extremely small course still took 15-20 minutes to get (on a slow Thursday night). On top of that, no bread/crackers or anything is served complimentary. That is a huge mistake with the miniscule portions and hefty prices. In the end, I left Park Kitchen still hungry, with a pounding headache from drinking 2 glasses of wine before they even served the first course.
With all of the outstanding restaurants in Portland, I will not be visiting Park Kitchen again. They just are not trying hard enough, and will never be able to keep up with the competition in this wonderful "foodie" city of ours.
Great Location, Great People, Great Food... – We had a phenomenal 10 person dinner and it was unbelievably fun with great food and, as always, great people at Park Kitchen. The pork: unreal. The lamb chops: great. The flank steak salad: as typical, on point. The bld orange salad: crisp, clean and refreshing. Oh, and how was the Sticky Date Pudding? Ridiculously good, maybe the best dessert I've had.
I never post on sites like this, but I wanted to give credit where credit is due.
Park Kitchen is a first class place with an easy-going atmosphere. With the great people and the seasonal menu changes, we always keep it on the top of our list.
A Sorry Disappointment – Park Kitchen turned out to be the biggest disappointment of our trip to Portland. Indeed, my expectations were high due to the reviews I've read on Citysearch and the recommendations of friends who have dined there. Perhaps it was just an off night, or perhaps we ordered the least interesting entrees, but the food was mediocre at best. Our waiter was knowledgeable and recommended a delicious bottle of syrah. The terrine appetizer was good but not great, and a signature salad suggested by the waiter turned out to be far from innovative; it was frankly bland. But I was shocked when my lamb entree arrived, and the lamb, hidden among tepid sauteed potatoes and turnip croquettes, consisted of one--ONE-- four-bite chop. One of the reasons I ordered the dish was that the gentleman sitting at an adjacent table had ordered the same entree earlier, and his portion of lamb was immense. I called the waiter over who apologized but did nothing to correct the problem except bring another slice of the terrine I had earlier as an appetizer. Been, there; done that. I dine out often and never complain about the cost of food in a restaurant, but the dish was overpriced and a huge disappointment, not only from the small portion of lamb but by the pedestrian seasoning and preparation. Nothing interesting, delicious, or innovative here. Would I dine there again? No. Will I recommend the restaurant to friends? No. Not when there are so many other restaurants in Portland that are far superior. If you decided to go, I hope your experience is better than mine; it has to be.
Possibly the best food in Portland – For my money Park Kitchen and Paley's Place are the best restaurants in Portland. Wow, what flavors! In three visits to Park Kitchen two have been spectacular - both when I left my menu in the Chef's hands and enjoyed it with a nice bottle of wine from their well thought out list (including some great half bottles). The key to Park Kitchen is being willing to try different things and not necessarily choosing dishes that may look safe on the menu - many of the dishes I loved would not have caught my eye based on the ingredients but the flavors went so well together they almost defy description. Without a doubt I will be back to Park Kitchen at least four times per year to sample the Chef's Menu for all seasons. Bravo to Park Kitchen!
Our Favorite Spot in Town – My partner and I keep Park Kitchen in our rotation of favorite spots, along with Clyde Common, Le Pigeon, Beast, DOC, etc. The food at PK is always a surprising but perfect mix of flavors. Always fresh and seasonal. The cocktails are superb - and they can even mix interesting mocktails by request - savory or sweet - which seems too tall an order for the other chi-chi bars in town. The desserts are fantastic. The staff may be my favorite part of the Park Kitchen experience. They always make us feel welcomed and special. They are obviously food geeks, but aren't obnoxious about it. Best service in town, by far. We'll be eating here tonight for our anniversary. I can't wait.
A waste of a "good" meal – Le Pigeon, Toro Bravo, Fenouil - all worth it. Park Kitchen was not. It's been on my list for awhile, and when we arrived at Le Pigeon last night and discovered they were experiencing a power outage, we opted for PK instead. Very little about the experience was positive. The menu seemed poorly planned and overly full, leaving you to wonder how much to order (big plates vs. small plates) and which of the items were their best. The service was not great, but I often forgive poor service because things just might be off on the night you're there. Plates and utensils were whisked away too quickly - often before we had finished eating!
My main complaint was with the food (as it should be). Out of the 8 dishes we tried, not one was great, and most weren't even close to mediocre. I'm pretty positive the mushrooms in the matsutake/leek/cauliflower small plate were just shitakes, but regardless, this dish had NO flavor. I can appreciate the simple art of roasting vegetables to let their true flavors shine, but most things need the assistance of a few basic additions - olive oil, salt? The cut of meat in the pork dish seemed to be whatever was on sale at Safeway - tough and fatty. The chickpea fries were a good idea, but the execution was off - the taste wasn't all that interesting and they were a bit soggy (which might have been due to the length of time they sat on the pick-up shelf....I noticed fries sitting up there, wondered if they were ours, and sure enough - 10 minutes later they were picked up and brought to us!). We also waited 45 min between having appetizer plates cleared and receiving our main dishes. Not a crime, but not the sign of a well-orchestrated kitchen, either.
Anyway - I will never go back. I've been to worse restaurants, sure, but I've also been to a great many superior ones in Portland. Don't waste a good meal on this place! It may have been better a year or more ago, but the local food critics need to revisit it and update their reviews.
Is it me or is there something in common with the last three posts? – So, all end with a two digit number. All praise the ambience, but slam the service. Hmmmmm...could be a disgruntled applicant that never got a call back? Come on citysearch, you should be sniffing these people out. Park Kitchen is always packed, always great, even though the place is too small and out of the way. If you are going to tag a place three times, next time, don't leave so many breadcrumbs...
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