PARTLY AS A NOD to diners who prefer to eat their meals tapas-style, and partly as a nod to those on a budget, Portland restaurateurs increasingly have begun to offer entrées in half and full portions. The only problem is, when you order the full size at many of these establishments, it’s already minuscule, making the half portion a mere joke of a meal for a ten-spot, or sometimes more. But at Belly Timber, set in a purple Victorian on the corner of SE Hawthorne Boulevard and 32nd Avenue, the half-size portions are remarkably plentiful. And even if you do opt for a full serving, not one item is priced over $20.
Here your Alexander Hamiltons get you a meticulously prepared meal made with market-fresh ingredients, served in a homespun dining room that’s light and airy, accented by olive-and-gold-patterned wallpaper. Headed up by chef David Siegel, formerly the sous-chef at Meriwether’s and a cook at Nostrana, the kitchen serves up an assortment of eclectic combinations: an appetizer of grilled cuttlefish, kohlrabi, capers, endive, and a warm bacon vinaigrette ($7.50), for instance; or an entrée of pan-seared halibut served over a bed of tender wheat berries and spring greens, sprinkled with shrimp and slivers of fennel ($11/half portion; $19/full portion); or steamed collard greens stuffed with rice and mushrooms, and accompanied by a warm bread salad ($7/half portion; $13/full portion).
True, the menu may seem all over the place, but with a name like Belly Timber—Victorian slang for snacks of all sorts—we shouldn’t expect anything less from this restaurant. And more important, most of the dishes offered here are enticing enough that you might just wind up forgoing your tight budget and ordering a full portion anyway. Such is the power of the belly. Closed Mon.