Hawthorne's newest nighttime hangout Bar Dobre opened this week in the former No Fish Go Fish and Bird Dog space at SE 40th, offering Polish classics alongside bar food favorites.
At first glace the pierogis, kielbasa and golumpki sharing menu space with clam pizzas and buttermilk chicken sandwiches may have diners scratching their heads, but the eclectic offerings are tied together by chef Stan Pratnicki's family background and dedication to quality. The Italian-Polish chef worked in Portland restaurants for fifteen years and put in time at high-quality specialty food purveyors Provvista, but was always hoping to open his own place to showcase family recipes and personal favorites from scratch (using local ingredients, naturally).
The result? Handmade everything (from the pizza dough and mozzarella to the porkstrami and kielbasa) in portions that satisfy, served up in a space that eschews Portland's de rigueur hipness for a welcoming, sit-and-stay-a-while ease.
Stan and his wife Kimberly designed the space and the menu by focusing on balance: mixing modern and masculine fabrics and colors with mercury glass chandeliers and Polish vintage collectables, and offsetting the creamy, comforting flavors of Polish cuisine and traditional bar foods with fresh ingredients and creative cocktails.
The menu is broken down into Small (like truffle fries, pierogis, roasted garlic tomato soup, and beer-battered cheese curds), Medium (like beet and pancetta salad, smoked whitefish with pickles, or clams in a vermouth-spiked chile, fennel, and garlic tomato broth), and Large Plates (like a 1/2 lb hamburger with gruyere and caramelized onions or kielbasa plate with potato pancakes and bacon-braised greens), as well as Pizza—try the Nicki with clams and garlic oil or the Kaminski with mozzarella, kielbasa, tomato sauce, egg, greens, and oregano.
The cocktail menu highlights traditional Polish liqueurs and flavor combos. The Connie's Brow boasts blackberry brandy, Zubrowka vodka, and Becherovka, while the Henryk the Pious mixes Sobieski vodka with St Germaine, lemon, and Champagne, and The Pope offers a deceptively simple combo of Jameson and Krupnik (Polish honey liqueur . In addition to the house concoctions, a tongue-and-cheek list of "Traditional Polish Cocktails" lists four varieties of vodka on ice (Sobieski, Belvedere, Chopin, or Zubrowka) meant to be sipped and savored, not shot. A small wine and draft/bottle beer list rounds out the liquid offerings, but check out the specials board for seasonal sips (like a truly warming Krupnik toddy).
Dobre (pronounced doe-bray) means good in Polish, and diners frequently hear the close-knit staff tossing around the phrase "It's all dobre!" with such confident ease that, after a few drinks and a plate of pierogis, it's hard not to agree.
3962 SE Hawthorne Blvd., Suite A; 503-477-5266
Monday through Thursday, 4 pm to 11 pm
Friday through Saturday, 4 pm to midnight