In 2013, with a rental kitchen at Northwest Portland’s KitchenCru, Holdfast bolted out of nowhere with a fresh vision of modern eating. It was casual, accomplished, tweezered on the spot, then handed across the dime-store counter to diners, accompanied by chatter about music and methods. Almost overnight, Holdfast’s improvisational Nordic-Oregon tasting menus vaulted into the top tier of Portland dining, and founder Will Preisch earned Portland Monthly’s tag as Rising Star Chef 2013. Eventually, Holdfast grew to three nights a week with diners scrambling for seats.
As Eat Beat reported in December, Preisch and his culinary co-pilot Joel Stocks have decided to ground their approach in new, nicer digs: the front room of Fausse Piste winery, the former home of Sauvage, at 537 SE Ash St. Now, they have an opening date: Holdfast will launch Feb. 12 and hold dinners four nights a week. On Thursdays only, they’re unveiling a six-course, $65 menu with wine pairings and interestingly, juice cocktails (get ready for the city’s first pine tip-infused mango juice). Friday, Saturday, and Sunday dinners shoot up to nine courses, $95. Menus change weekly.
In addition to a launch date, Holdfast is jumping into the collaboration biz. Preisch and Stocks will invite forward-thinking chef friends from Portland and beyond for 10-course feasts in which chefs alternate courses. Collaborations are, of course, a hallmark of Portland’s food scene, but given Holdfast’s modernist approach and the quality of guests (see below) this series may actually push some new food frontiers. Dinners are $125, with optional pairings and, of course, gratuity.
Here’s the Holdfast collaboration lineup so far:
Feb 26: Park Kitchen farm-to-table pioneer and Bent Brick owner Scott Dolich. “An obvious choice,” says Stocks. “Dolich is a mentor to both of us, and the whole reason we started working together.”
March 26: Le Pigeon’s Gabriel Rucker. Preisch got plenty of training and inspiration as a young cook at Le Pigeon. Watching the offbeat master and his student collaborate should be a treat.
April 28: Ataula’s Jose Chesa. A chance to get a deeper peek at the Catalan chef’s other side—he trained at France’s legendary L’Arpege and Spain’s influential Can Fabes.
First round of tickets goes on sale January 29, 8 pm. More information online.