Days stretched into months; months into years. A noteworthy chef came and went before the restaurant even opened. The opening of Tastebud 2.0 has been like Waiting for Godot. But as of October 21, it’s official. Mark Doxtader, a wood-fired pioneer, bagel-meister supreme and farmers market pizza star, has finally opened the doors to his Kickstarter-funded Multnomah Village spot at 7783 SW Capitol Hwy.
Early weeks had two hour-long waits for a pizza-intensive menu backed by lusty, whole roasted chickens nestled in sweet onion and potato-chunked gravy, and sided by a small collection of flame-fired vegetables and modest but well-chosen beers and wines. The intimate room—a far cry from the eyesore of Doxtader’s first experiment on SE Milwaukie in 2008—houses a tiny bar, soft lighting and at the heart of it all, a 72-inch Mugnaini wood oven.
Choose from seven pizzas, clad in impressively burly, smoky crusts, priced for the times, $14-24, with offbeat seasonal toppings and extra options, like fresh lamb sausage or four farm eggs. On a recent visit, the Autumn Harvest pizza brought together an unexpected butternut squash puree below charred, whole radicchio leaves, an idea marred only by sweet crème fraiche where tang was needed. Another pie, with poblano peppers, ricotta, mozzarella, cilantro, and shiitake mushrooms was admirable but unremarkable.
The real find so far is a Caesar-style kale salad headed for cult status, beautifully tossed in creamy garlic dressing, Tastebud’s bagel croutons, and a blizzard of Parmesan. And, true to his track record, Doxtader is pulling wonderful desserts out of the oven, including a terrific apple galette with a chunk of soft ricotta for smearing.
Doxtader, a rabid seasonalist, is just stoking the flames. I’m eager to see what he’ll be pulling out of the oven in the coming months, with a flame-kissed brunch in the works.
7783 SW Capitol Hwy
Wed – Sun, 4 -10 PM