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Dana Frank and Jane Smith

Image: Jenna Winkler

As Eat Beat first reported in March, Dana Frank, the award-winning wine director and former general manager of Ava Gene’s, will open Dame, a temple to natural wines on Northeast Killingsworth this summer. Now, Frank and partner Jane Smith tell us they’ve picked a chef to match their ambitious wine program: Eli Dahlin, a Seattle chef with serious chops. 

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Eli Dahlin, Dame's soon-to-be head chef. 

Dahlin spent time working for restaurateur Ethan Stowell at his How to Cook a Wolf, and as the head pastry man for the entire Stowell restaurant group. Next, he spent four years as chef de cuisine at celebrated the Walrus and the Carpenter, run by James Beard award-winning Renee Erickson. Most recently, he was executive chef at buzzy Damn the Weather, near Seattle’s Pioneer Square. 

Details are still sketchy, but Frank says the menu will have lots of vegetables, whole grains, fish, and house-baked breads with a Mediterranean and Eastern European influence. Says Frank: “We’re looking forward to planning a menu that’s suited for these sometimes challenging wines.” Sam Smith, the former chef de cuisine at Ava Gene’s, will phase out his role as menu consultant as he readies to open Tusk on East Burnside.

When will Portland’s first all-natural wine-focused restaurant open? Frank says she’s aiming for August. Check back for opening details in the coming weeks.  

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