Vitaly Paley's cred with Portland’s foodies goes back to the mid '90s, when he opened Nob Hill eatery Paley's Place. With each new endeavor—Imperial, the Paley-supervised Hotel Lucia restaurant that launched celeb chef Doug Adams, Russian pop-up DaNet, the Heathman Hotel's Headwaters (and Tearoom), The Crown (which replaced Paley's Penny Diner)—Paley's star rose. (In 2005, the thrice-nominated chef finally won a much deserved James Beard Best Chef Northwest Award.)
Now, the chef turns his focus back to his original eatery. On June 12, Paley's Place debuted a new summer menu, featuring dishes like charred snap peas with basil aioli, seared Alaskan halibut with salsa verde, and a granita made with piña colada sorbet and rum-roasted pineapple.
The restaurant will also feature a bar menu—not seen at Paley's Place since the late '90s—and Friday and Saturday dinner specials. On a recent weekend, that meant a 30-ounce T-bone, dry-aged for 35 days. Another weekend, it might be what Paley calls a "not-so-classic" cassoulet with duck confit, heirloom beans, and house garlic sausage.
“It’s all about the evolution of Paley’s Place," he says. "Throughout the years we have evolved and reinvented ourselves, and this is part of the process of staying current, creative, and up with the trends of what people like to eat, and what we like to cook."
While Paley doesn't plan to revisit another '90s staple—lunch service—he's excited for the new bar dishes, available 5–11 p.m.
“Paley’s Place has been known as a good place for special occasions, but with this bar menu we want people know it’s just every day," he says. "They can just pop in for a sandwich and a glass of wine.”
The bar menu features several dishes that call to mind Paley’s formidable pop-up DaNet (currently on a summer hiatus)—cheese dumplings with a cucumber sour cream, summer vegetable crudité alongside seasonal dips—along with a resurrection of the Paley’s Reuben, a staple of the restaurant’s original lunch menu.
Not going anywhere? Classic Paley's Place dishes like the popular American wagyu beef tartare and escargot bordelaise with roasted marrow, brioche, and garlic.
This August, Paley also hopes to take the party outside, with a parking lot pig roast. (This won't be your average pig on the spit; Paley plans to roast one sourced from a cannabis-cultivating friend who feeds the animals trim and other hemp-y byproducts.)
“It’ll be a take on Portland’s alternative type of living, and we’re really excited," says the chef of his future Pot Pig Roast. "It’s going to be quite tasty.”