Simply Fed

By Camas Davis May 19, 2009 Published in the June 2006 issue of Portland Monthly

A whole roasted lamb lies on the counter, waiting to be carved. It’s been cooking on a rotisserie all day, and the skin is crisp and golden. You can see it because the kitchen is right there in the open, next to the long, communal tables that have been set up for the three dozen of us who’ve snagged seats for tonight’s feast. We’ve already polished off plates of asparagus and poached egg, and lentil soup with rabbit sausage is on the way.

While we sup, John Gorham—who along with Benjamin Dyer and Jason Owens makes up the mighty triumvirate behind Viande Meats & Sausage, Simpatica Catering and Simpatica Dining Hall, where we sit tonight—lovingly slices into the lamb, which will be accompanied by creamed spinach and pommes boulangères and followed by strawberry-rhubarb cobbler.

With so many memorable flavors, it’s dismaying to think that we’ll have to wait another week until we can dine here again. On weekdays, the Simpatica trio uses the space for private events, so we’ll have to tap our fingers until next Saturday or Sunday, when the space will once again become a public, reservations-only supper club (menus are announced by e-mail). But if we can’t secure a spot, there’s always Simpatica’s walk-in Sunday brunch—think fried chicken and waffles.

Truthfully, though, the lamb was so divine that if I can’t get a seat at Simpatica again, I’ll be almost as content just to savor the memory of it. Almost—except they’re roasting a suckling pig next weekend.