Relish Gastropub's Crowd-Pleasing Fare

Chef Josef Valoff brings hand-cut noodles and a killer burger to a former funeral parlor in Westmoreland.

By Benjamin Tepler August 1, 2013 Published in the August 2013 issue of Portland Monthly

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Canary rockfish and mussel stew

Any place that can appeal to beer geeks while simultaneously charming your grandmother is doing something right. Meet Relish Gastropub. Chef about town Josef Valoff blends seasonal know-how with stylish comforts, fresh pasta, and, not least, a killer burger, alongside Oregon’s best brews and 27 wines by the glass. Downtown, this might be just another solid haunt—but in Westmoreland, it’s a real find. 

Gone is the eccentric indie aesthetic of previous tenant the Woods, a beloved music venue that inhabited this former funeral home from 2009 to 2012. Relish’s remodeled space rises with an understated appeal, all muted walls, squat black-leather booths, and pale wood. During summer, regulars gravitate toward the two sun-flooded outdoor patios. 

Valoff, a Serrato and Noisette alum, has a way with hand-cut noodles. Watch for tagliatelle in thick, toothsome ribbons festooned around morsels of smoked trout and fatty pork belly. Salads are tame but full of seasonal gusto, dressed in thick tomatillo purée and sided by homemade fennel crackers. You want that burger, with its cloak of sweet onion jam and dreamy Cacio di Roma sheep’s milk cheese. 

The daily “Social Hour,” from 3 to 6 p.m., hosts flavor-packed bites, perhaps mussels in chile broth or chimichurri-laden asparagus, and the bar shakes creative twists on cocktail classics. This is food and drink that anyone can enjoy: elegant, accessible, and a safe distance from Portland’s unrelenting Edison bulbs and pig parts. 

Valoff is bringing creativity and fresh energy to a culinary landscape that has evolved little since this building’s days as a funeral parlor. It’s about time for a change.

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