Davenport Goes Pop-Up: Five Nights, Five Chefs, Five Menus

Chefs from Le Pigeon to Biwa join a cast of guest cooks ready to transform East Burnside’s humble house of fine food and wine into an incubator of culinary fun for one week only.

By Karen Brooks January 21, 2015

Le Pigeon’s chef de cuisine Andrew Mace and pastry chef Nora Antene

Portland’s food scene keeps morphing in surprising ways. Is anyone not launching a pop-up, exploring a culinary alter-ego, or letting friends and inmates rule the dining room for an evening? Now, even Kurt Heilemann, the shy wine lord of Davenport (one of Portland Monthly’s Best Restaurants 2014), is joining the fun.

Next week, perfectionist chef Kevin Gibson will be out of town. What’s a two-man kitchen to do? Turn the kitchen into a pop-up incubator for the week. As Heilemann puts it: “We’re going to have a bit of fun while Kevin is away. I’m getting a bunch of friends to come in each night and take over the place.”

The line-up runs from a modern tasting menu from two Le Pigeon talents to a la carte Japanese comforts from Biwa owners Gabe Rosen and Kina Voelz. On all nights, selections from Davenport’s wine list, one of Portland’s best and deep in value-driven finds and off-the-strada Italian bottles, should double the pleasure.  

Here’s the line-up:

Tuesday, Jan. 27: “Seafood-driven coastal bistro menu” from Screen Door chef Dan Grill, Gibson’s former right-hand man at the cult spot, Evoe. “No reservations, everything a la carte, just fun and great food,” says Heilemann.

Wednesday, Jan 28:  A 7-course, modern American tasting menu by Le Pigeon’s chef de cuisine Andrew Mace and pastry chef Nora Antene. The dinner is the next step in the couple’s occasional dinner series, Limited Co. Early dinners were small and way off the grid. Mace tells Eat Beat this is a chance to test out a real restaurant, with reservations and 50 seats. Ingredients will tell the pair’s story here, from steelhead “caught by a friend, aged in cedar, and served raw” to ancestral kamut wheat, grown by Mace’s Montana family for generations, showcased here in a bread course with honey butter. $80 (without wine or gratuity); reservations at [email protected] or 503-236-8747.

Thursday, Jan 29: Paul Bachand, owner/chef of Newberg’s popular Recipe teams with St. Jack waiter (and former chef) Jason Logan for a 4-course menu, $55 per person, with seatings tentatively scheduled at 6 p.m. and 8:15. Check Davenport for details. 

Friday: Jan, 30: Small plates, surprising wines from Kurt Heilemann and Davenport sous chef Jacob Harth. Heilemann is known as the wine guy. But he’s also a kitchen talent with his own growing word-of-mouth pop-up at Oui Presse once a month on SE Hawthorne. On Friday, he’ll sneak into the kitchen again. “This is the true idea of when the cat is away,” say Heilemann. “We’ll be playing with friends for the night and see how much trouble we can get into. There will definitely be a deviled egg plate, a fried oyster “potato salad,” some grilled octopus, and house pasta. Not a tapas night, but smaller and more playful than the usual fare. There will also be a few fun bottles open for the night ... ”

Sat. Jan 31: Momma Pappa Izakaya night from Biwa owners Gabe Rosen and Kina Voelz, as they finalize plans on their upcoming new ramen shop, Noraneko. The walk-in-only a la carte menu will swing easily from sashimi to grilled fish (sand dabs to sardines), cauliflower “steak” to a T-bone pork chop, and a collection of Japanese home comforts like Hokkaido cream stew and nikujaba (meat and potatoes). Mostly, adds Heilemann, “they swore that it will be a night that we won't forget.”  

2215 E Burnside St.
Reservations: [email protected] or call 503-236-8747.
Details and menus at:

Filed under
Show Comments