News to Chew

Bar Casa Vale's New Restaurant, Suttle Lodge's Chef Series, and More PDX Food News

… including Sammich on Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives, a new bar from notable drink man Tommy Klus and the ongoing national discussion over that Thrillist review of Stanich's.

By Benjamin Tepler December 3, 2018

Last year's Suttle Lodge dinner series

Image: Natalie Puls

Suttle Lodge announces its Winter Chef Series lineup for 2019 

For its third annual Winter Chef Series, Suttle Lodge focuses back in on Portland-based chefs, winemakers, and food artisans. Things kick off on January 26 with St. Jack’s Aaron Barnett (see below) and Tyson Crowley of Crowley Wines, and ends on April 13 with a Pok Pok Thai New Year from Andy Ricker. In between? Some of the city’s top talents, including Ben Bettinger (Laurelhurst Market), Justin Woodward and sommelier Brent Braun (OK Omens and Castagna), and Eric Jophy (Olympia Provisions). Nothing sounds better to us than eating Andy Ricker’s Thai food in the middle of a rainy forest. For the full lineup, check out Suttle’s website.

Sammich featured on Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives

Foul-mouthed brisket commander Melissa McMillan, chef-owner at Sammich, one of Portland Monthly's 2018 Restaurants of the Year, will star on Guy Fieri's Food Network show Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives this Friday, December 7, at 9 p.m. This is the third time Fieri and McMillan have appeared on television together. Historically, Fieri's particular brand of publicity can drive tourists for years (Country Cat, we're looking at you). "You can expect that Guy and I have a gay ole time!" teases McMillan.  

Bar Casa Vale team to open seafood-focused sister restaurant

The team behind one of Portland Monthly’s 2017 Restaurants of the Year is launching Erizo, a tiny, 20-seat Spanish prix fixe restaurant focused on local, sustainable seafood. Bar Casa Vale’s executive chef, Jacob Hearth, and former St. Jack chef de cuisine Nicholas Van Eck will run the small menu, with a blessing from Nate Tilden, restaurateur extraordinaire behind BCV, Olympia Provisions, and Clyde Common. The menu calls for 15 courses of by-catch and invasive seafood species for maximum sustainability (purple sea urchin from Port Orford, and octopus and wolf eel from Garibaldi). Beyond seafood, expect “vegetables and grains prepared simply over fire.” Can an exclusively local, über-sustainable seafood program work in Portland? We’ll find out when it opens inside the former Biwa office/fermentation space (215 SE 9th Ave) later this winter.

Whiskey pro Tommy Klus to open Scotch Lodge

Right next door to Erizo, Tommy Klus (known for helping stock the bars at Multnomah Whiskey Library and La Moule, which he co-owns) will launch Scotch Lodge, a tightly curated whiskey-focused bar and eatery inside the old Biwa restaurant space. The Oregonian is the first to report that Klus will partner up with Aaron Barnett, chef at St. Jack and La Moule, to cook French-modern, vegetable-focused food that pairs well with the house muse. Early blueprints call for wagyu rib-eye with button porcini, black garlic, and lemon, and a local fried cod sandwich with sauce gribiche and pickles on Japanese milk bread. As for the bar itself, Klus apparently culls inspiration from Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea with a "palette of dark blues and greens." Look for Scotch Lodge to open “early next year.”

Thrillist’s Stanich saga continues to garner national attention

ICYMI: List-making mogul Thrillist declared Stanich’s burger “The Best in America” back in 2017. The Fremont neighborhood restaurant closed shortly thereafter. Second-generation Stanich's owner Steve Stanich told the Oregonian in a January 2018 interview: “It's been the worst thing that's ever happened to us,” citing the overwhelming crowds of visiting tourists. In November, Thrillist writer Kevin Alexander penned yet another story about Stanich's titled “I Found the Best Burger Place in America. And Then I Killed It,” a mea culpa in which he visits Steve Stanich to find out what happened, and apologizes for being so careless with his list-making. The story was picked up by everyone from the Forbes to NPR as an ethical discussion of a critic's responsibility. On November 28, Willamette Week Arts & Culture Editor Matthew Singer did a deep dive into court records, finding that Stanich was on probation for domestic assault, and that he had violated that probation several times over the years—potentially the real reason his restaurant was forced to close. Did Alexander gloss over serious domestic assault claims to serve his own hubris? Was it his responsibility to do deeper reporting on a big listicle about burgers? Read New Yorker writer Helen Rosner’s take on the ethical fallout right here.

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