Cuisine(s)
Middle Eastern, Pacific Northwest
Price Scale
$$
Description

Tusk blasted into Portland this summer like a shot of vitamin D, a breezy, glass-walled, feel-good-rocking California dream even a shaggy-sweatered Portlander could embrace. Hanging over the bar, the restaurant’s muse says it all: a Speedo-clad Keith Richards, back-floating in a pool. The mode is spiritually Middle Eastern, freethinking in form, and deep in Oregon farm connections. The kitchen’s daily-changing salads, lamb tartares, and rose-petaled feta plates reveal the antidote to Portland’s usual blood sausage/mac and cheese gout aesthetic: healthy, visual, super-fresh, and super-local. Hummus is shockingly light, like garbanzo whipped cream. Oven-fresh whole-grain pita tastes like the missing link between buttered wheat toast and pizza char. Pig? It’s relegated to a mere three inches of a hibachi skewer. At Tusk, meat is but a nibble, a garnish. Chef/co-owner Sam Smith is exciting, his thinking modern but free of deconstructions and foams, powered by shockwaves of whole spices. And he’s just getting started.

Meal Times
Brunch, Dinner, Late Night
Good to Know
Outdoor Dining, Reservations
Good For
Conversation, Date Night
Location