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October 19th, 2005 RICHARD H. MEEKER | Food Reviews & Stories
 

Restaurant Guide 2005

     
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We've spent a small fortune recently trying to make sense of this wildly erratic but elegant eatery that not long ago was a serious candidate for Restaurant of the Year. The salt-cod fritters with malt vinegar remain a delight, as do the tempura-style green beans. And some mains simply soar—witness the warm duck salad with green beans and fingerlings or the Berkshire pork, mustard-seed potato salad and watermelon sauce (think of a picnic on a single plate). When Park Kitchen sings, it's in its daring marriage of flavors: A recent beet salad with pickled onions and watermelon worked perfectly with its mix of tart and sweet sensations. All too often, though, the matchmaking taking place in chef Scott Dolich's kitchen seems thoughtless. Worse, some ingredients seem of poor quality (two recent lamb dishes have been, well, unusual) and the preparation itself can be careless (a piece of black cod arrived at the table barely cooked). To top it all off, service, while friendly and knowledgeable, can be woeful: You never know how long it will be before the first course—and subsequent dishes—arrive. It's unclear what's happened at this place that once seemed emblematic of the energy and inspiration of Portland's vivid restaurant scene. (RHM)

 
  • Currently 3.5/5 Stars.
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