The word on the street is that former Carlyle chef Daniel Mondok
will soon vacate his gig as Executive Chef at the Pearl District Mediterranean restaurant Olea to open a new dining room called Sel Gris
on Southeast 19th Avenue and Hawthorne Boulevard—in the space next door to Starbucks and just a maple scone's throw from Castagna. We hear the restaurant will focus on salt service—gourmet varieties of trusty old sodium chloride. Mondok was unavailable for comment.
Like Scott Shampine
, the last chef to jump ship from Olea earlier this year, Mondok has serious credentials, having also worked at French Laundry in Napa as well as nearly two years as executive chef at stellar Carlyle in NW Portland. Despite a glut of cheap eateries along the 30-or-so blocks referred to as the Hawthorne District, there are very few fine dining establishments and the hood could use another. With Portland's army of food freaks geeking out on artisan salt, a “salt service”-oriented restaurant could be all the rage. Salt lick, anyone?