Have you ever wanted to cleanse your palate with rum and bitter melon after demolishing a platter of pig's ear nachos?
Deadshot started effectively as a "pop-up within a pop-up" inside Holdfast Dining almost two years ago. This May, it moved into its own digs—the former site of hip-hop-themed pizza joint P.R.E.A.M.—and expanded hours to seven nights a week. The clientele is a runway show of Portland fashion, in a warehouse-chic setting. Chefs Will Preisch and Joel Stocks continue to deliver the modernist bar food from the adjacent Holdfast kitchen, but Robinson's cocktails are so good they often taken center stage, which is saying something.
Generally, I wince at drink menus peppered with $14 cocktails, but not when they're a complete experience like this. The Crystal Daiquiri ($12) was shocking: It arrived crystal-clear, the result of clarifying lime juice with a centrifuge. Featuring three rums, it was equal parts strong and refreshing, and had an extra-soft texture.
For his next trick, Robinson created the illusion of coldness using Branca Menta in the Braveheart ($14). Speaking over the bartop, Robison said the libation was partly inspired by someone at Burning Man, who'd wanted "to create a refreshing cocktail to carry around in a CamelBak." The cocktail arrived undiluted and at room temperature in a cabernet wine glass. On the nose, huge botanical aromatics; on the palate, a brilliant citrus climax.
And the food? It continues to do just what it's supposed to: provide a glimpse into Holdfast's irreverent gastronomy through the lens of affordable bar food. Begin with those pig's ear nachos ($13) and the Surf & Turf eggs ($5)—a single egg cut in half, its two sides filled with smoked cod and foie gras mousse, respectively. And if you want to skip the cocktails, you can always grab a $3 tallboy of Rainier or Miller High Life.