The only difficult thing about doing a review of such a place as Clarklewis, is coming up with catchy observations about sauces and seasonings, texture and flavors. The thing is, the food is so well prepared, and so fresh, it kind of just seems like it’s how food should be — all the time. Alas, we all know that’s not the case.
It’s much easier to be critical of things done wrong, than things done right. So what can we say? Go there, eat everything, you’ll love it? That makes for a pretty short review. People are much more likely to make note of what they didn’t like. When you’re happy, there’s no reason to complain, or comment. But, we’re publishing a magazine, and doing a series on bad restaurants just doesn’t seem like a wise business direction.
So let’s see, besides the food being totally awesome, what is there…
Bruce Carey runs a collection of fantastic eateries in Portland, and we’re working our way through them. One observation is that there seems to be a definite formula. Something like great food + great interior design + great service = great restaurant. Seems easy, but for many, not so much. They have it so down at Clarklewis, it seems easy, unforced, and your dining experience goes off without a hitch. The servers are constantly attentive, but never hovering, the kitchen staff, who are all on display right as you walk in, work like a well oiled (olive oiled?) machine, and seem to be having a good time doing it. And the wood fired oven, provides a warm ambiance and even provides a little smokey hint – like camping, but with way better food. Fun, and so Northwest.
The website (www.clarklewispdx.com) touts “exquisite farm to table ingredients,” we concur. It’s all good. The artisan cheeses, local meats and produce, and the pasta, ah the pasta, all so good. If there’s one thing we can single out to recommend, it’s the vanilla bean crème brûleé – have that for sure!
Reservations are highly recommended
1001 se water avenue at taylor- portland
Lunch from 11:30 am to 2:00 pm, Mon – Fri.
Happy Hour from 4:30 to 6:30 pm, Mon – Sat.
Dinner from 5:30 to 9:00 pm, Mon – Thur.
Dinner from 5:30 to 10:00 pm, Fri – Sat.
Closed on Sundays.