We had the prettiest brunch at Beast! It's run by Naomi Pomeroy, a Food and Wine Best New Chef of 2009, and features lots of local ingredients, French techniques, and only two seatings daily. We drove extra quickly in from the coast to make the 10 AM Sunday slot and were surprised to find only ten or so other people in the restaurant.
The kitchen is totally open and takes up about a third of the room. That's the center kitchen island over on the left of the picture.
One of the things that we really enjoyed about Beast is that they serve a fixed menu that changes daily, "substitutions politely declined". Logan and I both like chefs with that kind of confidence/huge balls.
This means there are no decisions to be made, apart from what kind of drinks you want or if you want to do the wine pairing, which we absolutely did. We started out with a Renardat-Fache Bugey de Cerdon, which had a beautifully festive raspberry hue and a nice sweetness. The pours were extremely generous, especially at $20 for the entire pairing of four glasses!
Our first course was a bing cherry clafoutis (clafoutis! All together now!) with vanilla whipped cream and maple-glazed bacon.
I could appreciate that all the flavors were good here, but I'm just not one for sweets for breakfast, so this didn't do it for me. Interestingly, the cherries still had their pits. Sugar overload!
They went on to make me happy with the second course, though - Beast Hash with pork shoulder confit, red fingerling potatoes, summer squash and chard, with a dancing chicken farm poached egg and hollandaise.
With such a comprehensive-sounding ingredient list, I was surprised and happy to find edible flowers and a an oven-dried tomato on my dish. This was a divine hash, with small-diced vegetables cooked separately so they retained their unique flavors. And I can't tell you how amazing the hollandaise was!
Logan got a shot of a portion of the meticulous mise used to make this dish.
Next was a selection of Steve's cheese (I'm assuming here that Steve is their cheesebuyer or cheesemonger, because otherwise ew) with Gathering Together spring greens and aged sauvignon blanc vinaigrette.
And I lost my notes and have completely forgotten what the three cheeses were. You know what? I refuse to beat myself up about it. I WON'T. I think one was an Irish cheddar. Man, this was a long time ago. Almost three months. I don't want to hear it; people at Beast, if you're reading this, mail me some cheese and staple an info card to each piece. That should help.
It was really nice to have a salad, albeit an extremely lightly-dressed one. The variety of greens was pretty impressive to boot.
And what would brunch be without dessert? How about a lemon buttermilk souffle cake with summer berries?
Mine was a little overcooked, but Logan's was perfect (seriously face-lickingly perfect -LC). What nice, bright lemon flavor! We're partial to combinations of lemon and blueberry; that's what decorated our wedding cake. Smile.
Coffee! With contrasting latte art! We were wandering around the restaurant when the coffee was brought to the table, so the milk unfortunately went a little flat. Didn't affect the flavor, though.
I have to make a special note of the service at Beast. Our server was polite, on the ball, knowledgeable, and a total sweetheart to boot - when she found out we had a whole day in front of us in Portland, she wrote down a list of her favorite shops, neighborhoods, and restaurants. We had a really nice time chatting with her.
Even if your server doesn't have time to shoot the breeze with you, there are plenty of things to look at on the wall to keep you busy. There are quotes (hunger sriracha is the best sauce in the world), recipes (the one for creme fraiche dough was particularly appealing) and lists of the staff's favorite Portland establishments. I think you could do quite well by following their recommendations.
Thanks, Beast! Good food and good times.
Beast is located at 5425 NE 30th Avenue in Portland. 503.841.6968.