Saturday, February 9, 2008

Everett St. Bistro (Pearl)

So my favorite British couple, Sian and Matt, flew into Portland last night for a visit, and despite battling severe jet lag they bravely managed to drag themselves out of the Benson and into one of Everett Street Bistro's comfy chairs for a leisurely Saturday morning brunch in the Pearl District. For my part, I also bravely managed to drag my un-jetlagged but possibly slightly hungover self out of my Northwest apartment and into one of the aforementioned comfy chairs, where I ordered a black coffee and eyed the pretty pastries piled on the counter.

I suppose I'll just say up front that I've never been bowled over by the food here, rather I think Everett Street Bistro's greatest accomplishment is the atmosphere--it has a very cozy European feel about it with the white linen-covered tables, tiny bar, well-stocked cheese 'n charcuterie case, and pressed-tin ceiling. If I ignore the big shiny Hummers whizzing down NW Everett Street and the pasty North Face apparel-wrapped masses streaming past the restaurant's front windows, I can sort of pretend I'm back in a cafe on the rue de Seine. And every time I'm in Everett Street Bistro there's a decent-sized crowd, which adds to the conviviality.

This particular morning we dined on the Ham Scramble--Black Forest ham, Tillamook white cheddar, carmelized shallots; the Everett St. Benedict--Dungeness crabcakes, poached eggs, spinach and creole hollandaise; Grand Marnier French Toast--slabs of country-style bread soaked in Grand Marnier custard, and the Croque Monsieur--Black Forest ham, Gruyere and dijon topped with bechamel sauce. Nothing really made me cry oo-la-la, in hindsight I should have just taken the hair-of-the-dog route and had a few bellinis off ESB's well-stocked classic cocktail list. 

But while ESB's food lacks that certain je ne sais quoi, I still let my British friends lure me in there now and then because I enjoy the psuedo-European dining experience. So if like me, you're  longing for Paris in the Springtime but all life seems to be dishing up lately is Portland in the Endless Grip of Winter, either feng shui the Travel corner of your apartment and hope fervently to win that Dream Trip for Two to Italy contest you entered on the Gourmet magazine website yesterday ( on, PLEASE let me win one of these JUST ONCE!) or head to Everett Street Bistro.

Everett Street Bistro * 1140 NW Everett St. * * 503.467.4990 *ESB serves breakfast and lunch daily and dinner every night but Monday so you can get a bellini there pretty much any time, any day, with or without a British friend. Smashing! 

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