Clarklewis

Inconspicuously tucked into a former warehouse on SE Water Avenue, backed by the Willamette and sharing the still rather gritty neighborhood with a scant number of other intrepid eateries like Olympic Provisions, Bunk Bar and Montage, Clarklewis is much like the tents in Harry Potter—not much to look at from the outside, but opening up into something that’s a little magical.

Clarklewis is much like the tents in Harry Potter—not much to look at from the outside, but opening up into something that’s a little magical.

The only evidence that a fine dining experience awaits behind the huge glass-paneled floor to ceiling doors (which roll up in warm weather to let a breeze flow through the restaurant) is a discreet glimpse of white tablecloths. The long narrow dining room is sleek and comfortable, a humming open kitchen complete with wood-fired oven and the woodpile to go with it at one end, a glammy little bar tucked into the other end, glossy polished concrete floors and flickering tea lights aplenty in between.

Chef Dolan Lane’s upscale yet rustic cuisine showcases local ingredients, with standout dishes like a Viridian Farms asparagus salad with wild sorrel and hazelnuts in a porcini vinaigrette, ravioli with roasted Groundworks beets and fresh ricotta, and hearth roasted pork shoulder with Bluebird Farm farro and braised fennel.

Happy hour is a superb value, with $5 cocktails and wines and food specials ranging from $1-$5, so even if you’ve naught but a wrinkly $10 bill in your wallet, you’ll eat and drink quite well.

Details

Cuisine: New American

Executive Chef: Dolan Lane

Atmosphere: Stylish, contemporary, old warehouse-cum-glammy candlelit dinner den. Filled with folks that are as stylish/edgy as the surroundings, well-behaved families, dressed up couples out for a night on the town, a few hipster-chic couples sipping cocktails.

Outdoor seating: Not technically, but when the roll-up doors are open, the tables along the edge feel as though they are outdoors

Best Seat: I always sit in the bar, but if you sit closer to the open kitchen you get great views of the staff in action. If you choose a table by the rollup windows, you'll enjoy a lovely breeze when they are rolled up in fair weather.

Noise Level: Can get boisterous when full, not for the hard of hearing

Bring the Kids: No

Bathrooms: Yes, they are shared with the rest of the building, so go out the glass door along the back wall midway between the bar and kitchen, turn right, go down the hall, you’ll see them on your right a little ways down.

Parking: Free on the street and out front in marked spots

Cocktails: Yes, full bar and excellent speciality cocktails ($8-$10), great selection of scotch, bourbon, whiskey, vodka & aperitifs.

Beer: Yes, a few draught and a half dozen or so bottled beers ($5) Drinks menu here.

Wine: Yes, extensive selection of by the glass ($8-$10), half-bottles ($31-$64), and bottle ($31-$150), French, Italian, Spanish, German, Austrian and plenty of West Coast (CA, OR, WA) wines, see the menu here: Red Wine, White Wine

Corkage: $20 per 750mL

Teetotalers: Housemade lemonade & coolers, soda, iced tea

Coffee: Caffe Vita

Tea: Steven Smith

Ideal Meal: Grilled Monterey Bay calamari, tagliatelle with lamb ragu, semolina-dusted Alaskan halibut, double chocolate ice cream cake

Vegetarian Friendly: Yes

Vegan Friendly: Yes

Good for the following occasions: Romantic Date, Glammy Girls Night, Family Dinner, Impress The Client

Group/Private Party Details: clarklewis can accommodate larger parties both within the dining room and their private event space, call for more details.

Reservations: Yes, call or go on OpenTable

Take-Out: Yes

Deals: Daily three course blue plate lunch special, $13