Sometimes when I’m stuck lucky to be in a long boring enthralling meeting at work, I play the “If You Could Only Eat One Thing Until The End of Time, What Would It Be?” game. Coming in a close second to “spoonfuls of melted Valrhona,” is the Park Kitchen flank steak salad. Always on the menu, probably because there would be a revolt and possibly a few bocce balls through the front window if they took it off, it’s the perfect meal–a combination of tender strips of flank steak gently mixed with blue cheese, parsley, and sherried onions. It’s exactly the sort of dish Executive Chef Scott Dolich excels at–simple, true to the ingredients, and relentlessly flavorful.
The Park Kitchen flank steak salad is exactly the sort of dish Executive Chef Scott Dolich excels at–simple, true to the ingredients, and relentlessly flavorful. It’s always on the menu, probably because there would be a revolt and possibly a few bocce balls through the front window if they took it off.
A perennial neighborhood favorite, Park Kitchen is tucked into an attractively remodeled historic building along the tree-swathed North Park Blocks, across from the popular bocce ball courts that often fill with diners awaiting their table on a warm Saturday evening.
Classy, intimate, and uncompromisingly devoted to the quality and sourcing of ingredients and flawless but nonpretentious preparations, Park Kitchen is a longtime Portland dining scene favorite. The menu is divided into small hot plates, small cold plates, and large plates, and since variety is the spice of life and all, and you aren’t actually in the position of having to choose just one food to eat until the end of time, you may want to accompany your flank steak salad with the crispy duck blini with peas and lavender, pork three ways with gooseberries and fennel, and sherry soused spinach, 8 minute eggs and hazelnuts.
Dessert’s more fun than a gaggle of old Italian men playing bocce, so don’t pass up the opportunity to try the rhubarb-cashew crisp with coconut ice cream or the chocolate toast, stout sabayon and fresh raspberries.
Cuisine: New American
Executive Chef: Scott Dolich
Chef de Cuisine: David Padberg
Atmosphere: The space is cozy, colorful, classic but sophisticated, with a nice buzz
Outdoor seating: Yes, when the weather is nice Park Kitchen rolls the front window up, and puts out a row of tables in front of the restaurant, overlooking the beautiful North Park Blocks
Best Seat: Kitchen watchers will want to sit in the back dining room so they can view the kitchen team work. I love to sit in the front dining room window, and on a nice day there's no better choice than an outdoor table.
Noise Level: The front room is normal, back room (by kitchen) can get very loud
Bathrooms: Back of the restaurant and go past the kitchen to your left, just down the hallway
Parking: Parking is metered (Mon-Sat 8am-7pm, Sun 1-7pm) and generally easy to find unless there's a special event in the Pearl.
Cocktails: Yes, fantastic cocktails, and traditional absinthe service with water back
Wine: Excellent wine list, by the bottle ($25-$125) and glass ($8-$15)
Sake: By the glass, $5-$9
Coffee: Caffe Umbria
Ideal Meal: Flank steak salad, any of the soups, crispy duck blini, halibut with hominy
Vegetarian Friendly: Yes
Vegan Friendly: Let the kitchen know about your veganism, they are very inventive and can likely hook you up
Good for the following occasions: Romantic Date, Special and Splurgey, Out With Friends, Dining Alfresco
Group/Private Party Details: I’ve managed to squeeze a party of 12 into the main dining room. Park Kitchen also has a beautiful private event space adjoining the restaurant, with big glass windows looking out over the North Park blocks, space for 16-35 (seated) and its own kitchen. Call for more information. This space makes a great spot for a work party and can book up fast around the holidays, so call early.
Reservations: Yes, call or go on OpenTable