Corazón Preview Dinners


Chef Chris Israel Opens Urban Taqueria Boasting Authentic Mexican Cuisine Inspired by SoCal and Baja

corazonPORTLAND, ORE. – May 1, 2012 – This Cinco de Mayo, the party in Portland will undoubtedly be focused on the highly-anticipated opening of Corazón – the much-talked-about new Mexican restaurant venture masterminded by “one of Portland’s top talents” (The Oregonian) Chef Chris Israel – also of Grüner – in conjunction with local restaurant development gurus ChefStable Group. Vibrant Rosarito Beach in Baja meets the spirit and culture of San Quintin in Southern California at this one-of-a-kind eatery celebrating the very traditions of what the chef himself grew up eating. Spanish for “heart” and more endearingly for “darling,” Corazón is a unique take on the very best Mexican fare with a cooking style that steers light and fresh. The menu features traditional cooking with an emphasis on clean flavors, Pacific seafood and hints of Oaxacan cuisine. Common clichés have no place at Corazón. Whether enjoying composed yet playful plates in the main dining room or $3 tantalizing tacos, tequila and beer in the urban taqueria-style cantina, guests are sure to enjoy excellent food while feeling effortlessly embraced by Mexican culture in a new way.

For a true taste of the new dinner menu, Corazón will offer two preview options from Thursday, May 10 to Saturday, May 12. The Gold is a six-course meal with unlimited drinks from the Corazón beverage menu for $80, and the Silver is a five-course meal with two beverages (choice of beer, sangria, or house margarita) for $50. For more information and to sign up for the preview dinners, click here:

The à la carte dinner menu includes myriad offerings to please the palate with fresh Mexican flavors. Nibbles like Fried Hominy and Tostones or straightforward starters like Albondigas Soup and fresh salads are a perfect pre-dinner bite. Pacific seafood abounds with dishes like Aguachile of Alaskan Spot Prawns and Warm Octopus with potatoes, lemon-infused olive oil and smoked paprika. Hearty combination plates allow for a mix-and-match of favorites like Enchiladas Suizas, Chile Relleno, and Tamales while Fish Tacos and Dungeness Crab Tostaditos also burst with flavor. Bold entrees include Pescado “Contramar” with Red Chile and Green Parsley Sauces, and house specialties impress whether a classic Pozole or Menudo with pork or tripe and hominy stew or braised Baby Goat in a fiery red chile sauce. The cantina menu offers assorted $3 tacos including pollo, carne asada, carnitas, barbacoa, tinga and mushroom. Small plates include oyster shots with pickled chiles, tostones and queso fundido as well as mouthwatering staples such as guacamole, taquitos, and salsa. With draft beers, tequila shots and the classic Michelado at just $3 and cocktails from $6-$10 like refreshing margaritas and seasonal sangrias to classic cuba libres and caiphirinias, no one will leave Corazón thirsty.

The Corazón space is split into two – the main dining room and a lively cantina, each with seating for 55 – separated by a decorative transparency. Both areas boast a modern décor where guests will be greeted with vibrant color and design including a theme of ombre expressed on thick rope, blown glass pendants by Esque studio, mosaic high-top tables, a large community bar table with ceramic tile detail, hanging basket lights, tufted leather banquettes and fir wood tables. Located inside the West End’s twelve|west (or “Indigo”) building in the space formerly occupied by Pinot American Brasserie, Corazón also shares its cavernous space with ChefStable Group’s other new business venture: a yet-to-be-named, 80-person private dining room space allowing clients to host private events catered by its partner chefs.

Led by Chef Christopher Israel, the Corazón opening team also includes General Manager Claudio Aramburu, Bar Manager Brian Gilbert, and Pastry Chef Clare Gordon. Situated at 1205 SW Washington Street in downtown Portland, the restaurant will open for dinner only. Main dining room hours of operation: 5:00pm to 9:30pm (Sunday through Thursday) and 5:00pm to 10:30pm (Friday and Saturday). 21 and over at all times, cantina hours of operation: 4:00pm to 11:00pm (Sunday through Thursday) and 4:00pm to midnight (Friday and Saturday). Once launched (date still TBD), lunch will be available seven days a week from 11:30am to 2:00pm. At that time, the cantina will be open all day from 11:30am to close. For more information, visit or call 503-241-1133.

A fifth generation San Diegan of Mexican-American descent, James Beard Award–nominated chef and restaurateur Chef Christopher Israel has some 30 years of culinary experience and is well-respected for his refined cuisine and stellar restaurants. Inspired by his family’s authentic home cooking, he started cooking at a young age and never looked back. With early stints including the Maître D’ role at Square One Restaurant under the tutelage of Joyce Goldstein, Israel moved to Portland in 1989 and opened his first restaurants – Zefiro in 1990 and Saucebox in 1995 – to rave reviews; still ranking as the only two-time winner of The Oregonian’s “Restaurant of the Year” commendation. Despite taking a six-year break from the kitchen to pursue his love for art and design at Vanity Fair magazine in New York, he returned to the Portland restaurant scene with the renowned 23Hoyt in 2006 then soon opened much-loved eatery Grüner and its bar KASK. With unrivaled regional recognition, Chris has been covered in top publications including The New York Times, Gourmet, Bon Appétit and USA Today and has been nominated for a James Beard Award in the “Best Chef Northwest” category in 2011 and 2012.