Restaurant number two visited during Portland Dining Month, Trader Vic’s in the Pearl district. I have walked by this restaurant on numerous occasions and the Tikis in the doorway and cool gas lights have always made me smile. Again my dinner partner and I ordered different things and split everything.
First course – Oregon Salad – roasted local beets, hazelnuts and goat cheese with blood orange vinaigrette and Char Siu Pork—kimchee-spiced cucumber salad. Again beets in a salad, LOVE IT. The hazelnuts were amazing on this salad, sweet and crunchy and the blood orange vinaigrette had a nice balance of sweet and tart and clung to the romaine lettuce. The char siu pork was tasty, smoky flavor from the signature oven all Trader Vic’s had and the cucumber kim-chee was crunchy, vinegary with good heat.
Second course – Roasted salmon – scallion-quinoa cake, caramelized shallot-bacon Brussels sprouts, lemon-dill butter and Eight-ounce Prime top sirloin – white truffle mashed potatoes, shitake mushroom ragout. I think the brussel sprouts were the best part of this dish, I could have eaten twice as many as they offered. The salmon was moist and the quinoa cake the salmon rested on was a great alternative to the “usual” type of starches. The steak was a bit more medium rare than the rare we ordered but it was flavorful and tender. The shitake mushrooms were incredible and a great compliment to the steak and mashed potatoes.
Third course – Mango-coconut cheesecake and Trader Vic’s Snowball. The snowball is vanilla ice cream covered with toasted coconut with a drizzle of chocolate sauce. This was a much more hearty dessert than I anticipated and loved the texture and chewiness of the coconut. The cheesecake was light and the mango puree…I could have licked the plate.
This was a great meal, the portions were generous and service was good. The kitschy South Seas decor was great to look at and you have to try some of their tropical cocktails. If you have having a hard time deciding, try the Mai Tai Wave. Guava was my favorite!