Chef Vitaly Paley and his wife have crafted this unique restaurant along the gritty throws of Northwest 21st Avenue in Portland. We ended up there last evening for LoverBoy's birthday meal. Unbeknownst to him, I'd had an unexpected conversation the prior evening with a friend who just happened to mention Paley's Place to me....and how much she enjoyed it. LoverBoy had asked me not to do anything for him for his special day. So, loving the sense of tingling and excitement that comes from being told what to, or not, to do, I did it anyway. I made reservations at Paley's Place. Perhaps it was the $800 bottle of wine on the menu that piqued my interest....and not my pocketbook. Here is my review posted on Yelp this morning:
"Oh, what a night! (You remember the song, don't you??). You'll see that I seldom give the illustrious 5-stars...but this one gets it. We ventured here based on a recommendation from a friend, just the night before. It was a birthday for us......so I emailed a reservation request. (I'm not sure if they are on Open Table or not but that would be convenient...). They returned my call and we arrived at 6pm. We left just after 8. No rush, zero intent to get us out of there. This is NOT Applebee's cousin, I must add. We felt spoiled, treated well. The waiter (Colin) took whatever time we needed -- to explain anything on the menu, to chat about his history, our history, the restaurant, food, life, weather. It was 100% full shortly after we arrived. It is an old Victorian home.....two smaller dining rooms and a cute little bar sits in between. The porch along the front of the home will draw you in nicely....especially in BOTH of those good months of nice weather we have here in Portland. Paley's Place definitely demanded more from our bank account than we hardly ever dish out....as exemplified by the $800 bottle of wine on the menu. But I was not opposed to it for this special occasion -- and because the service, atmosphere, and food were absolutely spot-on. The muted, rich colors, lighting, artwork and fabrics lended to a warm atmosphere. Being a veggie guy, that can be a challenge -- but Colin went right down the menu explaining what could be done veggie and how things could easily be adapted. I enjoyed the white bean vegetable cassoulet with butter leaf salad with crispy onions and homemade ranch dressing. May I just mention that the second half of the cassoulet is on today's lunch menu for me -- perhaps I should spin the hands on the clock forward now. My partner enjoyed one of the 3-5 items on the menu that change daily -- stuffed and rolled pork tenderloin with a horseradish and Dijon flair. And the Sweet Potato soup -- like velvet, warm, rich, savory. A French Rose' and fresh lime gin gimlet began the meal. Pear Brandy and cognac ended it. Along with Meyer lemon pudding cake with Madjool Dates and a warm, dark chocolate tasty treat with homemade ice cream. Holy smokes my eyes are puffy this morning. And my muffin top has been embellished.
P.S.--Chef Vitaly Paley is featured on Iron Chef America this Sunday April 17, 2011......Will he earn the title?!"
You'll be able to watch Chef Vitaly Paley this coming Sunday night April 17, 2011, on the Food Network in Iron Chef America......we've got it on our calendars!