The Painted Lady, Newberg, Oregon

August 22, 2017

The Painted Lady is in a restored Victorian house at the edge of downtown Newberg in the heart of the Willamette Valley pinot noir country. Linda and I went for dinner on July 23, 2017.

The dining room is decorated with old fashioned taste and romantic lighting that made my photos somewhat dark.

Everyone is served the same nine-course menu, although one can choose to have just five of them. We skipped an apéritif as we had already enjoyed ours at The Black Walnut Inn, where we stayed for three nights. (St. Innocent Chardonnay we had bought at their tasting room that morning.) Wine pairings are offered, but we chose to have a bottle of 2004 Sokol Blosser Dundee Pinot Noir.

This was superb. They told us that 2004 was an exceptional year.

The meal started with

In the middle are smoked oyster mushrooms with parmesan. House made crackers and hummus with red pepper. Cucumber with salmon roe.

Local Fig Stuffed with Pistachio, Oats,  and Bauman  Farms Honey, Fig Vinegar Gel, Chicharron, Espelette

The pistachio-stuffed fig and the very crisp fried pork rind made a nice contrasting pair sparked up by the various garnishes.

Miso Custard
Dungeness Crab, Pickled Red Onion,
Edamame, Sesame Powder, Dashi

In Japan this would be a chawanmushi, a regular part of multicourse meals. The crab made it good.

Sourdough rolls made with candied lemon zest and anise seeds.


Ricotta and Sorrel Stuffed Pyramidelli
Roasted Sunchoke, Fava Pesto, Honey Foam,
Whey Broth, and Toasted Walnuts

Complexity and unusual combinations were a constant theme in this meal. It usually worked surprisingly well, but not in this mish-mash.

Charred Eggplant
Tasso Ham, Patty Pan Squash,
Shiitake Mushroom, Umami Broth

The charred eggplant slice on the bottom was particularly good and was nicely enhanced by the other ingredients. The ham shard added good substance to what could have been an ordinary vegetable dish.

Golden Halibut
Pea Purée, Mushrooms, Scarlet Queen Turnips,
Olive Oil Jam, Squash Pavé, Black Garlic Crumble

A good piece of fish, which was not submerged by all the other elements. The little layered tartelette of summer squash was nice.

New York Steak
28 Day Dry Aged New York, Artichoke Purée, 
Arugula Purée,  Grilled Radicchio, Green Beans, Shishito Pepper

A top-quality piece of beef, perfectly cooked. One could use the various garnishes as one pleased.

Fraga Farmstead Creamery Foster Lake Camembert
Pecan Puff Pastry, Cherries, House Made Yogurt, Rose Petals

This cheese made with goat’s milk at a nearby farm did surprisingly resemble a wedge of properly ripened camembert. The pecan puff pastry was well executed. This was a nice way to finish off our very good bottle of wine.

Raspberry Sorbet
Lemon Curd, Cucumber, Tapioca Chip

A good, strong raspberry flavor.
aba Au Rhum
Blueberry and Ginger Ice Cream,
White Chocolate Cream, Bay Leaf Anglaise

The rich baba sponge cake rounds were rum-soaked. The crème anglaise custard and the ice cream were good.

As we had already eaten a lot, we had these boxed up for our morning coffee.

The cuisine was too complicated, but that did not seem to get in the way of our enjoying it. The top quality of the ingredients was evident. The service and pace were fine. The inappropriate music created a too high noise level, although, after most of the diners had left, they switched to Frank Sinatra to appease the seniors who remained. The Painted Lady is a surprising find in an area where the restaurants are generally basic with good local wine lists.

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