Higgins, Portland

September 12, 2017

Higgins was opened in downtown Portland in 1994. It has been very popular ever since then. Eater writes: “One of Portland’s pioneering chefs, Greg Higgins was cultivating relationships between local chefs and farmers long before winning the James Beard Best Chef Northwest award in 2002.” Linda and I went to Higgins for dinner on July 28, 2017. 

We were seated in a front window with a view over Broadway and back through one of the three dining rooms. We ordered glasses of Taitinger Champagne Brut “La Française” NV.

We also ordered a bottle of 2014 Shea “Estate” Pinot Noir.


Shea Vineyard, founded in 1989 is widely regarded as the Willamette Valley’s premier grower of Pinot Noir grapes. Most of them are sold to other top vineyards, but for the last ten years they have kept 25% and made their own wine. This was very nice, but, of course, could have used some aging. 

Good, crusty bread arrived.

Linda’s first course was
Tomato gazpacho with Oregon Bay shrimp,
cucumbers, olive oil and croutons.
 
The plentiful, small Oregon Bay shrimp were very good, as was the gazpacho flavor.  Linda had asked that the offered espelette pepper be left off, and it was.  The gazpacho had enough warmth of its own. Very satisfying.

My starter was
Baked stuffed Walla Walla sweet onion
with almond romesco and oyster mushrooms.

Sweet onions from nearby Walla Walla, Washington, are a big thing in this part of the world. The onion had a good flavor, but could have used some more time in the oven. The garnish of roasted red pepper and almonds was appropriate, but overspiced.

Linda’s main was
Seared loin of Oregon Albacore tuna with saffron cous cous,
string beans and pine nut caponata.

Two large pieces of albacore tuna were very nicely done and good. The caponata was good; the pine nut inclusion was not obvious. A good summer evening main course.

I had
Whole Pig Plate” – Rosemary roast loin, confit ribs,
Italian sausage & rillette stuffed tomatoes
with gremolata and white bean salad.

This plate was enormous, but that seemed less of a challenge after I discovered that the sausage was so overspiced that I would only eat one bite. By contrast, the crusty ribs and stuffed tomatoes were excellent. Every Wednesday morning Greg Higgins spends three hours butchering a 200-pound hog. Thursday and Friday mornings, he works on converting his pork into charcuterie. (We were there on a Friday.)

For dessert we shared a
Croustillante
Caramelized brioche with roasted peach
and burnt cinnamon ice cream.

Very successful dessert. The brioche was like a little caramel cake.

This was an interesting meal, although my courses were affected by the overspicing we have found so prevalent in Washington and Oregon. The presentations were lovely. The service and pace were good. The noise level was too high.

http://higginsportland.com

 

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