Restaurateur Bruce Carey (also behind hot nightspot Bluehour) has kept this stylish, Pacific Northwest–focused restaurant at the forefront of Portland’s dining scene, despite its location in an otherwise desolate industrial area. A wood-burning oven figures prominently in chef Dolan Lane’s hearty-yet-healthy dishes—like spit-roasted free-range chicken with polenta, rapini, and pine nuts; or slow-grilled Carlton pork shoulder with fennel, farro, blueberries, and basil. The well-edited wine list, heavy on local as well as European vintages, offers some great pairing options. Whatever else you do, save room for the raspberry napoleon with pistachio cream, raspberry sorbet, and honey-glazed pistachios.
Tip: Snack inexpensively during the nightly 5 to 6:30 p.m. happy hour. The bargain-priced menu includes $4 martinis, $2 grilled mozzarella mini-sandwiches, $3 artisanal cheese plates, and $6 bowls of mac-and-cheese or sautéed Manila clams.
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Congratulations to Mei Lin, winner of Top Chef Season 12.