Portland’s culinary scene has gotten attention for the best of culinary trends: we’ve got your heritage pork (and chefs who fight outside strip clubs over it), we’ve got food carts and we’ve got vegan cuisine.
Portland’s culinary scene has gotten attention for the best of culinary trends: we’ve got your heritage pork (and chefs who fight outside strip clubs over it), we’ve got food carts and we’ve got vegan cuisine. Until now, one thing that Portland’s food scene has been lacking is a legitimate seafood spot.
To our rescue comes a man who takes his fish very seriously. So seriously, in fact, that a large red fish is tattooed across his forearm. Trent Pierce, formerly a sous chef at this year’s new Foster Burger, is the executive chef and he is predicting good things to come for FIN’s July 30 opening. When asked what the restaurant will be doing differently than the present (yet small) seafood scene in Portland, Pierce is thinking dynamically.
“Portland has perfected farm-to-table cuisine, as well as pork,” said Pierce. “With seafood, I think it’s easy to stay within the comfort zone of very few choices: trout, albacore, clams, salmon. What we’re doing at FIN is looking at coastal towns all over the world and how they make food, then using similar techniques but also looking at it from a new angle. It’s exciting to work with a surface that hasn’t really been scratched.”
The menu will let the seafood sing in each of its preparations. Pierce is sure not to over-complicate the ingredients, with one section of the menu consisting entirely of crudo, or raw options (but not in the sometimes expected sushi style). In addition, there will be grilled seafood dishes, house-made pastas and more.
One specific pasta dish Pierce is especially excited for is a Parisian-style gnocchi (made with rice flour) similar to the consistency of a Korean rice cake. It’s crisped up in the pan and then served with seafood sausage, peppers and fermented chile in a brodetto (seafood broth).
True to Portland’s environmental rep, their press release promises that all their seafood will be “obtained from Pacific sources that honor sustainable fishing practices.” As if we’d expect anything less.
To wash it all down, Pierce and owner Joan Dumas called in sommelier and James Beard award winner Israel Morales from Chicago’s ENO Wine Room in the Intercontinental Hotel. Morales’ wine list only includes global wines within 100 miles from the coast, which captures the same old world/new world mindset as the food. In addition to the wines, there will be house-made cocktails, a small presence of sake, and of course Oregon beers.
Morales is “looking forward to working with such high quality ingredients and super-clean flavors.”
The space itself is beautiful with its cork floors and high ceilings. A large part of the restaurant will be taken up by a dual sided bar for single diners as well as a lively communal-style atmosphere.
In addition to the dream team of Morales and Pierce, owner Joan Dumas has credentials worth talking about as well. She co-owned a Mexican resort café as well as a French dinner house in California prior to the new spot on Hawthorne. With Pierce’s backgrounds at Portland’s Foster Burger, Bend’s Japanese restaurant, Deep, and American cuisine restaurant, Volo, it’s safe to say we’ve got a lot to look forward to.