3113 SE Division St. (inside Block and Tackle), 232-1566, roepdx.rest.
[WHERE MY FISHES AT] When I first
arrived in Portland, I asked the same thing everyone asks. Where’s the
great seafood? Well, no. Portland’s a river town, people told me. Folks
here eat pigs and cows. Sometimes chickens. Descended from lumberjacks
and hazelnut farmers, we don’t think much about the world’s largest
ocean, just 80 miles west. You want seafood? Well, they’ve got Mo’s
chowder on the coast—or go to Seattle. Least among the many reasons Roe
is special: our 2013 Restaurant of the Year finally gives this town a
signature seafood spot. Now, instead of telling my brother-in-law
arriving from Virginia with dreams of cedar-plank salmon swimming
through his head, to just order one of the many great whole roasted
trout dishes around town, I’ll tell him to make reservations at Roe. You
have to reserve a table a few weeks in advance, I’ll explain, and it’s
very spendy—but worth it. He’ll ask me if it’s sushi. Well, not exactly.
There’s lots of raw fish but there’s no rice, soy sauce or little pink
ginger slices. The menu changes every day. The best thing I had was
pomfret ceviche in a broth of fish sauce, lime and chili. It had little
purple calamari tentacles in the broth and a bright-green lime meringue
thing on top. It was amazing, I’ll say—it’s how Portland does seafood.
Ideal meal: The tasting menu, which is $70.
Best deal: The Hoegaarden is only $1 more than the other beers and comes in a much, much larger glass.
Pro tip: They’ll charge you $50 if you cancel a reservation at the last minute, so watch yourself.
5-10 pm Wednesday-Thursday, 5-11 pm Friday-Saturday. $$$$.