Everyone has to have priorities. Terri-Lynn and I tend to be quite frugal as self employed artists, musician, film makers and travel bloggers. When we do splurge it is almost always on food and travel. So twice now we have indulged in the James Beard Nominated Chef Justin Woodward’s tasting menu at Castagna. It is truly a dining experience that will leave a lasting impression. So when we heard that Justin would be opening a much more affordable and casual restaurant we were more than ready to give OK Omens a try.
Dish 1. WARM BEIGNETS $8 – Tillamook cheddar, honey granule. I started baking Beignets at home just a few years ago inspired by Thomas Keller’s cook book the French Laundry. They are a decadent little snack and very highly approved of by Terri-Lynn. Can you tell by the picture that these were delicious.
Dish 2 KINDA LIKE A BANH MI $13 – chicken liver mousse, pickled veggies, grilled bread. I love Portland. Our chefs here can take influences from around the world and twist something as simple as a Vietnamese street snack into an elegant dish. I loved this one. But I love Banh Mi.
Dish 3 GRILLED SQUID. Escarole Thai basil preserved lemon. A lovely tart squid salad.
Dish 4 GRILLED PORK. The dish consists of
Grilled pork. Black olive. Brown butter. New potato. Scallion. As you can see it is easy to put together your own tasting menu and tonight there were three of us sharing these dishes.
Dish 5 BURNT BEETS $14 – beef carpaccio, koji aioli, chive, xl bread crumbs. Loved this one! The carpaccio is in there somewhere!
Dish 6 FRIED CHICKEN BITES $12 – bitter greens, radish, green szechuan peppercorn, hot sour cream. The menu is fairly short and simple. You can take a look at it on their web site here.
Dish 7 TUNA BUTSU Avocado. Limeleaf. Potato chips. Yes there is tuna under there. Kind of a guacamole dish.
Dish 8 THE TORITO $12 – romaine, creamy cilantro dressing, corn nuts, cotija. We enjoyed what felt like a healthy light summer meal for a good price. This is very different from Castagna and a welcome addition to the casual dining scene in Portland.
Terri-Lynn Kalhagen and Chef Justin Woodward. I highly recommend experiencing Justin’s creativity at OK Omens. I recommend even more treating yourself one night to the Chefs tasting menu at Castagna with the wine pairings. The price is about $165 per person and $85 for the pairings. The experience will last far beyond the three hours it takes you to travel through Justin’s culinary landscape.