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Rostra rating: 4
MagoGuide’s third visit this year to Olympia (formerly Olympic) Provisions’ Northwest location confirmed and amplified our respect for this jewel in Portland’s Industrial District.
The food was rustic and excellent. The star of the evening was the foraged mushrooms served on a rectangle of crispy taleggio grits and surmounted by a small green salad topped with grana Padano. I was sorry to see that the poached egg had migrated to the baby chicories salad on the menu, but this proved to be a minor quibble as the amazing ‘shrooms in a light and creamy sauce needed no other assistance. The large chunks of barely sautéed chanterelles were the essence of a Pacific Northwest coniferous rain forest. And I would eat grits with every meal if they were held in loose formation with melted taleggio and fried into a crispy gooey confection by a deft hand in the kitchen.
The mixed green salad is the deal of the menu. Billed as a first course, it is really a huge dinner salad of perfectly crisp greens dressed with a killer mustard vinaigrette. My spousal unit ended up eating half of it for her first course and then the other half post-main as they do on the continent.
We ended up splitting the choucroute garnie. Our server did not bat an eye concerning a shared main, which is a good thing since neither of us could have waded through all that pig candy plus bespoke sauerkraut and fingerling taters precious on our own. All the meats were signature Olympia Provisions products, among which the kielbasa was the standout. The real star, however, was the kraut — cut thick and given far more than a nodding acquaintance with the piggage.
All of our dishes choked real good with both rotating seasonal taps–a very sturdy Pilsner and a killer, hoppalicious North West IPA. The staff was very professional as well as unobtrusively attentive. Finally, and perhaps best of all, the restaurant was over half full but nice and quiet. Conversation was not only possible but pleasant and one did not have to worry about hearing others or being overhead in order to be heard. Bravo, and MagoGuide will be back soon.
If you want to learn more about Olympia Provisions, see MagoGuide’s 2014 Winter Tour post.