ANATOMY OF A DISH
Dive Into St Jack's Chilled Seafood Platter
Rare finds from the local waters meet French condiments at the bouchon's new Northwest Portland digs.
A few months ago, St. Jack migrated from its quaint corner perch on SE Clinton Street to a bigger, more industrial landing, filled with plush banquettes and natural light, on a bustling corner of NW 23rd Avenue. Chef Aaron Barnett’s menu is still a comforting love letter to the rustic bouchons of Lyon, France—but with some serious upgrades, including an ambitious chilled seafood menu. Working with local fishers to bring in rare finds, from periwinkles to sea urchin, Barnett prepares his luxurious nautical dishes and mix-and-match platters ($35–75) with Francophile finesse. And though the offerings will change and expand with the seasons, the selection, he promises, will never be ordinary.
1. NORTHWEST OYSTERS
The region’s best and briniest, like Miyagi oysters from the Washington coast, served with traditional red wine vinegar–shallot–black pepper mignonette.
2. LIVE SCALLOP
Bid those ubiquitous pan-seared scallops adieu. At St. Jack, the sizable bivalves are shucked like oysters, sliced super thin, and served in their glinting, six-inch shells with a sweet, fruity blood-orange vinaigrette. The scallops’ firm texture and sweet flesh are a revelation—if you can stomach the $20 price tag.
3. CHILLED MUSSELS
Steamed with white wine, garlic, and shallots, then chilled and preserved in their own liquor, St. Jack’s mussels are nothing like your average moules-frites. They arrive on the half shell, perched on a bed of microgreens and blanketed in French ravigote, a chunky, tarragon-scented salsa of cornichons, capers, and hard-boiled egg.
4. BULOT A.K.A. WHELK
These mini conches (or giant snails) are all the rage in Europe and Japan, but Barnett says St. Jack is the only restaurant serving them in Oregon. Barnett slow-simmers the bulot in a flavorful broth of white wine, garlic, and cumin for three hours, giving it a briny-sweet chew and a lemony aftertaste. Pull the meat out of the whorled shell, dunk it in some anchovy-chervil aioli, and prepare to be converted.