He is a budding bar star and a music obsessive with a turntable. She is the queen of the pig, a food contest slayer, and Portland's premier girl cook. They are style mavens, party hounds, and ingredient obsessives who live to nail the interesting moment, the unforgettable drink, the groan-worthy bite.
So get ready for something really interesting.
In early July, former St. Jack bar man Kyle Linden Webster and Beast's Naomi Pomeroy will unveil Expatriate, their own brand of cocktail lounge and meeting place off of Killingsworth at 5424 NE 30th Ave.
While the 30-seat space (a one-time brothel across the street from Beast) gets finishing touches, we extracted the vision and exclusive menu details from the recently married Webster and Pomeroy. Think renouncing your ways for a night of curated cocktails, shadows and candlelight, worldly music spins, late night dance parties, and the spicy, crunchy surprise of Burmese food.
Here are three reasons we're excited:
"The bar will be small, not static, not dozens of bottles staring you down. I'll only put in view what I would use, right now, not fifteen kinds of gin."—Kyle Linden Webster
Webster will bring us into his world of cocktailing. Yes, you'll be able to order whatever you like, but the show will be the small collection of cocktails of the moment. He's one of the best bartenders I've come across, with an innate feel for balance, surprise, and food-friendly savor. Webster's "Distant Colony," a lip-smacking blend of Mexican Reposado tequila, Combier grapefruit liqueur from the Loire Valley, Cocchi Americano (a Lillet Blanc-ish aperitif), ginger syrup, honey, lime juice, and bitters sums up the essence of Expatriate: French, Italian, Mexican, coming from nowhere and everywhere at the same time. I happened on it at St. Jack's one day when Webster was experimenting with ideas and it dropped my jaw.
"I've eaten the hell out of this food."—Naomi Pomeroy
Pomeroy lived in India for a year and spent four-and-a-half months in Southeast Asia. Though she's known for French comfort cuisine, she's burning to cook Burmese food and unleash her love of all things spicy, crunchy, salty, sour, fried, and sweet. Expect 8 to 10 options, constantly changing to pair with whatever Webster is stirring and shaking. Dishes will be rooted in authenticity, but not defined by the textbook. Pomeroy has come to honor a cuisine with deep Chinese and Thai influences—and also to play.
What to expect? Right now, she's toying with nutty, herbaceous Burmese salads, noodle dishes, shrimp toast, house curly fries with a "high spice component," and a crispy fish sandwich in a puffy-sweet roll chunked with sweet chili sauce, crispy basil and cucumber slaw. Table offerings are in the works, with palate-poppers like ramp kimchi to help "season your mouth." If Beast is your “refined French grandmother,” says Webster, Expatriate’s food will be your “slightly drunken French uncle who just got back from traveling."
"Playing music on records in public is a priority."—Kyle Linden Webster
Music will be approached with the same care and attention as food and drinks, mostly vinyl records drawn from Webster's extensive collection, with guest spinners invited to play what they love. The mood will shift through the evening, in style, tone, volume, and impact, segueing from the likes of Duke Ellington to Talking Heads to Modeselektor as the night progresses. "I’m excited to have people come and play things they love. We’re going to have dance parties. There’s that. If anybody came to the late night thing at Beast on Sunday night of the Feast Portland weekend last year, they know what a good room on NE 30th feels like. We don’t get that enough in town."
Watch for soft openings around July 4. No web site yet, but follow along at twitter.com/expatriatepdx.