3731 SE Hawthorne Blvd; 503-232-1010
Most dishes $4.50–12
Imagine you’ve wandered into a cooking show but the audience is just you. Standing in what looks like a dorm room decorated by Sur La Table, a chef works silently, making magic behind a handsome butcher block that doubles as prep station and dining table with stools. Scan the wall-size blackboard menu, call out your order, and Kevin Gibson quietly begins performing like Yoda on an episode of Survivor. Welcome to Evoe.
Two years ago Gibson, one of Portland’s most accomplished chefs, broke away from Castagna, where his impressive but quietly reserved cooking never found a big audience. At Evoe, he’s still wringing the maximum out of minimalism—a Gibson dish is all clean, intelligent, spare flavors. But now he shines comet-bright in his own universe (with help from Pastaworks, whose Hawthorne space he shares). Regulars come just to see how Gibson is responding to what the seasons bring: oysters, wild mushrooms, thick leaves of glacier lettuce. One customer makes weekend pilgrimages from Idaho every six weeks or so just to eat his way through the menu.
Food formulas don’t exist here. Gibson’s mood makes way for deviled eggs holding warm brioche crumbs or duck cracklings and chives. A humble cauliflower becomes a soup that says it all: beyond creamy (despite no cream), full of flavor nuances that make you smile. Every dish gets the same laser focus, whether Gibson is grilling a cheese sandwich, slicing up wild-boar pâté with sour cherries, or rubbing anise into duck to be paired with fresh kumquat chutney—a dish you’d be thrilled to find at a fancy restaurant for twice the price.
Even by Portland standards, Evoe is quirky. But for anyone who loves great food, it’s Exhibit A for why we are the envy of the country. —KB