For a few years now, Portland's lauded chefs have been busy opening casual restaurants inspired by their more upscale endeavors (see: Oven & Shaker, Cibo, Sunshine Tavern). Marking a turnaround of the restaurant opening trends, seafood specialist Trent Pierce is ready to unveil Roe, his modern (and decidedly upscale) seafood restaurant located in the back room of ramen hot spot Wafu.
Taking over a corner of his existing restaurant has definite advantages. With no monumental start-up costs, no new leases to sign, and no pressure to make a ton of cash right away, Pierce can focus on his passion: crafting truly beautiful, clean, and modern dishes that highlight the best ingredients from the sea.
The dark and sexy 30-seat space will be open for dinner three nights a week, with dishes available a la carte, as a $50 four-course guest choice tasting menu, or a $100 Chef's choice "grand tasting" menu featuring seven to nine courses of the kitchen's greatest hits.
Fans of Pierce's celebrated yet short-lived SE Hawthorne restaurant Fin--which closed in February 2011 despite rave reviews--will recognize the same commitment to quality, elegance of preparation, and judicious use of modern techniques. To guarantee the best starting ingredients, Pierce and his right hand man Patrick Shultz (formerly of Genoa, Fin, Sel Gris, and Carlyle) will make weekly trips to the Oregon coast to forage for seaside produce and hand select the best of the fresh catch.
Creative raw dishes like Kampachi tartare with avacado roulade and caramelized citrus, Black Snapper Ceviche with fresh corn and smoked citrus nuoc mam, and Tuna Sashimi with foie gras torchone and green apple gelee share menu space with seared Mahogany clams with seaweed butter, slow-cooked and grilled octopus with black garlic and black tagliatelli, halibut confit with smoked gnocchi and lobster bisque, and butter poached lobster with grapefruit custard.
The beverage program, like at Wafu, will include handcrafted cocktails created to pair with specific dishes in addition to sherries, sour beers, Basque ciders, wine, and what's shaping up to be the biggest amaro list in town.
"Wafu has earned a lot of praise for being comforting and casual, with a bit of roughness and a lot of edge," says Pierce. "Roe will be the opposite--refined and delicate, with the all of the focus on the quality of the fish."
To make a reservation for the first week of September, call the restaurant at 503-232-1566 or head to the soon-to-be-updated Roe website at www.roe-pdx.com.
3113 SE Division Street