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Fearless Critic restaurant review
Portland
Food
Feel
Price
9.3
9.0
$35
Modern
Casual restaurant

Hours
Mon–Wed 5:00pm–midnight
Thu–Sat 5:00pm–1:00am

Features Date-friendly, Wi-Fi
Bar Beer, wine, liquor
Credit cards Visa, MC
Reservations Accepted

www.beakerandflask.com

Southeast Portland
727 SE Washington St.
Portland, OR
(503) 235-8180
Beaker & Flask
Updated comfort food complements Portland’s most exciting cocktails

Judging by the name, one would imagine Beaker & Flask to be a cleverly constituted bar and little more. You might surmise that it’s got an ambitious cocktail program and an understated hipness. But who knew the food could be so drop-dead gorgeous, too?

Of course, the bar here is whipping up some of the most interesting cocktails in town, making use of The Gentleman’s Companion, by Charles H. Baker, Jr., of which there’s an original copy in the house. Drinks with cheeky names like “Daddy Issues” and “Viking Quest” take classic preparations and turn them on their head; the latter, for instance, mixes Portland’s own Krogstad Aquavit with Campari and the wonderfully herbaceous digestif Chinato. This lovely bitter drink will totally wreak havoc on anyone used to drinking sickly sweet Stoli -tinis at outdated clubs, much like, we imagine, a Viking raid would do. That’s not to say that you’ll find these on the menu; rather, the drinks list changes constantly. Props, also, to an exceedingly well-chosen and succinct selection of local craft beers on tap.

The food is just as outstanding and well conceived, start to finish. Even a simple butter lettuce salad with tarragon is expertly dressed and fresh-tasting. Like the beverages, dishes here play with recognition. A smoked-trout deviled egg encompasses the best of both worlds, with smoky fish and creamy, slightly spicy egg yolk forming as intoxicating a cocktail as anything coming from the bar. Pork rillettes tots come with a mustardy Béarnaise-like sauce, and the tots are so expertly fried that they are elevated well beyond any school-cafeteria associations. Breakfast gets its homage here in Millas, which taste like sweet griddle cakes and come with poached egg, smoky bacon (a bit chewy), Vermont maple syrup, and Tabasco. Even Mexican street-food throwbacks are represented here, as in a corn on the cob with poblano aïoli and grated cheese. Perhaps most indulgent is a mac and cheese with blood sausage and an herb-thyme crust. This and the braised pork belly sandwich, coupled with their late-night availability, draw hungry chefs here like moths to a flame.

The space is chic and dark, with those lovely round banquettes and comely service. This really must be one of the best waitstaffs in Portland—ask their expert advice on food and cocktail orders. They have a knack for making you feel giddily engaged and all warm and fuzzy inside. It’s a response that pairs perfectly, by the way, with modernized mac and cheese.

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