Higgins Restaurant, Portland OR
GOURMET magazine barely gave a nod to beer in its review of Portland,
thankfully Higgins Restaurant received the recognition it deserves.
the sparkling selection of artisanal distilled spirits, to a phenomenal
assortment of craft beer (both domestic and imported), Higgins is
a destination for drink.
a sign of a fine establishment when servers stay there, year after
year. Above, bartender Charlie Vance pours a pint of the Red Thistle
Ale from the Golden Valley Brewing Co., of McMinnville.
the beer menu is the inspiration of Warren Steenson (photo below,
with an assortment of favorite beer glasses). Steenson
guides the beer selection to showcase seasonal brews from across Oregon,
as well as unusual Belgian specialties.
I visited Higgins, the 8-line draft roster included the Hair of the
Dog Fred, Deschutes Mirror Pond Ale, Bridgeport IPA, Rogue Amber Ale,
Guinness, Pilsner Urquell, Paulaner Oktoberfest, Lindemans Framboise,
Delirium Tremens, and at least one other regional PNW brew. There's
even Miller Genuine Draft.
other times, draft picks included a cask-conditioned version of Mt.
Hood Oatmeal Stout, La Trappe Quadrupel, Mannekin Pis Blanche de Bruxelles,
and Abbot Ale from England.
the bottle, beer-lovers have even more brands to choose from, starting
with about 40 to 50 different Belgian ales. Tucked into every chilly
cranny of the draft refrigerators, on top of and between kegs, are
myriad bottles from Abbey Affligam to Vondel. Breweries from Scotland,
England, Germany, France, the Netherlands, Japan and Switzerland round
out the imports. Strong winter ales and barleywines dominate the domestic
bottled selection, such as Sierra Nevada Bigfoot, and Old Rasputin
Imperial Russian Stout.
lovers have plenty to celebrate as well. Greg Higgins is a pioneer
in the chef movement for sustainability and organic farming methods.
He supports so many nonprofits that Higgins seems to participate in
an endless calendar of causes, from
regional wine-maker dinners to harvest feasts featuring wild mushrooms
or game, to special fetes, such as a recent Flemish meal designed
for the distributors of Chimay bieres
also loves simple bistro fare, and makes his own deli meats such as
pastrami, and pickles, cures and brines, such as pepper-cured Chinook
salmon, for towering sandwiches and deli platters of sheer delectation.
it may be pricey to shell out $9 for a pastrami sandwich, but when
it's this good, you'll want to get another one to go. Just as a snack,
also a white-tablecloth dining room, for elegant fare in a more restrained
atmosphere - which is probably why I never, ever eat there as long
as I can find a seat at the Higgins bar.