Name: Gotham Tavern
Location: 2240 N Interstate Avenue
Portland, OR 97227
Contact information: 503.235.2294
Web address: www.ripepdx.com
Hours: Tueday-Friday 8 a.m.-2:30 p.m., 5 p.m.-close; Saturday-Sunday 9 a.m.-2 p.m., 5 p.m.-close
Reservations Recommended: Yessir
Good for: VIP seating arrangements and opportunities to watch the kitchen work its magic
Insider tip: This “tavern” isn’t the place to drink with buds and boast about the one that got away
Review: The first offense was showing up at 7 p.m. on a Sunday night without reservations. The second was forgetting to bow our thanks to the host when he announced there was a table he could get us in, the ‘extra addition’ placed next to the bar. For these offenses, my friend and I waited ten minutes, staring at the table while waiters and kitchen staff hung around. Eventually, my ESP and death glare worked (that, or the bartender realized that no, we really weren’t going to order booze and yes, we did just want dinner) and the table was cleared. The truth be told, if I hadn’t been in a time crunch, I’m sure I wouldn’t have been quite as annoyed.
Thankfully, the score must have been even because for the rest of the night, the service was wonderful. The food was not quite as rave-worthy, but still decent. Like its flagship restaurant, Ripe, the food was more mentionable for its creativity than on the food itself.
The $3 Ken’s bread-and-butter staved off the hunger pains until the tomato appetizer arrived – yes, tomatoes are a current obsession. The dish was priced somewhere around $10 and featured a center mold of warmed heirloom tomatoes, greens and cheese. Nothing too sensational – the tomatoes seemed a little too mushy and the cheese pairing overwhelmed the underwhelming vegetable (ok, fruit, whatever).
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For an entree I ordered the blue cheese souffle ($17). My friend selected the cheese-stuffed ravioli ($16) with an eggplant marinara sauce. The souffle seemed slightly underdone, although it has been an admittedly long time since I’ve had one. Instead of placing the chutney topping in a small dish, it appeared in a half-filled creamer. Quaint, but not quite as practical, as the opening is a little narrow for a fork. Bottom line: for $17, get yourself some sort of animal in your dish.
The ravioli appeared in the same shape as those at sister restaurant clarklewis: big on the pasta, small on the fillings. The shredded cheese that topped it had quite a kick – the eggplant, ravioli and cheese created a tantalizing combination that I couldn’t even begin to describe. When separated, the cheese was too strong, the eggplant too boring and the ravioli too unremarkable. It’s quite a surprise to realize how well they work together.
A note about the decor – for anyone that’s a fan of wood, log cabins and open-air kitchens, Gotham Tavern is a must. A few select tables are designed for exceptional intimacy and must be reserved in advance. A $50 surcharge is placed on both the Beehive and the Bird Cage.