Beast: "Brunch of the Year"
"Come Sunday morning, some people pray at church, others pray at the table—at least, it often seems that way in Portland. Beast, Naomi Pomeroy's pale-pink-painted tribute to butcher's blocks and farmers markets, is for that second group. And is it ever heavenly. Although diners flock to the restaurant's prix fixe suppers, in some ways the Sunday-only brunch at this tiny open kitchen is even more of an experience, an elegant yet laid-back affair at two communal tables where the air rings with clinking pots and bacon is considered a garnish. The dishes are worth waiting all week to taste, from impossibly light brown-butter crêpes dressed with maple-bourbon hard sauce, tart fruit, candied bacon and crunchy pecans, to savory braised pork cheek with tomato hollandaise and a poached farm egg. Dessert may feature anything from housemade blackberry tarts to anise ice cream that tastes like the best root-beer float ever. Beast's food is inarguably decadent, but Pomeroy has a knack for meshing rich preparations with fresh flavors. As with dinner, brunch is one-price-serves-all; $28 gets you four courses along with a hot French press full of Stumptown coffee or juice. What that prix fixe menu doesn't mention are Beast-only extras like catching sous chef Mika Paredes boppin' along to Culture Club's “Do You Really Want to Hurt Me” while she's chopping vegetables, or the pleasure of reading the titles of old cookbooks jammed higgledy-piggledy onto a set of shelves only feet away from the oven. Thank goodness for Sundays."