Serious, well-crafted New American comfort food on North Mississippi. Boise neighborhood fave.
I peaked in the window at Radar on North Mississippi Avenue several times over the past couple of years, dismissing it as just another over-hyped bar. The long, narrow space with counter-high tables along the wall and single seats along the bar is warm and inviting but decidedly bar-like.
Then recently, I walked past, and for some inexplicable reason, turned around, and took a look at the menu.
NOT just another sports bar. How many drinking holes serve Roasted Radishes with Brown Butter & Jacobsen Sea Salt?
Or Coffee & Cocoa Braised Short Ribs with Marinated Jicama & Melon Salad, Cilantro & Roasted Celeriac Puree?
But the dish that got me through the front door is Chicken Under a Brick with Broccolini & Creamed Squash. In 2016, it feels almost retro. It’s a technique that when done well creates crackling crisp skin and meltingly tender chicken.
Then I spotted Spaetzle, another old world fave, which is an accompaniment to Painted Hills Bavette Steak, Braised Red Cabbage & Balsamic Macerated Tart Cherries. Bavette steak (also called flap steak) is similar in flavor and texture to flank and skirt steak.
Which means it’s supremely flavorful-but chewy as leather if not cured, cooked only to rare or medium-rare at most, and sliced thinly against the grain. It takes confidence to tackle this steak cut on a menu.
We didn’t get beyond two Larger Plates and a shared dessert on this first visit. However, it was tempting to skip the entrees altogether and order off the Snacks and Smaller Plates menus instead.
I felt a wave of regret, for instance, when a couple orders of Cauliflower Fritters with Bravas Sauce sailed past our table. So next time, we’ll order those, as well as the Roasted Root Vegetables with Farro, Carrot, Celeriac, Parsnip, Beets & Vinaigrette.
Oh, and the Bucatini with Bottarga, Bread Crumbs, Black Pepper & Calabrian Chile.
Desserts at Radar are as thoughtfully imagined as the rest of the menu. We were “warned” by the server that the two main offerings were not as sweet as is usual for dessert. That’s actually a plus for me.
We chose Pear Clafoutis (lightly sweetened) with Lemon Whipped Housemade Ricotta (not sweetened at all) & Basil Syrup. It was a perfect ending to a near perfect meal.
James proclaimed Steak Au Poivre with Painted Hill Bavette Steak, Braised Red Cabbage, Balsamic Cherries & Spaetzle as Portland Eats Best Entree 2016 (so far). Of course it’s way too early to make that call, but this dish is definitely in the running.
- City: Portland
- Quadrant: NE
- Neighborhood: Boise (North Mississippi Ave.)
- Address: 3951 N Mississippi Ave, Portland, Oregon 97227
- Phone: 503.841.6948
Get the Buzz
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Copyright 2015 Susan S. Bradley. All rights reserved.