Friday night found us at the recently renamed Olympia Provisions, one of the city’s best restaurants and, not coincidentally, the employer of our oldest son.
Nathan recently got hired as a line cook, and we seized the opportunity to have dinner there with two long-time friends and one brand-new one, who just so happens to be the mother of the head chef. Sweet.
Olympic Provisions burst onto Portland’s already robust food scene in 2009. It quickly built a reputation for the quality of its cold meats — a variety of sausages, salami, pates and other goodies — and won critical praise from Bon Appetit, The New Yorker, Saveur, Food & Wine and O Magazine (that would be O for Oprah). In fact, Bon Appetit declared it “America’s Best Charcuterie.”
Last fall, OP made the news when the U.S. Olympic Committee flexed its muscles and forced the restaurant to change its name from Olympic to Olympia to avoid infringing on its trademarked use of “Olympic.”
In any case, we finally made it out to Northwest Portland, one of two OP locations, for a meal. It did not disappoint.
We had a chef’s choice charcuterie plate, ideal for sharing, and then moved on to the main course. Lori had halibut (of course, she would order fish at a meat restaurant) and I had a risotto with a parsley-pecorino sausage. Dessert arrived not just with the saucisson au chocolate we ordered (imagine a chocolate salami served in thin slices) but a polenta pastry with strawberry-rhubarb sauce. (Thanks, kitchen staff!)
Everything was delicious and the service was excellent.
The dinner was organized by our friend, Molly, who brought us together after learning Nathan had been hired by Alex, the head chef and son of a good friend of hers, named Pam. Turns out Alex graduated a year ahead of our daughter at Grant High School and is good friends with another young entrepreneur who knows Nathan. In addition, Pam’s very good friend lives next door to us. Little did we know.
I’d been to OP’s original location in Southeast Portland just once before, for a brunch with my daughter-in-law Kyndall. Last night was a treat seeing the second location with its spacious interior, white walls and natural lighting. We’ll have to go back again. Sooner than later, I hope.