Sunday, December 30, 2012

Raven & Rose: First Impressions

I am a complete sucker for old architecture…homes, buildings, barns, cabins. (Regarding the last two, the more decrepit the better.) Maybe it had to do with growing up in older homes, ones with creaking floors, out-of-plumb walls and door jambs and hidden nooks and crannies. The first home Dave and I owned in Sellwood turned out to be the oldest in the neighborhood, with support beams made of logs (including bark) that had been cut from trees on the property.

House-cured gravlax, crumpets, winter chicories.

So it was no wonder I was taken with the story of the Ladd Carriage House, built by William S. Ladd to house his horses and the carriages they pulled through the streets of what was then jokingly known as Stumptown. He arrived three months after Portland was incorporated with a load of alcohol on consignment from a college pal in San Francisco. Ladd then proceeded to make a fortune selling liquor to the new city's thirsty inhabitants and, with that same college pal, set up the first bank north of San Francisco (take that, Seattle). He was elected mayor twice and built a grand home on Southwest Broadway with his horses lodged across the street.

Jasmine and Blood & Sand in the Rookery.

His house didn't survive but the carriage house, amazingly, did. In 2005 the First Christian Church, which had bought the property in 1971, got a permit to demolish it to build a parking lot. (Proving Joni Mitchell was right.) A group, Friends of the Ladd Carriage House, quickly formed to save the building and arranged to move it several blocks away while an underground parking garage was built. The Carriage House was then moved back to its original site.

Mr. David Shenaut.

Restored with the help of historic photographs, the building was subsequently bought by the Mygrant family of Hayward, California, when their daughter, Lisa, who was looking for a spot to open her first restaurant, saw the building was for sale. Long story short, she recruited David Padberg of Park Kitchen as her chef and David Shenaut of the Oregon Bartenders Guild to run the bar program. The restaurant is scheduled to open Jan. 4.

Braised shortrib, horseradish cream, Yorkshire pudding.

I was invited to attend a test dinner recently, and jumped at the chance to preview the space and see what was in the works. While certainly not intended as any kind of review, the dinner went off without a hitch, the bar was spot on and the food was terrific. According to Padberg, the menu will be similar to a European gastropub with "a nod to the British isles." It will feature as many local ingredients and suppliers as he can cram onto it, including eggs from Lisa Mygrant's own chickens. In the initial phase, Padberg said, they'll open with a limited menu of spot-on entrées featuring Northwest ingredients like sturgeon, salmon, mussels and short ribs accented with seasonal produce like root vegetables, chicories and greens.

Working the wood-fired oven.

On the beverage front, the two bars, one in the restaurant dining area and another called The Rookery Bar in the former hayloft, will have a list of house specialties along with classics, as well as an extensive wine and beer selection. I plan on going back in the near future, and I suggest you should, too.

Details: Raven & Rose, 1331 SW Broadway. 503-222-7673.

Look for an upcoming episode of Food Farmer Earth featuring my interview with Mygrant and a tour of the building.

1 comment:

Skylor (sprout lifestyle) said...

I love yorkshire pudding and restaurants never serve it. This is great!