Compliments to the Chef: Evoe

22 Nov

I cannot say enough good things about Chef Kevin Gibson’s approach to food. Every time I eat at Evoe I am reminded of the fact that this restaurant perfectly embodies how I would like to eat all of the time. In our world of “have it your way” and “super sized” lunch options, Evoe is a welcomed alternative. One would be hard pressed to find anything processed in this kitchen. Ingredients are made in-house, and those that have been outsourced have been curated by the fine folks at Pastaworks, who operate the adjoining space in Southeast Portland. Touting itself as an “enlightened snack bar,” the menu features a number of small plates and old world sandwich recipes, masterfully accompanied by a rotating selection of daily specials that honor seasonal gems. Wine, beer, and a refreshing elderflower spritzer are all available by the glass, or alternatively, guests are encouraged to peruse Pastaworks’ shelves for a bottle (for a modest corkage fee).

There is an addictive, elegant casualness about the atmosphere here. Food is prepared and plated (beautifully) right in front of you, giving a whole new meaning to the phrase “open kitchen.” Sitting at the butcher block table that doubles as a dining and kitchen prep table, I feel as though I am sitting in Gibson’s home, observing a master while he hovers gracefully over his stove. Though the concept seems simple, there are few places in food-happy Portland that could match Evoe’s refined style. Chef Gibson’s food is thoughtfully composed, echoing classic technique while still remaining accessible and approachable. The quality of the ingredients take center stage, while subtle but intentional touches provide the backbone for every dish. Just think: Black Truffled Deviled Eggs; Artichoke, Fennel, and Pancetta Salad; House-made Pork Loin and Leek Sausage with Savoy Cabbage; and Scrambled Eggs with Chanterelles on Toast. As someone who loves food, I find that eating here inspires me, and I consider it a shining example that we need not complicate our own cooking in effort to achieve excellence.

3735 S.E. Hawthorne Blvd.
Portland, OR 97214
Open 12 Noon to 7 PM, Wednesday through Sunday.

One Response to “Compliments to the Chef: Evoe”

  1. Tim Roth November 23, 2010 at 3:18 am #

    I want to make the analogy of Evoe is to a Spitzer call-girl what Sandwichworks is to an 82nd Ave. street-walker. But I think you described it just like it should be. Elegant, just casual enough. I wish I could go right now.

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