Thursday, September 30, 2010

On the road again: Portland, day 4

I forgot to mention one other interesting event yesterday: the fine folks at Intel filmed another of the videos of me answering questions about tech stuff. They even let me push Children No More and the child soldiers rehabilitation and reintegration work with Falling Whistles. I don't know when they'll finish editing the video and take it live, but as soon as they tell me it's available, I'll pass on the news.

Work is, as always, confidential, so most of the day must remain off limits.

Dinner was at June, a place new enough that, to my amazement, it still doesn't have a Web site. We went there because Daniel Monduk, the chef and owner of Sel Gris, a Portland restaurant I loved, was working there after he was unable to reopen Sel Gris after a series of disasters (as best I understand it, none of them his fault) kept closing it. Given how much we liked Monduk's food, we were hoping he had a big hand in the fare at June.

On a first reading, the menu was promising and very much in the style of many Portland restaurants: short, vague descriptions that sound enticing and that also clearly conceal something of what's going on in the dish.

The food we tasted, though, was uniformly not as good as we had hoped. Frequently, as in the noodles with spicy lamb, one ingredient (in this case and rather unfortunately, fennel) overwhelmed the dish. The corn chowder was superb, the crab meat stuffed in the large pepper sitting on it was okay, and the pepper itself was a non-entity. In almost each dish, we felt they went one ingredient too far. Sadly, nothing about the main meal left us wanting to use up one of our precious Portland dinners with a return trip.

The best things we tasted were the two desserts we tried, an apple cobbler with cinnamon ice cream and a butterscotch pudding. Those would almost--but not quite--tempt us back.

I hope to read one day that June has reached the potential of its chef de cuisine, but right now, it does not compete well with the best Portland has to offer.

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