Although Think Tasty has ventured into only two different regions of the country, I have found the benefits to be numerous already. First, based on the feedback I have received, our visitors are enjoying learning about the myriad of great restaurants across the country. Second, loyal patrons love praising their favorite dining establishments on this site. Third, I have been able to meet (via email or phone) an assortment of engaging and interesting restaurant managers and chefs.
One of these aforementioned people is Chef Nick Yanes, who is Executive Chef at H50 Bistro in Portland, Oregon, which was the second place finisher in our Best Restaurant in the Pacific Alaska Region. Nick has been the executive chef at this restaurant since it opened two years ago. Chef Nick was thoroughly involved in the opening, including buying the silverware and dishes.
If he helped purchase the tableware, then it seems quite obvious that he planned the menu also. I asked him what his inspiration is for the menu. Chef Nick’s inspiration is a combination of seasonal offerings and a global-American perspective. He cooks using items that the season brings. Many of the items on the menu have a Mediterranean flavor, however, there also are other ethnic touches, such as sushi.
At H50 Bistro, there are two different dinner menus. First, there is a Steak House menu that is always available. This menu is static and offers the same dishes that everyone loves. Second, there is a Chef’s Menu that has 8-10 starters and 8-10 main dishes. These items change depending on seasonal availability. Also, dishes can be ordered individually or as part of a six-course tasting menu for a terrific price of $45 per person.
As for what makes his restaurant unique, Chef Nick had the following answer, “We’re a new age hybrid of molecular gastronomy. We play with it a little, but it’s not the focus. Our dishes look natural with a whimsical touch.” An example of this is the Seared Alaskan Halibut. While the halibut is the focus, a garnish of saffron air provides what Chef Nick referred to as “little wow factors”.
Every region has its advantages and disadvantages, and thus, I asked Chef Nick what they were in Portland. According to him, “The local bounty is great. With a wine growing region next to a big city, Portland could be the next San Francisco.” The difficult part of being a chef in Portland is the expectation of using local produce. He explained that if there is bad weather that affects crops, it makes it difficult to create a menu when your patrons only want local produce.
To learn more about Chef Nick and H50 Bistro, please visit their website.