H50 Bar and Bistro is an eatery in the lobby of Hotel Fifty in downtown Portland. H50 is run by chef Nick Yanes, and is an excellent way of tasting the high quality menu of a downtown restaurant without astronomical prices. H50 features very friendly, engaging service and fresh modern decor. It is a great place to stop in for dinner downtown, and especially if you happen to be staying at Hotel Fifty.
We visited H50 by coming in from a pretty aggravating trek though rush hour and road construction infested Portland, and were very glad we made the effort.
Before we got our food, the waiter treated us to the chef’s amuse-bouche, a salmon ceviche with white wasabi and ginger. It was a very interesting blend of Latin and Japanese cuisines. The salmon was very delicious, and served chilled. It was a refreshing surprise and a real treat. Few Portland restaurants do this, and as someone who enjoys free food, I wish they’d do it more.
Our first entree was the Oregon King Salmon. King is my favorite variety of salmon, and this was a real treat. The chef had no problem, unlike some, to make sure my fish was cooked through. The interior was flakey, juicy, and a beautiful pink. The skin was left on, and was marvelously crisped. The salmon was served with sweet potato ravioli, zucchini, and cherry tomatoes in a light buerre fondue. The fondue was seasoned with rosemary and sage, and had a wonderful creamy flavor that really brought out the sweetness of the ravioli. I have rarely enjoyed pasta this much. It was absolutely delicious.
Our second entree was twenty-four hour pork brisket, which had been brined in soy and coke. The pork brisket was very tasty, and normally I’d like a sauce on any barbecued meat, but it really didn’t need it. This may be that it had been brined in sugar, which gave it more than enough flavor and moisture. This came with a new potato salad which was seasoned with what seemed to be pimento and was a little spicy. It was very nice. The pork also came with pickled ramps and strawberries. It made a good, tart contrast to the meat but it wasn’t really my favorite thing. I wouldn’t eat them without the meat for contrast.
H50 surprised me by the friendly wait staff and easy-going reservations policy (get one). It’s a great restaurant with a wonderful view of the river. They also have a lunch and breakfast menu that I was not lucky enough to sample. We will be back. When you visit, get reservations.
50 Southwest Morrison Street
Portland, OR 97204