Next door to the Clinton Street Theater in southeast Portland sits a chic neighborhood bistro boasting traditional European favorites with an expert bar program hiding in its midst. Welcome to your new favorite hideaway.
OUR ARTICLEBY: Dakota Nate Contributing writer
Good Ol’ Portland, Oregon: The City of Roses, aka Rip City, aka Beervana — a city of weird and wonder that is unlike anywhere else in the country in a number of ways, and depending on who you ask, you will almost always get a different response as to why one would pledge their devotion to such a place. Perhaps one of the best things about Portland aside from its free-spirited, take you as you are atmosphere, its world famous coffee roasters, and massive amount of craft breweries that could turn the most traditional beer drinker into an aggressive beer snob, is the promise of the eclectic food and beverage programs splashed across the city.
Stacked up along SE Clinton Street, just a stone’s throw from popular eateries such as Scandinavian breakfast spot Broder Café and trendy Thai haven Pok Pok sits La Moule, a sexy southeast neighborhood brasserie offering an array of traditional Belgian provisions in typical Portland fashion. True to its monicker, La Moule specializes in a selection of steamed mussels served in four different mouthwatering varieties, all accompanied by a baguette acting as a proper sponge to soak up all that tantalizing broth. We’d be lying if we said we didn’t consider asking for straw instead.
If you’re looking to get the most out of your experience, opt for traditional absinthe service or sip on a glass of Pappy Van Winkle 23 year with your Steak Frites or Braised Beef Cheek.
The atmosphere of La Moule throws you into an almost dream-like state with an expressive, yet traditional take on classic Belgian Fare. Dizzy with the desire to stay a while longer for just one more cocktail and another round of oysters (after you’ve already had 3), maybe it’s the shellfish, maybe it’s the booze: either way, we’re happy to take our time. From a well-lit front dining area where meticulously placed pops of color and psychedelic mollusk-inspired wallpaper shout tastefully around dark wood and leather, as you saunter into the back you’ll be charmed into an open seat at a small and intimate bar. As you belly up, you’re met face to face with enough booze to make woo Hemingway and a friendly barkeep.
La Moule’s cocktail list is flush with a compilation of flavorful, spirit-forward juggernauts such as their Cognac Old Fashioned made with Pierre Ferrand 1840, black pepper demerara, and a combination of angostura and cardamom bitters. The Gainsbourg, which is spun with 10 Beefeater Gin, Dolin Dry Vermouth, cornichon brine, and lemon zest is a cocktail that just keeps on giving, for $1 from each Gainsbourg is donated to New Avenues for Youth — an organization that attends to homeless and high-risk youth. Currently their “bière” selection features drafts and bottles by local breweries Cascade and Little Beast, but mostly highlights a few not-so-local Belgian breweries brewers such as Dutch Trappist Brewery De Koningshoeven, as well as the home of Delirium, Huyghe Brewery. On the “Vins” side, you’ll spot a couple of La Moule’s own red and white wines as well as an amorous list of sherries, Champagne, and oh so much more.
If you’re looking to get the most out of your experience, opt for traditional absinthe service or sip on a glass of Pappy Van Winkle 23 year with your Steak Frites or Braised Beef Cheek. La Moule also offers brunch on the weekends as well as a stellar happy hour and reverse happy hour Thursday through Sunday. If you’re feeling like filter feeders, or just craving a balanced cocktail, La Moule deserves to be at the tip-top of your to-dine list, CYTIES Traveler.
If the phrase “balling on a budget” is not in your vocabulary, you’d be hard pressed not to get a glass of their 23-year-old Pappy Van Winkle
Need a pick-me-up before your showdown at La Moule? Roll into Coava Coffee for some of the best caffeine on the West Coast
This French inspired cocktail den offers a cool and cozy vibe, pair some oysters with the low lit ambiance, and Au revoir…
Coming in for brunch? Pork & Kimiche Pozole. If you don’t know, now ya know