I've been to North Light a few times, and agree substantially with the review. The staff/service is great, the patio is great, the cocktail list is good, everything is $1-2 more than you're comfortable with (especially considering modest portions), and the food is competent without anything being outstanding. Their standard burger was very good. Fries were surprisingly good the first time with the burger, completely average the next time when shared with the table. Everyone liked their meal, no one loved it. With its pricing, design and plating, the place sets a high bar for itself. It hasn't reached it yet, but there's no reason it couldn't eventually.
North Light potentially fills a valuable (if boring) role: there are surprisingly few places in inner N/NE/SE where most people (and their dietary restrictions) can find something to like on the menu. It's not an issue with 1-2 people, but when 3-6 people are dining out, it's tough to reliably please everyone. North Light's menu impressively manages to stay brief while catering to nearly everyone.
I think of North Light as basically a kinda-fancy version of Pause, which does a full menu of comfort food extremely well. That comparison might sound like a slur to some people, but I would be impressed if North Light eventually does kinda-fancy as well as Pause does comfort, for just a few bucks more.
Lyle Jost is one of the best chefs in Portland and you are yet to impress me with your reviews. Your writing is as bland as you say the food at North Light is.
Damesy is right: a bloody mary starts off as a relatively blank template, you specify how hot you want the damn thing. There's plenty of people -like meee!- who like them not hot at all, but hella salty. In a civilized place, you can also tell them how much pickled shit you want sticking out of it.
I'm a big fan of spice, but I'm also a big fan of truth in advertising (not EVERY Bloody Mary is spicy, and while I welcome spice, it shouldn't be undrinkable for three people at the table -- maybe a bad batch?)
I also did have to masticate my way through those hazelnuts... this is only mentioned because texture is an important part of a dish (just ask Josh McFadden at Ava Gene's), so nailing your crunch, when piling it on soft polenta and veggies, is critical. They were a good idea, just not so large.
That being said, restaurant experiences are subjective. I found this place to just be middling; neither good nor bad. If someone else thinks meatloaf and burgers are the paragon of dining adventure worth recommending to all, then that's their prerogative.
I appreciate your designation: I'll put it on my next bio!
Did you just complain that your bloody mary was spicy and that you had to chew your hazelnuts? You're the worst food critic ever.
It's as if we've eaten in two different restaurants. Every time I've been to North Light, the food has been delicious. I've been there with friends and clients alike and they've all loved it and gone back with their friends and clients.
As for the decor, simple and elegant is what comes to mind. North Light should get an award for not making it feel like diners have stepped into someone's mountain cabin, complete with Edison lights and old growth wood.
And, news flash, bloody Mary's are spicy.
Great review, agree, it's just not that great, the restaurant in bend had soul!
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