I appreciate food and love learning about all the new restaurants in town. That being said, I usually disagree with the food writers of Portland…
While I agree about the inconsistencies on knowing whether the service/environment is casual/fine dining, the squash referenced is a "curry squash" - a squash looking like small rounded pumpkin with a stem and it can be used interchangeably in butternut squash recipes. Both squash have a firm, somewhat nutty and subtly sweet flavored flesh, not curry flavored! Chicken of the woods mushrooms are called exactly that because of their resemblance to cooked chicken, which if you have ever eaten an unseasoned chicken, can taste flavorless...
I am not sure what happened on the occasions that you dined, but I have found the service to be quite charming and the timing of the service was fine too. I have sometimes experienced a wait for the food, but I find that Americans in general lack the patience for a dining experience when it comes to dining out. Pitxi has an open kitchen, if you watch the amount of technique that the meals take to prepare for the number of people that are in the kitchen you may appreciate the amount of time the food takes and enjoy your experience. Try learning about the foods you are eating and the wines you are drinking. Make it an experience, savor the flavors and record the moments in your memories, let yourself go, relax and have only pleasant anticipation for the food, not angrily waiting for the next course. This is true dining. If you want fast food go to Burgerville. For a few dollars more you may sit down and have a leisurely paced, well executed meal, with ingredients that aren't often featured in a menu. I also appreciate that the servers are not salesman like you may find in the Pearl, items have never been pushed on me, rather, if I have a question I ask and receive an answer and still make up my own mind about what to eat..which also makes me appreciate the price fixing - all of the items within each course are the same price so I choose what I truly would like rather than worrying about dining on a dime difference. When you think about the prices as a whole, it was explained to me that the menu is set up to be a nicely priced three course meal - where can you get an appetizer, entree, and dessert for only $34 with the level of execution, variation in ingredients and the ability to order any item in each course? For a three course meal the portions are just right and the small bites before and after add the perfect touch.
Additionally, in response to the location, Pitxi has the right idea. Stop catering to the Pearl and put more restaurants in individualized neighborhoods. Good establishments everywhere in Portland will attract more people to each neighborhood and make all of Portland more stable and a better living environment. Young families and those not in the Pearl income tax bracket who live in NoPo should appreciate the level of quality and service Pitxi is bringing to North Portland in an attempt to expand Portland's culture outside of the Pearl.
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