Sep 30, 2010 at 4:00 am

A Fish's FIN-est Hour


I ate at FIN last week and agree that the food and service here are really amazing. However, I disagree about it being expensive. I think for the quality of seafood you are getting a really good deal. I mean even Fish and Chips at Burgerville will cost you $11. Anyone expecting bargain seafood should get their head examined.
i've never been there, and i'm all for spending money on a good meal out. i think you're missing the point. chances are you're eventually going to spend 70-100 bucks there, not including wine, and you'll only have had a few bites of food. the concept of small plates is fantastic, but it doesn't always leave one's belly full on a dime.
I've eaten there twice and spent $35 once and $50 another time, over-ordering that time. That's a big step down from what you'd spend at a steakhouse or probably even somewhere like Paley's. It's in the upper mid-range or lower high-range for Portland, which means it's low to mid-range for any other city. This place would be a bargain in NY, LA, SF, Chicago, or even Dallas, DC, Seattle, or Miami.
@Extra Tasty, MSG et. al.

True, perspective is needed, and I wasn't saying it was inordinately expensive. I was just saying the price sometimes felt at odds with the amount of food you were getting and how quickly it went. Please note I never suggested FIN should lower prices or increase servings. I simply said they should make sure every dish is spot-on and that the diners should be responsible for understanding the value of the meal by savoring it.
"The decor rests somewhere between Tokyo and Paris, with a touch of Crate and Barrel to keep it grounded." Hella spot on.

The small space really factors into that too-fast experience. There's nothing wrong with a pricey small-plate experience when you can relax into a private melty puddle of sensory overload. You just can't get that at FIN. They do seem to push people through. Maybe they need slower music... or train the servers to walk as if they were in a wedding procession. Slows things down a bit.

Loved the squid ink tagliatelle, though.
Complaining about prices and portions at a high end seafood place makes the reviewer sound amateur and Portland sound provincial. Unless you can say that you got better *tasting* similar food somewhere else for cheaper, can we just let a high end place be a destination/occasional event place and stop being backwater cheapskates?

My biggest complaint re: price/portion comes from the fact diners are told that these plates are meant to be shared. That veggie dish? One bite after sharing. No joke. That's not "provincial" or "cheapskate" or "amateur" on my part, it's plain selfishness.

Other dishes are completely spot on in terms of price to portion to flavor. That squid ink tagliatelle? Perfect. I just want it all to be that perfect.

And for the record, I have had better seafood for cheaper at a joint called Tanuki, but what you save in price you deal with in atmosphere, so...
Don't fuck with mah Nuki.

I mean, if you were a NORMAL person "what you save in price you deal with in atmosphere..." Sheesh. I don't think either of us are that.
I find the Atmosphere at Tanuki to be its sellling point. Normal fucked.
I ate there the day they opened (and in fact, I think mine was the first official check). My salad and scallop dish were among the best such dishes I've enjoyed in Portland, and beautiful, too, even though something like 6 ounces of food among two plates isn't enough to judge.

What I will say is that, in a city that has most everything, FIN's fresh and delicious concept alone is worth the price of admission. And how refreshing that we're talking about fish, and not pork belly. (Nothing against you piggies out there!)

Best wishes, Patrick. Looking forward to the book.

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