Located in the space formerly occupied by beloved Italian restaurant Burrasca, Quaintrelle 2.0 has 20 seats inside and about 45 outside, a similar capacity to what they had previously. A glass garage door makes up much of the facade, with a bright pink neon sign bearing the restaurant’s name over the smaller door where you enter. Behind the unassuming restaurant front, executive chef Ryley Eckersley, sous chef Jamie Wilcox, bar manager Camille Cavan, and wine director Chris Cooper work as a tight team to deliver a thoughtful and cohesive experience to diners.
General manager David Foulke, who has been with the restaurant since 2019, said the team will continue the momentum they gained after the pandemic’s two indoor dining shutdowns and is looking to elevate things even more. “What we do with this tasting menu [that’s] chef driven has really been the history of restaurants for hundreds of years,” said Foulke. “We have the best of everything and it’s our job to make sure people can experience that.”
Bedecked with plants brought over from the Mississippi location, the freshly replanted patio garden is a lush oasis that transports diners out of the city for the duration of their meal while also serving a practical purpose, providing edible flowers and herbs such as shiso and lemon verbena for cocktails and dishes.
And with the pandemic dragging on, expanding outdoor capacity has proved essential for many restaurants. Foulke cites the Parisian bistro-esque dining structures that have sprung up on the city’s thoroughfares, which received an overwhelmingly positive response and have been extended through summer 2022 according to a recent announcement by PBOT. “Portland is really that kind of European city,” said Foulke. “I think that’s definitely going to be a push going forward.”
To take full advantage of their new setup, the restaurant is outfitting the patio for all-season dining. One side will be covered by a pergola with motorized walls, which should be completed and installed opening week. The other side will house a large tent with open windows and heat sources inside, similar to the Mississippi location’s setup last winter.
Cheeky yet unpretentious, chef Eckersley’s personal style is weaved throughout the menu’s often poetic phrasing. There’s “huile d’olive sexy,” “all the basils, all the flowers,” and a whole lot of “things.” Green things, crunchy things, pretty things. This vagueness adds an element of surprise to the dining experience but also allows for spontaneity from the kitchen. They’ve cleverly given themselves the flexibility to substitute smaller components on a daily basis if necessary, depending on what looks interesting or freshest, while the core of the dishes remain consistent. In their bid to acquire said fresh ingredients, the restaurant is excited to be in close proximity to People’s Food Co-op and their long-running year-round Wednesday farmers’ market.
For those unsure of what a quaintrelle is, a definition is conveniently plastered onto one of the restaurant’s walls; one of the space’s focal points that was carried over from its first incarnation. “Quaintrelle (n.): a woman who emphasizes a life of passion, expressed through personal style, leisurely pastimes, charm, and cultivation of life’s pleasures.” It’s a lovely little vocab lesson with your meal, but it also captures the essence of the restaurant.
“We’re hedonistic enablers. We like to allow people to have a good time,” said Foulke.
Proof of vaccination for all guests will be checked at the door, and reservations can be made via OpenTable beginning September 1.
Quaintrelle, 2032 SE Clinton, (503) 200-5787, quaintrelle.co