Portland's Pearl District is a major contributor to the vibrant food scene in the city. Irving Street Kitchen is in the center of the fray, geographically and gastronomically. There is no shortage of innovative cuisine in the neighborhood, and the Kitchen is happy to contribute. Start at the bar, where you'll find skilled cocktail craftsmen and women wielding wonderfully infused liquors designed to jumpstart the taste buds for the food to follow. Try one of their mezcals in a custom margarita. No brainer. Worthy of another.
Move to the sustenance section of menu and start with the Brussel sprouts and the Bibb wedge. Check the specials to find something close to home and sustainable. The squid ink risotto with chorizo, clams and mussels, along with the pastrami short ribs graced our table for the mains. The side of fries goes without saying in my book.
Staff here like what they do. It makes the visit all the more engaging. The space is industrial sheik with touches that soften and add an air of character. If you still have dessert room, order the beignets and be amazed.