When I think of dining out, I find there are two kinds of restaurants. There are the ones that serve food you can easily make yourself, depending on your skill level. And there are the ones it's hard to imagine how the chef created such challenging and innovative dishes, much to the delight of your palate. Park Kitchen has been successfully pushing the later boundaries in Portland for over 10 years. As I perused the menu, our server stopped by for our drink order and I asked about the evening's specials. "Everything on the menu tonight is special," he quipped. That pretty much set the tone for my venture into the unique and intriguing offerings. The kitchen sent out a palate prep of a pureed squash with an almost fruity affect. The salad course had hints of vanilla gelato laced among the kale and beets. The main was a mushroom casserole-like affair served with flatbread. The sauce had a rich texture and complex seasoning, giving the artisan bread something to do. Dessert deserves its own paragraph. The light chocolate tort floating on a sea of salted carmel basically pushed the dining experience over the top. Service was attentive and superb. Wait staff displayed a strong connection to the kitchen, providing a great bridge between the menu and the actual food. No shortage of locally produced beers, wine and spirits. And the setting opens up to the North Park Blocks in the heart of the Pearl district. The perfect place to stroll after a unique culinary excursion.