Date: February 4, 2008
Times Visited: 1
Located on Interstate Ave. at Mississippi Avenue, the Gotham Tavern has always called to me as I passed by on the Yellow Line through the Russel District. I’ve peeked at the menu a few times – nothing specifically vegan was listed on the menu, but the words, “Don’t be afraid to ask. If we have it, you get it,” excited me. I love creativity, especially in the kitchen. I admire a chef who takes on a challenge. Do they have chestnuts in the kitchen? How about green beans? Quinoa? Strawberries? Star fruit? When I arrived I asked if they could feed a vegan, the waitress assured me they could. Good enough for me – I decided to leave my meal up to the chef.
The restaurant is beautiful with a strong, clean, modern, Northwest vibe – large timbers, drift wood, clean mirrors, and soft fabric.
We were seated in the back, in our own semi-private “pod,” away from the local Scrabble players. As we passed the bar I almost asked to sit there with the large welcoming basket of lemons and limes on a long, thick wood bar with tall wooden stools. Mirrors clad the wall behind the bar with shelves made of drift wood cut across the mirror. The contrast seemed cliche, like a design tip from Feng Shui – but it worked. The booths were just as welcoming but simple, with fabric hanging behind them on the wall.
When we reached our pod I was glad this was our seating and I wondered if I should have slipped the waitress a tip for such a choice table. There are two screened semi-private seating areas sculpted out of wood blocks creating a curving cylindrical form. It was intimate seating for two and it would be great for a party of 8.
I was set – I had the best seat in the house and was ready for some great food. The waitress provided the menus and said she’d talk to the chef again while we looked them over. The Portabella Burger was the only non-meat item so I was hoping the waitress would come back with something good. Unfortunately, she told us we could have the Portabella Burger minus the cheese and pesto spread. Hmm. Not what I wanted, but I was in it for the adventure!
When our meals arrived the fries looked fresh, and the burger was huge – or at least the bread was. Layered between the oiled and grilled bread were slices of marinaded Portabella slices, steamed spinach, and fried onion. I’ve had a hard time enjoying Portabella since swimming with string ray – luckily for me, these mushrooms were a bit dried out, not teeth-sinking-juicy, though they had the earthy flavor they normally do, paired with a light marinated taste. The bread was too thick to really capture the flavor of the spinach or the onion within the sandwich. The spinach was only present because of the different texture. My dining companion ordered the same meal, but with the pesto and cheese. She mentioned that even with the extra ingredients the bread still overpowered the burger. It was nice to know my meal wasn’t missing any special flavor and the bread was the real culprit.
Gothem Tavern is a beautiful restaurant to hang out, drink something fancy from the bar, and maybe play some scrabble with your friends. There’s no need to rush their for the $9 mushroom burger, but it is a nice option when you find yourself in the neighborhood with a few extra dollars and hungry. So sit back and enjoy the atmosphere!
Rating: 3 out of 5
Location: 2240 N Interstate Avenue
Portland, Oregon 97227
Hours: Monday – Thursday 11am to 10pm
Friday 11am to 1am
Saturday 4pm to 1am
Happy Hour weekdays 4pm to 6pm and 9pm to close